The Great Muppet Survey: Joseph Scarbrough


Answers from Joseph Scarbrough

1.   Who are your three favorite characters from The Muppet Show, Muppets Tonight, The Jim Henson Hour, the Muppet movies, etc. and why?
I hate for this to seem like a cliche answer, but first and foremost, I’d have to say Kermit the Frog, because he was so much a part of Jim Henson. But of so many really wonderful and terrific characters there are, it’s really difficult to narrow the selection down to just three. I suppose the number two spot would have to go to The Great Gonzo… I mean, how can you not love all of those wacky and zany stunts he’s always trying to pull? And yet, no matter how many times his stunts hardly ever go exactly according to plan, he still manages to maintain all the confidence in the world. Third would probably be Rizzo the Rat, simply because of what a funny little snarker of a character he is.

2.   Who are your three favorite characters from Sesame Street and why?
That too is a difficult question to answer, because likewise, there are so many different wonderful characters to choose from. I’d say first would be Big Bird, he feels like the first best friend I ever had as a little kid, not to mention he was pretty much the embodiment of Sesame Street once upon a time. Second would be the greatest Odd Couple there ever was next to Oscar Madison and Felix Unger themselves–Ernie and Bert, you almost never get tired of Ernie always getting the best of his ol’ buddy Bert. Third would probably be a tie between Cookie Monster and Grover… how could you not love either of these two?

3.   Who are your three favorite characters from Fraggle Rock and why?
In all honesty, I haven’t watched Fraggle Rock regularly since I was about three or four years old, and I remember so little of it, that I couldn’t really properly answer that question without know what I’m really talking about.

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?
Another difficult question! Each of the programs that Jim Henson developed, or had his involvement in were all great for different reasons, and each hold a special place in my heart. Sesame Street probably a little moreso, because it’s been a huge part of my life practically since I was born, and it’s hard to remember a time where it wasn’t. But I also really do like The Muppet Show, it was Jim’s dream, and he really managed to create something special with it – it was clever, it was hilarious, it was unique, it was the greatest variety show there ever was.

5.   What is your favorite Muppet movie and why?
Not exactly the questions that was asked, but I have to say Sesame Street Presents: Follow That Bird–as much as any Muppet project relies on breaking the fourth wall, meta references, and engaging with the audience, this movie doesn’t do any of that, which brings it just a slight more realism that others, not to mention all of the scope it had compared to the series itself. But as for movies with the Classic Muppet characters, I really can’t pick a single favorite out of all of them because each one was different from the other, yet each one was good in its own way.

6.   What is your favorite Muppet/Sesame/Fraggle song and why?
Okay, now that question, I seriously cannot answer. I’m sorry, but with all the wonderful songs out there, there is no way I would be able to narrow it down to one, two, or even three or four.

7.   If you could have dinner with any living Muppet performer who would you choose and why?
Talk about an interesting dinner! Hmm… I would say it would either be a toss-up between Caroll Spinney or Steve Whitmire, both of them have such impressive histories with the Muppets, and they’re a couple of really great guys.

8.   If you could tell Jim Henson one thing, what would it be?
Well, the magic and the genius that Jim brought us with his fantastic and creative mind is what inspired me to become a puppeteer myself, so I would certainly thank him for being such an inspiration.

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”?
I think the Greatest Muppet Moment of All Time would probably be the grand finale of The Muppet Movie… you’ve got hundreds of different Muppet characters, all gathered together, sharing a simple, yet profound message: “Life’s like a movie, write your own ending, keep believing, keep pretending, we’ve done just what we’ve set out to do, thanks to the lovers, the dreamers, and you.”

10.   What’s the name of that song?
La-de-da-de-dum, la-de-da-de-dum, I KNOW the name of that song! It’s called, now wait, I think I got it! Oh no, that must be wrong! So, la-de-da-de-dum, la-de-da-de-dum, 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?
Oh lordy… you know, as much as I love Grover, you have to admit, almost everything he touches gets ruined… I’m not so sure I would want him to be my assistant, even for a day… despite court ruling, I think I would let him off the hook.

12.   In your opinion, what is the worst Muppet production ever made?
I’m probably the only Muppet Freak out there who hates It’s a Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie… it was terrible. It didn’t even feel like a Muppet movie (and it certainly didn’t feel very merry either)…

13.   Who is one celebrity you would love to see cameo in the next Muppet movie?
Hmm, I don’t really know… Mark Ruffalo, perhaps? Might be kind of cool.

14.   If you could take a picture with any Muppet, who would you choose and how would you pose?
What? You mean I can’t take a picture with all of them? Okay… I’ll pick Cookie Monster, the two of us chowin’ down on some cookies, that’d be priceless.

15.   What is your favorite piece of Muppet merchandise that you own? (Feel free to include a picture!)
My Muppet collection really isn’t as impressive as it should be… my Sesame Street Knickerbocker plushes have a lot of sentimental value to them, since I’ve had ’em since I was about two inches tall, so I guess they would count as my favorite.

The Muppet Mindset by Ryan Dosier,

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