Behind the Scenes of The Muppet Show - Part 1
Itís The Muppet Show!
Words that have captivated us all for years. The crew of the all popular Muppet Show have long since entertained fame and fortune. Even during those years before the show hit the air in the mid-seventies, they were rising stars. Rising stars just waiting to explode. And explode they did.
Fame does odd things to people, their relationships and personality. But the effect had never quite been gauged on Muppets before. During their early years, coming off of Sesame Street in the late 60s and coming into their own with the phenomonally popular Muppet Show, they were unstoppable.
The following recounting gathers together never before published insight into the lives and times of the outrageously spectacular Muppets and the burdens of producing their wholesome family entertainment. Sitting down with each Muppet individually allowed for the glimpsing of a panorama of early Muppet culture in the 70s. The full documentary is scheduled to air sometime next month on cable television. Check your local listings.
Kermit [the frog]: With vaudeville, youíve really got to be on your toes and take things as they come. Handle things live. Thereís a lot of improvisation involved. And then one time Gonzo came out like really hammered, and I said to myself, fuck. This is going to be one tough fucking bad show. But then it turned out to be one of our best. You can never tell whatís going to happen from one moment to the next. But not only was he smashed, he was a smash. And ever since, heís been incorporating chickens into his act. I donít know what it means. But when I confronted him on it I said: "Gonzo, what the hellís with all these chickens here? All they do is eat and shit!" He paused and looked at me for a moment, and his only response was "exactly". I didnít know what the fuck he meant then, and I donít know now. And sometimes I donít think I want to know. No one knew what he meant half the time. But the chickens were a hit, so I never second-guessed Gonzoís judgement since. I donít care what heís up to as long as they hit the stage on time.
Ms. Piggy: Gonzoís genius was mostly sublime. He made you think. You had to think a while. And even then you didnít really laugh. You smiled and thought "now thatís never been done before."
Kermit: No one wanted to tell Fozzie he had a problem. He thought he was "on" 100% of the time. And, in a way, he was. On crack, heroin, butanol, morphine, opium pellets up the ass, hashish... You name it. He was buzzed through most of the 70s and 80s. The biggest favor we ever did was not telling him heís not funny. He just couldnít accept it when a joke bombed. And even when it didnít work, heíd always say to us "itís just a throwaway joke guys. If they get it they get it, if they donít, they donít." Yeah. Fozzie was like that. Fozzieís entire act was a throwaway joke. He never realized it though. There was that and then his fondness for young oriental boys. Sometimes, during a show, you could see it in his eyes. And with all that excess money he had to spend... donít even get me started. It would be something like: Hey Fozzie, where you going after the show? [imitating Fozzie:] On a plane to Thailand. Are you nuts! Youíll never make it back in time for tomorrowís show! But he always did. He always found a way to somehow. Thatís what everyone always respected about him... As long as he was in the spotlight and he had his booze and methamphetamines... you know. Basic comedy of the 70s. And as long as he had all that shit, things would go on just fine.
Fozzie [the bear]: Kermit said that about me? Fuck him. Fuck his ass! [section deleted] and the pig he rode in on... As for me, yeah, Asian boys were a way of life. Asian, because it was always like a zen thing for me; very spiritual. That and I had a thing for pork lo mein if you know what I mean. Waka waka waka...
ďAlthough Kermit had been sulking all week, the day The Godfather came out was the first time I saw Kermit cry. But not the last time.Ē
Big Bird: When Kermit was turned down for the role of Don Corleone in The Godfather, it came as a big shock to everyone. Coppola had almost assured him of the part. And, coming off of his success in the late 60s, there was no doubt in anyoneís mind. The studio, on the other hand, was playing a different game. They pigeonholed Kermit. It was like "but heís a Muppet. All he knows is vaudeville. Heíll never make it on the big screen. Especially in serious drama." And when Brando won the Oscar, Kermit never forgave himself for not pushing for the part. But he had to back down out of pride. Few people know this but he actually had an Oscar built for himself and he keeps it on his mantle. He would have won if heíd had the part, thereís no doubt in anyoneís mind. But now that Brandoís been so cast in the role itís always like "no one could have ever played that part like Brando". But if Kermit had had it, things would have been different. Heís a different actor. Iím sure he would have been remembered in that role every bit as much as Brando, if not more. Itís a shame. But whatís done is done.
Swedish Chef: Burde verde borge borge borge... Fuck that. It was 24 hours a day of that shit. After a while I couldnít go out in public. Iíd be like, "how much for a pack of Marlboroís and a Hustler?" and theyíd all be like "hey, arenít you that Swedish Chef from The Muppet Show?" After a while, I just couldnít go out in public anymore. People were just disappointed with who I really was. Just some short puffy little Jewish guy from the Bronx.
To be continued...