Answers from Marni Hill
1. Who are your three favorite characters from The Muppet Show, Muppets Tonight, The Jim Henson Hour, the Muppet movies, etc. and why?
Rowlf the Dog is definitely in my Top 3 Muppets. His laid-back, easy-going nature is always welcome after a healthy dose of Muppet mayhem. Rowlf, to me is the one character who has the ability to remain sane, but at the same time he can still be just as funny with his dry wit and keen puns. The second character is Fozzie, being someone I can relate to on a personal level. Despite his many insecurities, Fozzie’s loyalty to his friends and his determination to make the world laugh are both admirable and honourable. Anyone who knows me is well aware of my undying respect and admiration for one Kermit the Frog. He is the (almost) perfect leader, the friend everyone needs and can be the voice of reason in even the most chaotic of situations. Not only does Kermit what to say, but also what not to say and even though he has his various flaws, his gentle nature and world-centric look on life is what truly sets him apart from the others.
2. Who are your three favorite characters from Sesame Street and why?
This is a bit difficult to answer considering I haven’t been keeping up with the show. However, I do remember having a soft spot for Bert and Ernie. From the moment I first saw Ernie pull Bert’s nose off, they had my full attention. I think they were the pair who taught me to appreciate people’s differences and even to be friends with someone completely different to me. Big Bird is just as wonderful; he is such a sweetheart and I even named one of my childhood teddy bears ‘Radar’.
3. Who are your three favorite characters from Fraggle Rock and why?
Oh, Henson, forgive me, but I have yet to watch ‘Fraggle Rock’! I promise that watching the series is in the top of my to-do list as soon as I finish high school in a few months! The only character I can mention is Wembley Fraggle. From the clips I’ve watched on YouTube, he seems to be a very sweet and cautious little guy; a perfect character for Steve Whitmire.
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?
To be completely biased, I’m going with The Muppet Show. There is just nothing else like it. Never again will there be anything even close to the hilariousness, spontaneousness and uniqueness of such a show. The guest stars were fantastic (Roger Miller among the best), the sketches were classic and the Muppets themselves reached their peak within 22 minutes of each episode. This was what made the Muppets the stars they are today and I could probably ramble on about it forever!
5. What is your favorite Muppet movie and why?
That’s like trying to ask me who my favourite M*A*S*H character is! Well, if I really have to choose….it’s probably The Muppets (2011). The film will always be a source of nostalgia for me because it is what caused me to become a fan in the first place. I was kinda on a downer at the time, really depressed, but the movie managed to break me out of that funk and I was laughing for the first time in weeks. The music was sensationally upbeat, the gags were hilarious, and the re-introductions of each Muppet were well thought out. The film did exactly what it set out to do; to rediscover its fan-base, but this time, I was along for the ride!
6. What is your favourite Muppet/Sesame/Fraggle song and why?
Again, with the difficult questions! My favourite Muppet song tends to change with my mood. If I’m happy, it’s usually “Can You Picture That?” If I’m sad, it’s always “Just One Person” and if I’m excited about the future, it’s ‘Movin’ Right Along’. Whenever I’m about to go on stage to perform, it’s often “Steppin’ Out with a Star” that I sing to calm my nerves. No single song will do for me!
7. If you could have dinner with any living Muppet performer who would you choose and why?
Oh, Steve Whitmire for sure! As much as I love and appreciate all the performers, Steve just stands out for me and not just because he has the Frog. With his years of experience with the Muppets, it would make for fascinating conversation to hear his stories of ‘The Muppet Show’, the films and TV specials, etc. More than that though, I’ve heard nothing but wonderful things about Steve from those who have been fortunate enough to meet him. I would just love to experience this gentle, charming and humorous personality for myself. Having dinner with him sounds like the right kind of setting for that! And plus, how could you say no to such an honest, adorable smile like that?
8. If you could tell Jim Henson one thing, what would it be?
“One of the biggest turning points of my life was discovering you. Thank you for reviving my faith in creativity and sparking new inspirations in my life.”
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?”
Yeah, because Obama is going to waste an overseas call on little old me! Well, if he happened to do so, I’d recommend that he watch the entire Muppet universe sing “Rainbow Connection” at the end of The Muppets: A Celebration of 30 Years. I completely agree with Kermit in that special how the quieter moments these characters have can be some of the best. It stands for so much of what the Muppets are: unity, chasing dreams and most importantly, love.
10. What’s the name of that song?
“Bossa Nova Penguin” by the Tuxedoed Flippers
11. If a judge ruled that Grover had to be your personal assistant for a month, what jobs would have him do?
Wait, is Grover my assistant because he did something wrong, or because I did something wrong? Because if he was the one in the wrong, I’d prefer to just to pay his bail and be done with it!
12. In your opinion, what is the worst Muppet production ever made?
Sadly, there are quite a few of these. I really want to say Muppets from Space, but Muppet Classic Theater takes the cake. You can tell that the performers were kind of reluctant to take it seriously, it appeals only to kids and most importantly, it was what made me terrified of the Muppets until I was 16. That nightmare ain’t going away any time soon!
13. Who is one celebrity you would love to see cameo in the next Muppet movie?
Oh, Adam Hills without a doubt! If you’re not familiar with him, Adam is that Australian comedian who did his entire set on the Swedish Chef when the Muppets took over the Gala in Montreal a couple of years ago. Adam isn’t just a huge fan like us, he is a Muppet! He’s modest, knows how to put on a show and has perfect comic timing. I firmly believe that if you put Adam and Kermit side by side as co-hosts of a show, the greatest “bromance” of all time would be born. They would be inseparable… Mainly because I wouldn’t let them apart, but hopefully that wouldn’t be an issue!
14. If you take a picture with any Muppet, who would you choose and how would you pose?
I can’t go past Kermit! A photo with Kermit is like The Holy Grail of Muppet possessions for us fans. As for the pose, I would love it I could have him on my shoulder with one arm around my neck, while I stare admiringly at his presence. Would a kiss shot be asking too much?
15. What is your favorite piece of Muppet merchandise that you own?
I own this cute little Kermit watch my parents gave me for my 17th birthday last year. Every time I glance down to look at the time, I can’t help but giggle and smile because there is Kermit giving me his big smile. Yeah, I get weird looks from the people around me, but do you think I care?