Answers from Benjamin Breeden
1. Who are your three favorite characters from The Muppet Show, Muppets Tonight, The Jim Henson Hour, the Muppet movies, etc. and why?
Oof. If I had to choose, I think my top three Muppet characters would have to be the Swedish Chef, Beaker, and The Electric Mayhem (that isn’t cheating, is it??). I love Swedish Chef and Beaker because they don’t have to use comprehensible English in order to be absolutely hilarious and the Electric Mayhem because they embody pure Muppety awesomeness. I mean, it’s the dream team of classic Muppeteers portraying a rock band. As a drummer myself, how could I not aspire to be more like Animal? The Electric Mayhem and its members delivered many of my favorite Muppet musical moments (“Tenderly,” “Can You Picture That,” “Sax and Violence,” Animals many drum battles, etc.), and I love them for it.
2. Who are your three favorite characters from Sesame Street and why?
I have to admit, I have never watched very much Sesame Street. That being said, I think my favorite character would probably have to be The Count. His scenes are always hilarious–I think my favorite sketch I’ve seen from Sesame Street is the elevator bit between Kermit and the Count. After The Count, I think I’d have to choose Bert and Ernie, because who doesn’t love watching Jim Henson and Frank Oz bouncing off of each other?
3. Who are your three favorite characters from Fraggle Rock and why?
My favorite Fraggle is Uncle Traveling Matt. His bits in “Outer Space” are always funny, and he is a classic Dave Goelz character. I love Wembley because he’s a goofy percussionist and Cantus because Jim Henson.
4. What is your favorite television program starring any of Jim Henson’s creations (e.g. The Muppet Show,Sesame Street, Fraggle Rock, Dinosaurs, etc.) and why?
Definitely The Muppet Show. It has everything you could possibly want–comedy, drama, action, music, penguins… It’s totally classic and timeless and will be funny until the end of days.
5. What is your favorite Muppet movie and why?
This is a very tough call, but I think it would have to be The Muppet Movie. It has the strongest soundtrack of all of the Muppet films, and I also think it’s also the one that makes me laugh out loud the most (though, to be honest, Muppets From Space gives it a run for its money–for all of its shortcomings, that movie gets me laughing from start to finish). It’s just such an iconic film that embodies everything the Muppets stand for.
6. What is your favorite Muppet/Sesame/Fraggle song and why?
I can only pick one?? I have to go for the obvious and say “The Rainbow Connection.” It’s such a classic and nostalgic song that always makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.
7. If you could have dinner with any living Muppet performer who would you choose and why?
Geez… I guess I would want to have dinner with Frank Oz because he has such a deep connection to everything Muppet. Picking his brain would be unbelievably awesome.
8. If you could tell Jim Henson one thing, what would it be?
What else could I possibly say to him but “Thank you”? Also, “I went to University of Maryland, and in my entire time as an undergrad, I never got tired of pointing out to people that I was going to the same school that Jim Henson attended as an undergraduate. Go Terps!”
9. If the President called you and asked to discuss Muppet projects, what would you tell him was the “Greatest Muppet Moment of All Time”?
Talking to the President, I would probably refer him to one of Sam the American Eagle’s many very patriotic moments. Perhaps his “Salute to All Nations (But Mostly America)”? I mean, you’ve got to know your audience in these situations.
10. What’s the name of that song?
“Tit Willow”? Or… no… “Simon Smith and His Amazing Dancing Bear”? Yeah, that’s a great one!
11. If a judge ruled that Grover had to be your personal assistant for a month, what jobs would you have him do?
I would make him record a duet album with me to hand out to my friends and family (think Franklin Comes Alive but not misguidedly racist). I would also have him take all of my phone calls for me and answer my e-mails in his own words.
12. In your opinion, what is the worst Muppet production ever made?
I have avoided Wizard of Oz for many years due to its poor reputation even among Muppet fans, so I can’t speak personally about it. What I can say is that I thought that It’s A Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie was very disappointing, especially since The Muppets have a history of such great holiday productions.
13. Who is one celebrity you would love to see cameo in the next Muppet movie?
I think somebody else may have said this, but I feel that Matt Smith would vibe very well with The Muppets.
14. If you could take a picture with any Muppet, who would you choose and how would you pose?
If I could have a picture–no, an oil painting–of myself playing drums with The Electric Mayhem, I would hang it above my mantlepiece forever (as soon as I live in a place that has a mantlepiece).
15. What is your favorite piece of Muppet merchandise that you own? (Feel free to include a picture!)
Hands-down the most precious Muppet merchandise I own is my collection of Muppet and Henson-related vinyl records. To date, I have The Muppet Show (US and UK pressings), The Muppet Show 2 (US and UK pressings), The Muppet Movie soundtrack, The Great Muppet Caper soundtrack, The Muppets Take Manhattan soundtrack, Favorite Songs From Jim Henson’s Muppets: Volume 1, A Christmas Together with John Denver (original pressing and clear ‘Kermit green’ 2011 reissue), The Frog Prince, Miss Piggy’s Aerobique Exercise Workout Album, The Dark Crystal soundtrack, and the Labyrinth soundtrack.
I recently relocated from Baltimore to Austin and had to prioritize which records to bring with me in order to fit everything in my car, so many of these aren’t included in my picture.
I’m also quite fond of my 2011 Disney Store Muppet plushes (though I’m disappointed I didn’t also snag Pepe and Rizzo while I had the chance!).
The Muppet Mindset by Ryan Dosier, firstname.lastname@example.org