Does Rock ‘N’ Roll Kill Braincells?! – Kermit the Frog

Does Rock ‘N’ Roll Kill Braincells?! - Kermit the Frog - NME interview

What two stipulations did Prince allegedly make when he appeared on Muppets Tonight in 1997?

“You weren’t supposed to look directly at him or call him anything but ‘The Artist’.”


“But those rules only applied to humans. If you were a frog or a pig or a chicken or a bear, you could look at him all you wanted. And he didn’t even seem to mind when Miss Piggy kept calling him ‘Artie’.”

Prince was great fun. He loved to laugh and goof around with us, and he’d do just about anything we asked. In fact, we did one spot where he was supposed to be a guest on a country show called Muppet Hoo-Haw. Not only did he enjoy the corny humour, he even had his personal wardrobe tailor design and make the farmer’s overalls he wore on the show.”

Apart from Miss Piggy, which guests have made the biggest diva demands?

“Well, there’s no one you can put in the same ‘diva’ category as Miss Piggy. She is one of a kind, which is just the right amount. As for other guests, I honestly cannot think of anyone who made big demands. Of course, that may have something to do with the fact that most of our guest relations are handled by Sweetums, who’s about eight feet tall and weighs 300 lbs. Something about him brings out the sweet side of people.”

During Adele’s set at Glastonbury 2016, what Muppet-related gift did a fan give to her?

“I’m going to guess, an autographed banjo.”

WRONG. It was a plush toy of the Muppet character Walter.

“Oh, very nice. I hope she enjoyed it. But I’d still like to know what happened to my autographed banjo.”

Did Miss Piggy ever finish her Adele-inspired album ’25 (Give or Take a Few Years)’?

“Not that I’ve heard. I think she’s still waiting for Adele to overdub her vocals.”

Which Muppets guest star tried to get you to sell your soul to Satan?

“Oh, that would be our pal, Alice Cooper. He is such a kidder. Scary, but funny. And his snake, Chuckles, was a lot of fun, too. Just don’t let her hug you for too long.”


“Usually when we work with a guest star, they have to get used to all the strangeness of being around the Muppets, being surrounded by various frogs, pigs, bears and monsters. But Alice felt right at home from the start. It was like he was one of us… which, if you’re reading this Alice, I mean it as a compliment.”

“I did go golfing with Alice Cooper once. But after he mistook me for a divot and stomped me down into the turf with his golf shoes, we decided to play pickleball instead.”

Any other musicians you’d still like to work with? Arctic Monkeys? Billie Eilish? Yungblud? The 1975?

“We’d love to work with all of those acts. Operators are standing by, so all of you musical stars call in now and we’ll throw in a basket of fruit, a set of dishes and all the boomerang fish you can catch. The Muppets have been lucky enough to work with so many musical stars, from the aforementioned Prince to Elton John to Tony Bennett to Lady Gaga…and beyond. We’re always ready to jam, groove and otherwise make joyful noise.”

Which rap group have a song containing the lyric: ‘I bring the shit that’s beyond bizarre like Miss Piggy…Who Moi?’

“I have absolutely no idea, but I’m guessing it wasn’t The Carpenters.”

WRONG. It was Beastie Boys on their 2004 singleChCheck It Out’. What did Miss Piggy think of that namecheck?

“I don’t know if she heard that, but if she has, I’m sure her attorney Joe the Legal Weasel, will be contacting the Beastie Boys shortly. “

Who’s your favourite rapper?

“Snoop Dogg. He has a great sense of humour, and with a name like that, we really think he’d fit right in with us.”

Do any of the Muppets have any rap-style feuds with anybody?

“Not that I know of, but Scooter does a mean beatbox, and I once appeared with Miss Piggy, Pepe and Beaker on the US rap battle show, Drop the Mic. It was epic…or so I’ve been told.”

What was Paul Simon arrested for in the 1980 The Muppet Show episode he appeared in?

“Unlicensed Lute playing. I remember that Scarborough Fair was really cracking down on that when we were shooting that episode.”

CORRECT. Ever had any brushes with the law?

“Not brushes. But I did once use a lint roller to help a police captain get the fur off his uniform after he was hugged by Sweetums.”

Who won the drum-off between Animal and Dave Grohl in 2015?

“I think it was a tie. At least for Dave Grohl’s sake, I hope it was a tie. Animal takes his drumming very, very, very seriously.”

CORRECT. Any chance of a rematch?

“Animal is always ready. Dave, if you have time and don’t care about possible damage to your drum kit, Animal is here for you”

If you could challenge any celebrity to a competition, what would it be?

“I’d challenge Weird Al Yankovic to a yodelling competition. I don’t know why, but there’s something about saying ‘Weird Al’ and ‘yodelling’ in the same sentence that makes me happy.”


Which actor wanted to play Kermit in your 1992 yuletide classic The Muppet Christmas Carol?

“Seriously? Someone wanted to play me in The Muppet Christmas Carol? Who was it?”

WRONG. Jack Lemmon. Producers asked him to play Scrooge (eventually portrayed by Michael Caine), but he wanted to play you instead.

“Wow, that’s cool. I would have let him have the part if he’d let me and Fozzie do The Odd Couple.”

Talking of Fozzie, who would win in a fight between him and Paddington Bear?

“Probably Paddington. Unless he was in the middle of eating a Marmalade sandwich. Then I think Fozzie might stand a chance.”

Who would you like to play you in a biopic of your life?

Tom Hanks. Mostly because he’s a nice guy, a great actor, and whenever I audition for a part, Tom gets it. As for tips on how to play me: it’s not easy being green, and learn how to tread water and work with pigs.”

There’s a fan-led campaign for the Muppets to remake The Great Gatsby. Are there any other literary classics you’d like to tackle?

“I’ve heard of that. An interesting idea, and I’m sure Miss Piggy would make a fantastic Daisy Buchanan, but as they say in Hollywood: ‘We’ll get back to you.’ As for other literary classics, I’ve always wanted to try The Picture of Dorian Green.”

Which character sings ‘The Rainbow Connection’ in a 2006 episode of the US version of The Office?

“That would be the great Ed Helms. And I only know that because he called to ask if I was all right with him covering the song. And I told him that I’d be honoured. In fact, it’s been said that some of the songs the Muppets sing are best performed undercover.”

CORRECT. Ed Helms played paper salesman Andy Bernard in the sitcom. Do you have a favourite cover of any of your songs?

Ray Charles singing ‘Bein’ Green’. I even got to perform it with him once. That was magic.”

What was Gonzo riding when Johnny Cash sang ‘Ghost Riders in the Sky’ on The Muppet Show in 1980?

“With Gonzo, it’s always best to guess ‘Cannonball!’”

WRONG. No, it was a cow.

“Missed it by that much.”

Any memorable tales of hanging out with Johnny Cash or any of your other iconic guests?

“Johnny Cash was a great guest. I would tell you what we did together hanging out, but it was so much fun that I can’t remember – though it did involve Animal, a pick-up truck and 300 chickens.”

“As for other guests: they were all wonderful, but my all-time favourite was when our hero Edgar Bergen came on The Muppet Show. We’d all grown up listening to him and Charlie McCarthy on the radio and when he performed, we all felt like little kids again. It was the best.”

Fans once thought that Harry Styles dresses like Gonzo. Is that fair on him/Gonzo?

“I think that’s a very nice thing to say about Gonzo. And if that’s the look Harry is going for, well, you certainly picked the paradigm of crazed couture as your role model.”

Any style tips for him?

“What do I know about style? I work naked.”

In 2009, who wore a dress made out of Kermit the Frogs?

Lady Gaga. I was honoured. And Miss Piggy wanted a dress like that.”


“Lady Gaga has become a good friend, and we’re so happy we’ve performed with her and she’s appeared with us in the movies. She’s just so brilliant, versatile and fun to be around. She can do anything – act, sing, dance – and make it look easy. She even gets along with Miss Piggy. Now that’s talent.”

Talking of fake Kermits, have you seen the ‘Sad Kermit’, who proved popular with his cover of Nine Inch Nails’ ‘Hurt’?

“I have never seen ‘Sad Kermit.’ I wish him luck and hope he cheers up soon. As for being my imposter, I’m okay as long as it doesn’t cross the line into Muppet Identity Theft.”

Bonus question! For an extra half-point: what song did Jack White sing to try and get you and Miss Piggy back together?

“I should know this. Is it ‘Reunited’ by Peaches & Herb?”

WRONG. It’s Stevie Wonder’s ‘You Are the Sunshine of My Life’. What’s the state of your relationship with Miss Piggy at the moment? Are you still broken up and is there any chance of a Bennifer-style reunion?

“Miss Piggy and I remain good friends and we love working together but as of this moment we are not dating. At least, that’s the way it was when we started this interview. There’s no telling when Piggy will change her mind. And may I say, whatever happens between us in the future, please don’t call us Kergy or Pigmit. Thanks.”

How do you feel about the UK use of the word ‘Muppet’ as an insult?

“I didn’t know that. I just thought they were using it as a term of endearment. But y’know, I don’t really mind, because if you call someone a Muppet, you’re saying they are strange, unpredictable, quirky and not afraid to keep going no matter what happens. And if you ask me, that’s not an insult.”

The verdict: 6/10

“Well, I guess that’s why they call me a Muppet.”

  • ‘The Muppet Christmas Carol’ limited edition picture disc vinyl is released 14th October on Walt Disney Records/UMC

The post Does Rock ‘N’ Roll Kill Braincells?! – Kermit the Frog appeared first on NME.

Gary Ryan