Kermit and Fozzie: ‘I’d like to try The Great British Bake Off – especially if it was custard pies’

The Muppets’ top entertainers answer your questions about festive traditions, Miss Piggy and working with their good friend Michael Caine

Let’s talk size here, guys: are you, Kermit, a very big frog, or are you, Fozzie – like Tom Cruise – a very small bear? Abney15
Kermit: I’m your average size frog, especially in my family. As one of more than 2,000-plus siblings, I’m smack dab in the middle in order of height: not as small as my sister, Kismet, or as big as my brother, Kromit.
Fozzie: Tom Cruise is a bear? I didn’t know that. I’ve got to go see his movies again. You’d think I’d notice something like that.

I imagine you’d be great teamed together on the BBC’s Bargain Hunt. Would you be up for it? Murdomania
K: Bargain Hunt sounds like fun. But if you want a real bargain hunter, you should call Miss Piggy. She really knows how to find a bargain … then ignore it and buy the most expensive thing in the store.
F: I think I’d like to try The Great British Bake Off, especially if we were making custard pies. Along with rubber chickens and whoopee cushions, custard pies are a big part of my act.

My dad and I traditionally decorate the house for Christmas while watching The Muppet Christmas Carol. What holiday traditions do you enjoy with your family? Wackawacka30
K: Oh, that’s so nice to hear. We’re thrilled that The Muppet Christmas Carol has become part of so many families’ holiday traditions. We’ve tried watching the movie while we decorate, but everyone except me ends up watching the movie, and I end up doing all the decorating. So now we wait until after we put up the holly, tinsel and tree.
F: The big tradition among bears is the Passing of the Fruitcake. It’s been in our family for generations, but no one has been brave enough to take a bite. Legend has it that the bear that bites the fruitcake will either become king of all bears or break a tooth … or both.

Michael Caine in a nightcap with his arms around a group of Muppets
Michael Caine as Ebenezer Scrooge in The Muppet Christmas Carol, from 1992. Photograph: Disney/Sportsphoto/Allstar

I once had the privilege of working on set with the great Michael Caine, and asked him which film he had enjoyed making the most. Without hesitation, he said: “Muppet Christmas Carol.” As a then jobbing actor, has he ever thanked you for the lift you gave his career? JoaquinSafari and JAYJ1111
K: We gave Sir Michael’s career a lift? I wouldn’t exactly put it that way. We’re just frogs, pigs, bears and whatevers, and he’s a classically trained thespian.
F: I thought he was an actor?
K: Same thing, Fozzie. In any case, Sir Michael is a good friend and we were honoured to share the screen with him. By the way, he’s nothing like Scrooge. He’s very generous. He even loaned his Oscar to Miss Piggy, although I’m not sure she ever gave it back.

Would you ever make Muppet Die Hard, with Miss Piggy as Hans Gruber, or Muppet Alien, with Piggy as Ripley? Or Muppet Breaking Bad, with Dr Bunsen Honeydew as Walter White, Beaker as Jesse, Waldorf as Hector Salamanca and Kermit as Gustavo Fring, a respected pillar of the community known for his charitable works; the perfect front to disguise his vast criminal empire? YorkshireExPat, RexPowerColt, Chancre and funkapuss
K: I can honestly say that at no point have we ever considered any of those possibilities. But thanks for the suggestions.
F: What about your nephew, Robin the Frog, who played Tiny Tim? Hasn’t he got some Muppet Christmas Carol sequels in development?
K: Oh, right. Robin wants to take Tiny Tim in a whole new direction. He’s been pitching Muppet Christmas Carol 2: Tiny Tim Winter Soldier! and Tiny Tim in the Multiverse of Mistletoe, but so far, no takers.

Movie-star looks … Kermit and Miss Piggy arrive at the world premiere of Muppets Most Wanted in 2014.
Movie-star looks … Kermit and Miss Piggy arrive at the world premiere of Muppets Most Wanted in 2014. Photograph: PictureLux/The Hollywood Archive/Alamy

C’mon Kermit, spill the beans … both you and Miss Piggy look fantastic. Have you had surgery, or are your porky/amphibian genes to thank? Do you foresee yourself ever getting back with Piggy? kmansley, davidabsalom and trhodsey
K: I cannot speak for Miss Piggy, but I’ve never had cosmetic surgery of any kind. I stay looking so young because, as a frog, I spend at least an hour a day soaking in pond scum. Try it, and I bet you’ll come out looking as green and wet behind the ears as me.
F: What ears?
K: It’s a figure of speech, Fozzie. As for Piggy and I getting together again, we are still good friends and love working together, so anything is possible.

Do you ever audition for other roles? Kermit: Yoda, Hulk, or Shrek? And Fozzie: Paddington, Winnie the Pooh or Yogi Bear? Or are you all friends? 25aubrey and TopTramp
K: Yoda and Hulk are both good friends, and I am frequently mistaken for them, despite my lack of ears and pectorals. I think that they are both perfectly cast. As for going after other roles, I audition all the time, but for some reason Tom Hanks and Tom Cruise seem to get all the really cool parts. I think it must have something to do with them both being named Tom, not Kermit.

Kermit, you commented “it’s not easy being green” years before the climate emergency hit the headlines. Are you some sort of frog Nostradamus, and if so, what do you predict next? Prospero
K: I’ve never tried to predict the future, but I do think it is getting easier to be green … and so many folks are doing their part to make the world a greener planet that will be here for future generations of people, pigs and frogs.

JIm Henson and Kermit.
Jim Henson and Kermit. Photograph: The Muppets Studio

Losing Jim Henson must have been so difficult. What are your favourite memories? KayBee123
K: Jim was the best. He made us who we are – quite literally. He was always there to lend a hand and give us a lift. But most of all, my favourite memory of Jim was his laugh. When we’d get truly silly, he’d double over with laughter. It made us all know we were right where we belonged. Jim is why we’re still out there doing what we do. We’ll never forget him.

I sometimes call my girlfriend a muppet. Is this wrong? Obo1971
K: Not at all. If she can juggle, we’d be happy to have her join us. We’re always looking for good jugglers.

Watching Lady Gaga in her Kermit outfit must have been akin to Basil Brush witnessing Beyoncé flouncing about in fox fur. Does it give you nightmares? McScootikins
K: I loved Lady Gaga’s jacket of Kermits. No actual frogs were hurt in the making of that jacket – it was actually made of my cousins, who are all trained stunt frogs. Ever see the frog storm in Magnolia? That was their first gig.

What was it like singing Rainbow Connection with Debbie Harry on The Muppet Show? Who is your dream Rainbow Connection duet? KowaIski and AlexClarke
K: I had an amazing time. How lucky am I that I’ve gotten to sing such a beautiful song with so many incredible artists over the years? Ed Sheeran, John Legend, Tori Kelly, Queen Latifah, Nina West … the list goes on and on! Honestly, they’ve all been dream duets for me.

Fozzie, I met you in Scarborough in 1978 with my granny and we had our photos taken with you. She loved a good laugh. What’s your favourite joke? sgbfab
F: My favourite joke?! Oh gosh, it’s impossible to pick just one! Kermit, you pick one!
K: Uh, me? Gee, well Fozzie, I dunno, they’re all so funny.
F: When you’re right, you’re right! How ’bout I just tell my favourite Christmas joke instead. Ready? What did everyone say about Rudolph’s first Christmas Eve flight? He got glowing reviews!
K: That’s a little on the nose, don’t you think?
F: Ahhhh! That’s funn-ee!

Kermit, if I kiss you, will you turn into my handsome prince? TurangaLeela2
K: I’m not sure I’d turn into anything other than the object of Miss Piggy’s wrath.

Do ever wish you were human? Hemmings66
F: No. There are a lot of human comedians out there, but I’ve got the standup comedy bear niche all to myself, and I like it that way.
K: I wouldn’t want to be human either. I like being a frog. You get to sit on a log, swim in a swamp and not wear clothes. What’s not to love? It’s like my song, Being Green, says: “I am green and it’ll do fine. It’s beautiful and I think it’s what I wanna be.”

I’m a fan on the autism spectrum. I love you guys so much. Watching your shows and movies always makes me feel better. Thank you for making the world a better place. GoNzO14
K: Thank you, GoNzO14! You are the reason we do what we do.
F: And please remember to laugh when I do my act. Wocka wocka!

• The Muppet Christmas Carol vinyl picture disc is out now on Walt Disney Records/UMR.


As told to Rich Pelley

The GuardianTramp

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