Questionnaire: Kermit the Frog
October 31, 2003
What are you up to?|
We've got a couple of movies in the works, but they're still in development, which means I can't talk about them. That's one of those Hollywood rules that I've never understood, but if you break the rule, they make you wear a tuxedo and attend endless award ceremonies. I don't want to take a chance with that.
What are your current fixations?
In music, I'm a big follower of Phrog, which is like a green version of Phish. In movies, I haven't seen a lot of recent releases. Last summer, I went to see S.W.A.T. but was disappointed it wasn't about mosquitoes. And I'm sure you've read about my failed audition for the title role in Hulk. I worked out and bulked up, but I guess being green wasn't enough to get me the part. And I guess in terms of lifestyle trends, I've been eating a lot of Feng Shui. It doesn't taste great, but it has a lot of fibre.
Why do you live where you do?
I live in Hollywood because that's where they make a lot of movies and TV shows. And I live in the swamp because that's where they don't make movies and TV shows.
Name something you consider a mind-altering work of art:
I love to go to a museum or gallery and pick one picture and just sit there and stare at it. It can be abstract or realistic, impressionistic or postmodern-dada-doppelganger-cubist. It doesn't matter. If you devote your attention totally to one painting, you see the world differently. You sort of become one with the painting, which can be messy. So don't stand too close.
What have been your career highs and lows?
One career high was meeting the Queen of England and getting to perform at her Royal Jubilee. And making our first movie was exciting, too. As for lows, there was the time I put my footprints in cement and didn't step out soon enough. As we frogs say, I was knee deep in a sticky spot for quite awhile there.
What's the meanest thing ever said to you before, during or after a gig?
Before a gig: "Don't do it!" During the gig: "Stop doing it!" And after the gig: "Is that all?"
What should everyone shut up about?
Interspecies romance between pigs and frogs. Sheesh!
What traits do you most like and most dislike about yourself?
Well, except for the googly eyes, spindly arms and legs and relative shortness of stature, I kind of like the way I look. And as for other traits: I'm happy with everything except my tendency to ribbet when I sleep.
What advice should you have taken, but did not?
Never ask a pig what she wants. Wiser words were never spoken. (By the way, the answer is "everything.")
What would make you kick someone out of your band and/or bed, and have you?
I've never kicked anyone out of our band. We're equal opportunity wackos. And as for kicking someone out of my bed: the only one I've ever done that to is me. It's a frog reflex. Every time I ribbet in my sleep, I kick myself halfway across the room.
What do you think of when you think of Canada?
Royal Canadian Mounties on horseback playing hockey. It may be a stereotype, but you've got to admit it's pretty impressive.
What are your feelings on piracy, internet or otherwise?
In general, I'm against piracy. Although I do think the parrot and eye patch are kind of cool looking.
What was your most memorable day job?
Working as a consultant to one of the first hip-hop groups. It was off the hizzle, fashizzle.
How do you spoil yourself?
I soak in pond scum. It's not only relaxing, but afterwards you really smell spoiled.
If I wasn't making movies and TV shows, I would be:
Doing stunt work for Gumby.
What do you fear most?
Franklin Delano Roosevelt said: "We have nothing to fear but fear itself." Of course, I don't think he ever saw a pig wearing a dress.
What makes you want to take it off and get it on?
Actually, since I usually work naked, there's not a lot of need to take it off or get it on. Although I do get my collar dry-cleaned twice a month.
What has been your strangest celebrity encounter?
A fan once mistook me for Marilyn Manson. I guess we have a kind of similar complexion.
Who would be your ideal dinner guest, living or dead, and what would you serve them?
I would love to have dinner with Michelangelo, preferably while he was living. And, of course we'd serve Italian food and eat off the ceiling.
What does your mom wish you were doing instead?
My mom likes what I do, although as one of her 3,924 children, she does sometimes have trouble remembering which one I am.
Given the opportunity to choose, how would you like to die?
My motto is: Never say croak.
It's not, but for years he has made it look easy. Keeping track of the needs of guests, co-ordinating crew requirements with cast demands, carefully caring for the ego of performers. He is the ultimate host, an important stop on a legacy that links Ed Sullivan to Angel's Lorne (who shares Kermit's epidermal cast). The show has gone on for Kermit the Frog since his appearance, in an un-evolved incarnation, in a 1955 children's television program called Sam & Friends. He got his start as a TV news reporter on the long-running series Sesame Street (a show he continues to support with guest appearances), explored postmodernism in the modern film classic The Muppet Movie, and has sung, danced, and rode bicycles as the most consummate entertainer since Gene Kelly. But Kermit the Frog's best-known and most influential role came as host and stage manager on the long-running TV series The Muppet Show.
It's hard to imagine a world without The Muppet Show - its balance of comedy and music, its concept (a broken-down variety show performing almost exclusively to a grumpy, balcony-stricken audience of two), and its ambitions for musical and puppeteering greatness made an indelible impression. The Muppet Show encapsulated the openness of its times - exploring issues of sexuality, race and class with absurd humour instead of quiet-time earnestness, as Sesame Street has. This month sees him appear on the three-CD box set Sing! Sing A Song: Songs From the Street, in celebration of 35 years of Sesame Street, as well as a DVD issue of TV movie It's A Very Muppet Christmas. That in the twilight of his career he's turned to material safer than his early, more experimental work is not surprising given his advanced years. After all, he's been at this longer than Bob Dylan.