The Not-Too-Late Show with Elmo is a spin-off of Sesame Street developed exclusively for the HBO Max streaming service. The series debuted on the platform on May 27, 2020. The first three episodes were available at launch, with new episodes premiering weekly afterwards thru to the end of the first season. Each episode runs 15 minutes long. The show is as follows:
The series parodies the late night Talk Show format with Elmo as the host, chatting with guest stars before he goes to bed. Cookie Monster appears as a sidekick, and other Sesame Street characters make appearances working backstage on the show. Being a Sesame Street property, it's also an Edutainment Show, teaching young viewers how to get ready for bedtime.
The guest stars featured in the show include:
- Season 1: Jimmy Fallon, Kacey Musgraves, The Jonas Brothers, John Mulaney, Lil Nas X, Batman, Pentatonix, Nature Nick, Jordin Sparks, Miles Brown, The Joyous String Ensemble, Blake Lively, Dan + Shay, John Oliver, Kwame Alexander, Sofia Carson, Hoda Kotb, Ben Platt, Mykal-Michelle Harris, Jonathan Van Ness, HER, Andy Cohen, Josh Groban, Olivia Wilde, Sara Bareilles, Jason Sudeikis, and Ciara.
- Season 2: Drew Barrymore, Keedon Bryant, Seth Meyers, Kelly Rowland, Brady Noon, Amber Ruffin, Bebe Rexha, Jenna Bush Hager, Sophie Fatu, Ames McNamara, Leslie Odom Jr., Dani & Dannah Lane, AJR, Rohan Chand, Kane Brown, Busy Philipps, Aidy Bryant, Hello Sunday, MacKenzie Hancsicsak, Juanes, Sway Bhatia, Tori Kelly, Shahadi Wright Joseph, Madison Reyes, Tamron Hall, Brandon Niederauer, Big Bird, Kelvin Dukes, Isaiah Russell-Bailey, and James Monroe Iglehart.
On August 19, 2022, the series was removed from HBO Max as part of a cost-cutting move that saw the removal of numerous other series and films in advance of the service's merger with Discovery+. The series was eventually rescued by PBS, and premiered on their stations in February 2023.
The Not-Too-Late Show with Elmo provides examples of:
- The Backstage Sketch: Nearly every episode includes some kind of running storyline taking place behind-the-scenes of the main show.
- Big Eater: In the Jonas Brothers episode, the "light snack" Cookie Monster ordered is a sandwich so big that Biff and Sully, who are construction workers, have to bring it in. In the Blake Lively episode, he mentions having a Marshmallow Dream which resulted in the disappearance of not only his pillow but his bed and various other things that were in the same room.
- The Cameo:
- Many obscure and retired Sesame Street Muppets appear in the audience, including Roosevelt Franklin, Harvey Kneeslapper, Don Music, Lefty the Salesman, Sherlock Hemlock, Forgetful Jones, Captain Vegetable, Humphrey, The Amazing Mumford, Horatio the Elephant, Chipowski, Little Murray Sparkles, Madame Chairbird, Leo Birdelli, Bug and others.
- In addition to appearing as a guest on the show in one episode, John Oliver is a recurring cameo performer, with Grover blundering onto the set of Oliver's show Last Week Tonight on multiple occasions.
- Quarter Hour Short: Each episode lasts 15 minutes long.
- Retool: The show became a Game Show for its second season and thus was rebranded as The Not-Too-Late Show with Elmo: Games Edition, dropping many elements from the first.