Answers from Dave Chojnaki
1. Who are your three favorite characters from The Muppet Show, Muppets Tonight, The Jim Henson Hour, the Muppet movies, etc. and why?
Kermit – How can he not be number one? He’s the man that started it all. He keeps the Muppets grounded and in check and reaching for the stars.
Pepe The King Prawn – While I don’t remember much about him from Muppets Tonight, he is the single greatest thing about Muppets From Space. Even if some of the more recent made for TV specials were less than stellar, I could always count on Pepe to make me laugh out loud a a few times. I also really wish Long John Silver’s hadn’t dropped him as spokeshrimp (I don’t eat there, but the commercials were hilarious).
Walter – I think Muppet fans are always skeptical when we hear they are adding new characters, but they couldn’t have done a more perfect job with Walter. He fits perfectly into the Muppets while still representing us, the fans at the same time.
Alistair Cookie – Cookie Monster is good and all, but I prefer this more refined persona that gets to host Monsterpiece Theater.
Yip Yips – If alien life was ever discovered I would hope they were exactly like these guys.
3. Who are your three favorite characters from Fraggle Rock and why?
Boober – While I am nothing like Boober, he has always been my favorite. Maybe the fact that he seems so different from Gobo, Mokey, Wembley and Red just made him stand out to me.
Cantus – He and his wisdom always seemed to show up at the right time and was always very profound. “Let me Be Your Song” has to be up there on the list of all-time great Muppet songs.
Sidebottom – While this might be cheating since I’ve already said Boober, I always liked his alter ego. It seemed pretty true that we all have different sides to us and maybe some of those sides aren’t something we like to show others that much. (plus two Boobers are always better than one!)
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?
Fraggle Rock was hands down my favorite thing in the world when I was kid and it probably holds the biggest place in my heart. While I didn’t really see it as kid, the show’s premise of peace and unity is still pretty unique to this day as is the way Jim and Co. executed it. It has been really special watching all the episodes over again with my daughter who warms my heart when I come home and she immediately asks if we can watch Fraggles, it makes me a kid all over again. Plus, to this I day I secretly hope I find a Fraggle hole anytime I go somewhere new.
5. What is your favorite Muppet movie and why?
It is really hard to beat the original, The Muppet Movie. It holds up SO well after all this time. That’s a testament to the writing and performing and the fact that any visual effects that they wanted to do they had to find practical ways to do them (i.e. Kermit riding a bicycle). It also contains some of my all-time favorite Muppet moments: Bear left/right frog, fork in the road, Myth/Miss, reading the script to catch up on the story and Steve Martin’s AMAZING cameo.
6. What is your favorite Muppet/Sesame/Fraggle song and why?
While there are so many great ones, one that instantly gets stuck in my head is “Movin’ Right Along” from The Muppet Movie. It’s catchy, witty and sung by arguably the two greatest Muppets, Kermit & Fozzie.
7. If you could have dinner with any living Muppet performer who would you choose and why?
Even though I had the pleasure of briefly meeting him at an event last summer, getting to sit down and chat with Dave Goelz would just be amazing. First of all I would totally geek out having dinner with Boober Fraggle himself, but there are just so many questions I would ask about his process developing characters and voices, what it was like backstage on all the different Muppet productions, what he feels his greatest Muppet related accomplishment is, and finally what the greatest piece of advice he received from Jim Henson was.
8. If you could tell Jim Henson one thing, what would it be?
“One cannot quantify the amount of happiness you and your creations have brought me and my family. From the bottom of my heart, Thank you.”
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”?
The beginning of The Muppet Movie with that long slow panning shot into Kermit singing “Rainbow Connection” in the swamp. It’s just perfect. Much like Superman ’78 made you believe a man could fly, this made you believe a frog could sing and play banjo. Side note: while I was there I would have him sign an executive order to get Seasons 4 & 5 of The Muppet Show released on DVD already!
10. What’s the name of that song?
Pukka, Pukka, Pukka Squeetily Boink
11. If a judge ruled that Grover had to be your personal assistant for a month, what jobs would you have him do?
I’d honestly just make him play with my daughter for a whole month, ’cause what 2 year old doesn’t want to have a muppet around at all times! I might make him wash and wax my car too…I’m pretty sure that blue fur could do a great buff shine.
12. In your opinion, what is the worst Muppet production ever made?
Letters To Santa was pretty abysmal. I’m pretty sure I laughed only once and just remember feeling bored while watching it. Even Muppets Wizard of Oz was funnier and has more rewatchability than this (and that’s saying something ’cause Wizard of Oz is pretty bad too).
13. Who is one celebrity you would love to see cameo in the next Muppet movie?
I would LOVE to see Conan O’Brien in a Muppet movie! He’s tall and lanky and goofy that he’s practically half-Muppet already…not to mention his humor and sensibility line up really well the Kermit and the gang.
14. If you could take a picture with any Muppet, who would you choose and how would you pose?
Boober Fraggle. We’d both be doing our laundry, scrubbing furiously away on our washboards.
15. What is your favorite piece of Muppet merchandise that you own? (Feel free to include a picture!)
My prized Muppet possession has to be my Whatnot Stu. My family got me a gift certificate to build him for Christmas in 2011 and from the moment he arrived he has been a part of the family!
My two year old daughter loves him to pieces (she’s growing up in a situation very similar to Gary and Walter) and he even made it into our family photo on last year’s Christmas card.
Stu even had a minor brush with fame when he was featured on the intro to NFL Network’s season premier of Thursday Night Football last season.
The final thing that makes Stu so special is that I was able to get him signed by the wonderful Dave Goelz at an event last summer. Stu forever has the world’s greatest back tattoo!
The Muppet Mindset by Ryan Dosier, firstname.lastname@example.org