The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

Original ‘Blue’s Clues’ host Steve Burns talks mental health

Steve Burns takes a walk down memory lane and reflects on ‘Blue’s Clues’
Photo by Taylor Boggess
“My name is Steve Burns,” Steve Burns said. “But if you know me at all, you only know me as Steve. No last name. Like Beyoncé.”

The original “Blue’s Clues” host Steve Burns held a talk in Schofield Auditorium where he recalled what the role meant to him and how it helped him with his own mental health struggles. This event was hosted by The Forum lecture series on March 11.

This was Burns’s first time in Wisconsin, but he has a goal to visit all 50 states and said he was happy to check this one off the list.

When Burns was given the opportunity to travel the country to talk to students, he said he didn’t think people would remember him.

“I don’t want to talk to the kids,” Burns said. “They don’t know who I am.”

However, that was disproven when Burns appeared in a short video for the 25th anniversary of “Blue’s Clues,” sharing he missed the viewers. In under 24 hours the video had reached over 30 million views and currently has over 100 million views.

When Burns did eventually agree to talk to students, he said he did not feel as if he was talking to a room full of strangers, but an old friend.

“I know I am talking to a room full of strangers,” Burns said. “But it really feels like I’m talking to an old friend.”

Burns said he felt underqualified when he first got the role and often compared himself to his favorite children’s show host, Fred Rogers who hosted “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.”

“I’m not Fred Rogers,” Burns said. “I smoke.”

Burns said he did not feel like the star of the show, it was the audience, despite being the only living thing in the show as everything was drawn in and animated.

“My favorite thing about ‘Blue’s Clues’ was I was not the star. Blue wasn’t the star,” Burns said. “You are the star. You were my ride or die.”

Although he portrayed a happy Steve on television, he did not feel that way in real life. He said it seemed like there were versions of himself, “green striped shirt Steve” and Steve Burns. 

“It was difficult for me to be a host of that show. Way more than it had to be,” Burns said. “When I was hosting I was dealing with severe undiagnosed clinical depression.”

Instead of getting help, Burns said his instinct was to fight it. But he later realized a person does not fight depression, that one collects it and it gets heavy.

Burns said he eventually had to take his own advice. He asked what “green striped shirt Steve” would say, and that was to ask for help. Burns said if anyone learns anything from the show, it should be how help is everywhere around us, and there is no weakness in asking for it.

When Bruns eventually left the show to get help for himself, the crew gifted him the original “handy dandy notebook” with the first three clues and handwritten notes from those who worked on the show.

Since leaving, Bruns has now focused on his passion for music, even putting out a few albums, including a children’s album, Burns is also the person who created the theme song to “Young Sheldon,” “Mighty Little Man.”

Burns has plans to host a podcast with the first season possibly being titled “Death, Sex and Taxes” with those who watched him on television years ago being his main audience. 

Burns plans to host a podcast titled “Death, Sex and Taxes,” with those who watched him on television years ago as his intended audience.

Boggess can be reached at [email protected].  

Story continues below advertisement
Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

The Spectator intends for this area to be used to foster healthy, thought-provoking discussion. Comments are expected to adhere to our standards and to be respectful and constructive. As such, we do not permit the use of profanity, foul language, personal attacks or the use of language that might be interpreted as libelous. The Spectator does not allow anonymous comments and requires a valid email address. The email address will not be displayed but will be used to confirm your comments.
All The Spectator Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *