The Great Muppet Survey – Jarrod Fairclough

 Answers from Jarrod Fairclough

1.   Who are your three favorite characters from The Muppet Show, Muppets Tonight, The Jim Henson Hour, the Muppet movies, etc. and why?
That’s like asking me to pick a favorite child. Let me work my way up. I love Gonzo. I love the silliness, the zaniness, the craziness he exhibits. The fact that he thinks eating a tire while singing “Flight of the Bumblebee” is entertainment is hilarious, because really, everyone would watch a guy do that. I also love Rowlf. He’s responsible for some of the sweeter moments, like some of his songs in The Muppet Show. “I Hope That Something Better Comes Along” is one of the finest moments in The Muppet Movie. But really, my favorite has to be the main frog. Kermit’s the greatest character ever created. He’s so sweet and nurturing to these people that make his life a living heck, because he gets that they’re a family, and that without him they’d fall apart. If that isn’t a great quality in a frog, then I don’t know what is.

2.   Who are your three favorite characters from Sesame Street and why?
 Again, allow me to work my way up. Oscar is always guaranteed to get a laugh out of me. His constant quandary of “I’m mad, and that makes me happy. But I hate being happy, so that makes me mad. But I like being mad, and that makes me happy…” is pure brilliance. I get a real kick out of Telly, too. I love that they’ve slightly toned down the neurotic side of him, while still keeping it obvious. He’s bound to get worrisome about something, but he knows how to deal with it better now. Plus, his relationship with Baby Bear is really sweet… As for my favorite, it should come as no surprise, as I think I’ve mentioned it a lot on here. Ernie. Ernie is me. I am Ernie. I just want to bug my friends and make them mad, but I do it out of pure love for them. I can’t put in to words my love for Ernie. He’s just hilarious, and sweet, and silly.

3.   Who are your three favorite characters from Fraggle Rock and why?
Gobo’s a great character. His adventurous side really rubs off on me, and every time I see him head off on an adventure, I want to get off the couch and go caving too. Jerry Nelson was in his finest form as Gobo, and I’m sad that if a Fraggle movie ever gets made, he won’t be around for it. I really like Sidebottom, too. You can tell Dave Goelz was having a blast playing Boober in an entirely different way. I love that Boober tries to suppress him, but really knows that the fun side of you is important, so always eventually embraces him. My favorite though, is Junior Gorg. Purely because his voice is one of the best things in the world. Richard Hunt’s little kid voice is comic genius.

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?
Choosing my favourite TV show is just mean. You’re mean, Dosier. I’ll have to go with The Muppet Show.  It was responsible for some of the funniest moments in Muppet history, and if that hadn’t been as great as it was, there’s a very high possibility none of us would be on a Muppet fan site right now. The show lead to the movies, which lead to constant Muppet projects. So, for that, The Muppet Show wins.

5.   What is your favorite Muppet movie and why?
The Muppet Movie wins best film hands down. It’s not only my favorite Muppet movie; it’s my favorite movie ever. It’s got hilarious moments in it, but it’s also got really sweet moments. The conversion Kermit has with himself about dragging his friends to the middle of nowhere is one of the greatest movie scenes ever filmed. Everyone’s had that inner frog telling you you’re going to be okay, and sometimes it’s hard to listen to that frog. But Kermit eventually does, and it’s beautiful. The first time I ever saw that movie, I had tonsillitis, and I was miserable. It made me feel 100 times better.

6.   What is your favorite Muppet/Sesame/Fraggle song and why?  
I’m cheating here and writing two. “The Rainbow Connection” is phenomenal. I still get chills when I hear the opening plucks of that banjo. It’s that battle of “What’s it all about?” we face that is captured so perfectly by a frog. Man, you sing one heck of a song there, Kermit. Another is a more recent Sesame Street song. Ernie sings “I Wonder,” all about the wonders of the world and the universe. Who hasn’t wondered what makes a falling star go by? Or how a bunny hop hop hops? Steve Whitmire has done a brilliant job as Ernie, and this is the pinnacle for me so far.

7.   If you could have dinner with any living Muppet performer who would you choose and why?
That’s a really hard question. I think I’d pick Steve Whitmire. I’d ask him all about the process of taking over Kermit and Ernie, and if he’s disappointed he doesn’t get to do Rizzo much lately. And I’d ask him if I can make a documentary about him! And what it was like working with Jim. I’d say nothing and let the man talk all night, and record it all, and listen to it every day.

8.   If you could tell Jim Henson one thing, what would it be?
I’d say, “I just want to thank you for sharing your genius mind and for making billions of people happy”

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”?
First I’d wonder how we got my number. Then I guess I’d have to think about it. That’s not an easy question to answer. I think I’d have to go with Jim Henson’s Memorial. Weird choice, I know, but let me explain. There’s a few videos of it on YouTube, and each video is equally heart wrenching and heart warming. Big Bird singing “Bein’ Green” is devastating enough, but then his little voice cracks when he says “Thank you, Kermit” at the end, and I’m guaranteed to cry like a little girl. Frank Oz’s eulogy is one of the funniest moments that can be had in a funeral. He has an entire cathedral laughing and the love and the friendship that those two shared is really evident in those seven or so minutes. But it seems like it should have gone longer, and yet Frank couldn’t go on. His breaking voice when he says “He loved me, and I loved him” will get me, even if Big Bird didn’t. And finally, there’s the always brilliant medley of songs the Muppeteers sing, culminating in lots of Muppets singing “Just One Person.” There’s a lovely moment at the end, where Frank and Dave Goelz hug, and you can tell exactly how they’re feeling in just those few seconds. So, like I said, weird choice, but it showed that even when faced with tragedy, these people can still do what they do best. They can make us laugh, and they can make us cry. And now I need to go watch them again.

10.   What’s the name of that song?
“The Venga Bus Is Coming”

11.   If a judge ruled that Grover had to be your personal assistant for a month, what jobs would you have him do?
That’s easy. There’s a great video of myself and my niece when she was about five months old, and I have a Grover puppet. And I’m making her laugh really, really hard. I mean the hardest she’d ever laughed. She still goes and gets it and makes me put it on, and she’s now 20 months old! So I’d have Grover look after her, and I’d film it all. Because I can guarantee she’d be doubled over with laughter all day.

12.   In your opinion, what is the worst Muppet production ever made?
Kermit’s Swamp Years. What an unnecessary film to make. There’s not one redeeming feature about that film, when really it should have been great. It had great writers, it had a great cast. But it just didn’t need to be made. It felt rushed too. And the human actors are just terrible. If you’re going to overact with the Muppets, do it without overdoing it. These people just didn’t seem to get the memo. The girl is WAY too whiny and the guy is just horrible. Oh, man, I can’t say enough terrible things about those actors. The only good thing about that film is the “Making of” on the DVD, with Joe the Armadillo. That animal is funny.

13.   Who is one celebrity you would love to see cameo in the next Muppet movie?
Jim Rash. Wearing the same clothes as Miss Piggy.

14.   If you could take a picture with any Muppet, who would you choose and how would you pose?
I have taken pictures with Muppets. Like Bert. He was awesome. I’d love to get a photo with Ernie, where I’m holding Rubber Duckie and he’s holding my teddy bear–Sharing our favorite toys with each other! …I’m totally gonna do that if I ever meet Ernie.

15.   What is your favorite piece of Muppet merchandise that you own? (Feel free to include a picture!)  
This is my genuine, real as it gets Jim Henson signature. I have the certificate of authenticity, too. I have no idea when he signed this, or where. But it’s a great feeling to look at it and know that Jim held that in his hand and signed it. And it ended up in my hands. It’s the closest I’m ever gonna get to meeting the guy. It’s my prized possession, and I’ll have it forever.

The Muppet Mindset by Ryan Dosier,

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