Reporters being upstaged by animals

There are more reporters cavorting with — or against — people in fuzzy animal costumes than you might think. I documented them for Asylum, because the work I do is important.

Local TV news generally thrives on sternly worded reports of mangled bodies. Even when the anchors get humorous, the punch line’s always something dry and ambiguous, like "I bet you enjoyed yesterday’s sunshine as well, Diane!"

Sure, Ernie Anastos might tell you to "keep f**king that chicken," but you can’t dance to that the way you can to, say, a hurricane.

But every once in a while, some unexpected levity comes along in the form of a wacky costume. We’ve collected our favorite clips of reporters being upstaged by costumed creatures (and one sexy cop outfit).

A couple of weeks ago, we showed you a courageous man in a bear suit defying the wrath of both nature and the local news team. Here is that man again, because if you don’t want to see hurricanes, news-bombers and portly bears twice, then you, sir, are no kind of fellow we want to drink with.

It turns out the bear wasn’t the only fuzzy suit cavorting around Hurricane Ike in search of reporters. Not satisfied with local news, this chicken took on no less prestigious a target than CNN. Unfortunately for him, there was a silver fox in the henhouse, and his name was Anderson Cooper. Result: The chicken got cooped. Nobody puts Cooper in a corner!

Where do old Internet memes go to die? Santa Clara, apparently. Watch as the Peanut Butter Jelly Time banana dances in the background of this report on drugs, prostitution and college students — only two of which have anything to do with dancing bananas.

For the ultimate in disruptive costumed buffoonery, watch reporter Jim Taricani delve deep into the costumed heart of the plushy beast. When he tries to interview a woman accused of cyberstalking, he finds "Donnie Darko"–level surrealism wearing not one but two masks, the second of which is a bonnet-wearing bunny. Watch the expression on his face at the 2:12 mark when the last shred of idealism that led him to become an investigative reporter exposing the stories that matter withers away.

To counter all that costumed negativity, here’s Cincinnati reporter Bob Herzog, who loves dressing up for Halloween. The problem is that the holiday only comes once a year. The solution? Dance Party Friday! To counter criticism of his dancing, Herzog solves the problem the only way he knows how: with a full-body costume. Watch as Clifford the Big Red Dog enters the scene to solve the lack of costumes on the morning news.

Of course, Clifford’s a big name, and not always available. Thankfully, the Cincinnati Reds have enough mascots for Herzog; he can dance with a different costumed character each week. If it’s red, plushy and dances, Bob Herzog will find it.

And finally, because we love you, here is New York’s PIX News reporter Jill Nicolini arresting our vision in a sexy cop costume, just one of many wardrobe changes for the Long Island lust-magnet. What is it with traffic reporters, and their costumes? We don’t know, but we’re glad this one’s a bust.