Kermit the Frog: Mr. Vaughn, we’re so happy you’re here on our show. I can’t tell you what a pleasure it is to have the star of The Man From U.N.C.L.E. and many fine films with us.
Special Guest Robert Vaughn: Hello down there. Glad to be here.
Director: Bob? Can you look at Kermit?
Director: The line is to Kermit. Try not to look at or speak to the Muppet Performers.
Vaughn: The puppeteers?
Director: We call them Muppet Performers.
Director: Just—you’re talking with Kermit.
Vaughn: Who’s Kermit?
Director: The frog.
Kermit: As I was saying, it’s really a pleasure to have an actor of your stature on our show.
Vaughn: The pleasure’s mine. Wow, feel that. It’s got an amazing texture, this material. Oh, sorry, sorry—your material, Kermit. Your material. What are you made of?
Director: Sorry to cut in again, Bob. Try to pretend he’s a real frog.
Director: Don’t talk to him like he’s made of foam. Talk to him like he’s a real frog.
Vaughn: OK. Ribbit.
Director: No, uh… A person, then. Talk to him like he’s a per—
Vaughn: Wait a minute, foam? This is foam rubber? Wow. The head kind of looks like felt. Is it hot inside?
Vaughn: [grabs Kermit, puts hand inside] “Hey, I’m Freddy the Frog. Hey. Give me a kiss.”
Director: OK, we’re going to put a song here.
Kermit the Frog: In our ongoing attempt to raise the intellectual level of the program, our panel discusses topics of lasting importance. This week: If a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to hear it, does it make a sound? Our guests include Professor Swineworthy, truffle botanist; Fozzie Bear, who went camping once and didn’t like it—
Fozzie Bear: It was intense. Get it? In tents?
Kermit: And self-described “tree teacher” Cynthia Stump—
Special Guest Irene Cara: Ow! Son of a bitch! You really whacked my shin. Do there have to be so many of you under this desk?
Director: Yes. Try to ignore them.
Cara: Do these things each need two puppeteers? There must be 20 people futzing around over here.
Director: Don’t look at them. Look at Kermit.
Cara: The floor manager?
Director: The frog.
Kermit: And self-described “tree teacher”—
Director: Just start from the top, Jim.
Kermit: In our ongoing attempt—
Cara: Is that a chicken puppet? That’s really adorable. Chicken, right? I think it’s below the camera sightline.
Director: It’s not supposed to be seen yet. It’s the punchline to a joke.
Cara: Joke? Are we playing this for laughs?
Director: Donna, go get me that script I rejected.
Intern: The thing with the houses talking to each other?
Intern: Seriously? Talking houses?
Director: Just find it.
Director: OK, so when Sweetums tries to bounce off the ropes and clothesline you, you’re going to drop to the canvas—
Special Guest Steve Reeves: Whoa, this thing is huge. There’s a guy in there?
Reeves: Well, he can’t be taller than me.
“Sweetums is only outwardly a monster. His scariness belies his inner vulnerability and good intentions.” Reeves: It’s in all my contracts. Nobody appearing in my scenes can be taller than me.
Director: It’s just a large outfit.
Reeves: Hey, well, sorry. Get a shorter guy.
Director: But it’s… it’s the suit.
Reeves: Can’t you use one of these other puppets? They’re short.
Frank Oz: Hey, Steve? In Hercules, weren’t the monsters taller than you? And in Thief of Baghdad? The walking trees?
Frank Oz: Well, this is a monster. You’re wrestling it. You win. So it can be taller, right?
Jim Henson: Yeah, but Frank, Sweetums is only outwardly a monster. His scariness belies his inner vulnerability and good intentions. It’s the classic Beauty and the Beast archetype. So in a way, the hero is actually Sweetums, and the sympathy we feel—
Frank Oz: [whispering] Shut up, jackass. I’m trying to get this scene in the can.
Reeves: Or how about if I wear the suit?
Intern: Another “talking houses?”
Director: [taps finger on nose]
Reeves: Actually, I’d really like to try on that suit.
Special Guest Burt Reynolds: Oh. Shit. Hey, I was just, uh…. You ever hear of knocking?
Reynolds: OK, this looks bad.
Director: Oh god.
Reynolds: Listen, listen. I’m having some woman problems right now, OK?
Director: Oh my god.
Reynolds: You’re on set all day, you gotta release some…they’re really, really soft, you know?
Director: Get out.
Reynolds: You ever try it? They feel amazing. Vaughn said try the frog, but the brown dog’s fur—
Director: Please get out.
Reynolds: OK. Yeah. But could I just… I’m almost finished.
Director: Get out get out get out get OUT.
Special Guest Karen Black: These puppets are super. How long do they take to build?
Director: Muppets. I don’t know, usually we keep the basic body and just add different eyes, noses. We’re getting a lot faster—
Black: Oh dear.
Black: I just ripped its head off. Sorry.
Director: All right, well, we can re-attach it. Can we get a quick patch-up down here?
Black: I’m such an idiot.
Director: Don’t worry.
Costume Designer: Um, Karen, if you could just hand me the head.
Black: What? Oh. I thought you were going to bring a new head.
Costume Designer: No.
Black: Cause I was sort of hoping I could keep this one. See, my niece is turning three? And, yeah. I’m kind of strapped for ideas.
Director: Sure. Go ahead. Take it. Head, body, fur, take it all. Here’s Statler, Waldorf, and Gonzo the Goddamn Great—why not take the whole Creature Shop! I’m sure they’ll be a big hit with your niece. We’ve only trained our whole fucking lives to master this ancient art, but I’d hate for some kid’s birthday party to be without a puppet show.
Black: I thought it was “Muppet.”
Black: So, you say you guys do birthdays?