A Conversation with “The Muppets” Producer David Hoberman

Above: James Carroll, David Hoberman, Steve Whitmire, and  Kermit the Frog.  Pictured below is Acting President and Provost Barry Brown with Kermit.

4/11/2011

Kermit the Frog recently took center stage at the University’s Modern Theatre and answered audience questions about everything from his upcoming movie and the challenges of working with humans to his relationship with Miss Piggy.

“It’s ah, it’s ah, it’s a personal thing,” the seemingly embarrassed Muppet told the audience. “It’s sort of between a frog and a pig.”

Kermit appeared as a special guest of Hollywood producer David Hoberman, and alongside puppeteer Steve Whitmire, who’s been “managing” Kermit since the death of the Muppet’s creator Jim Henson in 1990. Hoberman, a Distinguished Visiting Scholar at the University, produced “The Fighter,” which won two Oscars at the Academy Award ceremonies in February. His next film, “The Muppets,” is in post production.

Suffolk University Distinguished Scholar in Residence James Carroll interviewed Hoberman about “The Fighter” and “The Muppets,” before bringing out Whitmire, and eventually Kermit to thunderous applause. Carroll asked the frog if it’s still not easy being green.

“It’s funny about that,” Kermit responded. “It used to not be easy being green, but I have since that time back in the seventies been to a being-green support group, and I’m finding it easier all the time. But I should say to your audience, if any of you wake up in the morning and look in the mirror and you’re green, I would see a doctor.”

Kermit was asked about the chaos backstage on “The Muppets” set – “It’s insane. When you are at the center of a spoke of a wheel, surrounded by things like penguins, bears and barnyard animals, I mean the permitting alone…”

College of Arts and Sciences Dean Kenneth Greenberg asked the Muppet to reflect on his immortality.

“It’s an odd place to be,” Kermit said. “It’s one of those things that I rarely deal with in our work because it gets too strange. But, you know, what are we all but inanimate objects in the end? There’s something inside of us that gives us a spark, and at the end of the day we get put in a box and shoved in a closet.

One student told the frog that “The Rainbow Connection” was her lullaby and that she wrote her college essay on how Kermit made her the person that she is.

“If I could turn red I probably would,” the Muppet said.

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