One Paragraph story... December 5 edition

Interviews with Kermit the Frog have been scarce at best since his friend and creator Jim Henson passed away in the Spring of 1990. After attending the funeral he dove into his work with what can only be described as a fervour of determination and whimsy. Some have opined that he was only hiding from the inevitable breakdown that would doubtless arrive when all those spare moments were not filled with albums, concerts, television and movie performances, and his unwavering love for Miss Piggy. Now, twenty-four years later, sitting in a leather wing-backed chair at the Bacchus Lounge in Vancouver, Canada, he opened up to Tacker Cochrane about his life. “It’s been enriching,” he said. “I owe everything to Jim; my life. Two great TV shows, countless movies. And, of course, Piggy. Had Jim not known Frank, perhaps I never would have met the love of my life.” Kermit admits he has lost contact with Frank Oz since Frank metaphorically and figuratively handed her off to Eric Jacobson in 2001 so Frank could focus on Directing. “Piggy is a handful,” he says in a puff of laughter. “But, she keeps me in the now, you know?” Miss Piggy and Kermit married in 1984 on the set of Muppets Take Manhattan, which Frank Oz directed. “Although,” he went on. “We have had our scraps.” Kermit, raising an electronic Cigarette to his lips, looks off across the room, and as if he caught himself in, perhaps, a moment of weakness, raises his chin to the barman to have another drink brought to the table. “Swamp Years is true.” He says, referring to the 2002 straight to video film about his younger years in the swamp where he grew up. “I have always wanted to do something extraordinary with my life.” I remind him of all the lives he has touched, all the joy he has brought to the world. “That was Jim. That was mostly Jim and Frank and the boys. And I enjoyed it immensely. The smiles on the kids’ faces. The smiles on the adults. Wonderful, but…” I remind him of his wife, of his songs- without him those songs would not have the same meaning. “It’s not easy being green,” he says without a hint of irony. “I guess, James,” he says to me. “No matter what I have done. Fifty-three years of performing, and yes, I admit I was hiding in some of those year. But, in fifty three years, all those movies, and concerts; all that laughter- it’s all still dwarfed by the fact that I had some man’s hand shoved up my ass.” And he took one last puff, downed his drink. Steve Whitmire stands up with Kermit on his arm. Kermit’s face turned away, he doesn’t make eye contact with me now. Steve thanks me for my time, asks if he can take the untouched bowl of nuts with him, and walks away, leaving Tacker Cochrane with the bill. A small price to pay for such a rare and honest meeting with one of the world’s top performers.

James C.