The Great Muppet Survey: Chris Harris

26e44-survey Answers from Chris Harris

f1331-kermittux1.   Who are your three favorite characters from The Muppet Show, Muppets Tonight, The Jim Henson Hour, the Muppet movies, etc. and why?
The first question is impossibly hard. I have to include Kermit first because he was my favorite as a child, he is the leader of the group and he is so closely associated with Jim Henson. Second would have to be Gonzo. I’ve always valued his weirdness and optimism. I’m having great difficulty singling out my third choice: it would be either Rowlf, Rizzo, Fozzie, Floyd, or Scooter. If I have to pick a third, I would go with Rowlf.

6dab9-erniepoint2.   Who are your three favorite characters from Sesame Street and why?
Ernie because I’ve always appreciated that he can be so innocent and mischievous at the same time. Lovable, furry old Grover because The Monster at the End of This Book was my favorite book as a child and Super Grover was my favorite superhero. Cookie Monster because cookies are awesome, and he is hilarious. Honorable mention goes to the Two-Headed Monster because we got terrifically funny performances from Richard Hunt and Jerry Nelson in a single character.

3.   Who are your three favorite characters from Fraggle Rock and why?
Wembley because he’s loyal and funny, Uncle Traveling Matt because he’s adventurous and Marjory the Trash Heap because she’s wise.

db82b-ethelmermantms4.   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?
While I’ve loved all of these series, The Muppet Show is still my favorite. I appreciate the variety show format, and the characters are so crazy yet loveable. It’s a shame that while we do have the entire run of both Fraggle Rock and Dinosaurs on DVD, we are still waiting on the last two seasons of The Muppet Show.

7a48f-gangtmm5.   What is your favorite Muppet movie and why?
Muppet Christmas Carol and Muppet Treasure Island are great. I love the songs, and I particularly enjoy the comic pairing of Gonzo and Rizzo. Muppets Most Wanted was a blast (especially the extended version), and  I thought the 2011 Muppet movie was a wonderful reintroduction of the characters (and responsible for reviving my interest in the Muppets). But the original The Muppet Movie is still my favorite. It was the first Muppet movie I ever saw, the songs are great and everything about it is perfect. We got to attend one of the sing-alongs hosted by Heather Henson a couple of years ago, and it was so much fun seeing it on the big screen again with a full house of Muppet fanatics.

Ernieonthemoon6.   What is your favorite Muppet/Sesame/Fraggle song and why?
My favorite Muppet song is probably Rainbow Connection.” I’ve always been a huge fan of the song, it’s one of Kermit’s signature songs and the lyrics are wonderful. Listening to this song can also remind me of a day I left high school, got in the car and heard it playing on the radio. I remember thinking, “How odd.” The song was followed by an announcement that Jim Henson had passed away. I guess because of this I think of it as Jim’s song and just listening to it can be a private remembrance of him. From Sesame Street I pick “I Don’t Want to Live on the Moon.” It’s a very sweet and sentimental song with a great melody performed by one of my favorite Sesame Street characters.  From Fraggle Rock I pick “Wemblin’ Fool” just because it’s a fun tune.

7.   If you could have dinner with any living Muppet performer who would you choose and why?
Just one! Why can’t I have dinner with Dave Goelz, Frank Oz and Steve Whitmire? I’ll even pick up the tab. It would be one of these three because they’ve all been involved since the days of The Muppet Show.

8.   If you could tell Jim Henson one thing, what would it be?
There is a lot I would want to say, but it could be best summed up with a simple “Thank you.”

AMC12 0726 Muppets9.   If the President called you and asked to discuss Muppet projects, what would you tell him was the “Greatest Muppet Moment of All Time”?
For me, it was the Muppets hosting the All-Star Comedy Gala at the Montreal Just For Laughs Festival in 2012. I’m not choosing this because it is their greatest work; I pick it simply because I was there. From the opening theme in a scaled-down version of the arches to Statler and Waldorf heckling Fozzie from the balcony to the Swedish Chef preparing poutine to Gonzo’s botched stunt with the chickens (Cirque du Poulet) to the closing number of “Rainbow Connection,” it was absolutely amazing. It was an incredible experience getting to see a live version of The Muppet Show on stage. What I found most fascinating was that the Muppeteers were frequently in open view, and it was mesmerizing to see how the magic happens. I discovered that I had to force myself to watch the puppeteers because it was so easy to be drawn to the Muppets. They also had monitors to the side of the stage so we could see how the performance would look on television.  Bonus: Adam Hills’ routine about the Swedish Chef was hilarious. It’s definitely worth checking out. (I think the entire show is available for view on Hulu.)

10.   What’s the name of that song?
If you don’t know, I’m not telling. Seriously, though… what’s the name of that song?

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 have him serve me lunch until he got my order right. A month should cover that, right?

43e33-gagamuppets12.   In your opinion, what is the worst Muppet production ever made?
My apologies to Kirk Thatcher, but my least favorite was The Muppets’ Wizard of Oz. My niece absolutely loves it, but I have never been a big fan. That would have been my answer until I saw the Lady Gaga Christmas special. Can’t we put that one in the same category as the Star Wars Holiday Special and just pretend it never happened?

13.   Who is one celebrity you would love to see cameo in the next Muppet movie?
Why has “Weird Al” Yankovic never directly worked with the Muppets? I remember him being profiled in Muppet Magazine, and I know he’s a fan. This should have happened by now!

14.   If you could take a picture with any Muppet, who would you choose and how would you pose?
My first choice would be Kermit and me side-by-side on a log in the swamp. I would also be happy to have a photo face-to-face with Gonzo as we each prepared to be fired from a cannon wearing daredevil jumpsuits (and the appropriate safety gear, of course).

15.   What is your favorite piece of Muppet merchandise that you own? (Feel free to include a picture!)
I’ve narrowed it down to three. The first is my Fisher Price Kermit the Frog hand puppet. I’ve had that guy as long as I can remember. As I child, I frequently used him to lip sync The Muppet Movie soundtrack. The second is something I recently came across and completely forgot I still had… my The Muppet Show lunchbox I carried in grade school (the Thermos was even still inside). Finally, the one that probably is my absolute favorite was a Christmas gift from my wife this past December. It is a vintage Fraggle Rock toy drum signed by Wembley Fraggle and Steve Whitmire.

Fraggle Rock Drum Kermit Puppet Muppet Show Lunchbox

The Muppet Mindset by Ryan Dosier, muppetmindset@gmail.com

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