Bert and Ernie: The Lost Interview
Conspicuously absent in social media speculation surrounding the sexual orientation of Muppets Bert and Ernie is the fact that the famous pair were actually interviewed on this topic in 2016 – on the weekly BBC radio show, Puppet Talk, hosted by Nigel Tenley-Thistle. Unfortunately, Puppet Talk was cancelled (replaced by Scone Scene) before the interview could be aired. Here, for the first time, is the full transcript of the Muppets’ conversation with Mr. Tenley-Thistle.
NTT: How would you characterize your relationship?
Bert: We’re very good friends.
Ernie: Bert is my best friend.
NTT: Is there a romantic element to your relationship?
Bert: Excuse me?
NTT: What I’m asking is: Do you feel an attraction to each other that goes beyond friendship?
Bert: Nigel, we have no genitalia. Here, take a look. There’s nothing there. Show him, Ernie.
NTT: Oh, my!
Ernie: We don’t have those sorts of special feelings about anyone. We’re puppets. We’re asexual, for God’s sake!
NTT: But what about Kermit and Miss Piggy? They’re also puppets, and there’s clearly something going on between them.
Bert: You should talk to them about that. It’s none of our business.
Ernie: Don’t bother. Their relationship is all for show. For the original Muppet Movie back in 1979, the producers wanted a romantic subplot to get people into the theater, so they made Kermit and Miss Piggy boyfriend and girlfriend. They both went along with it for the money, and were paid much more than the rest of us for the film. That still annoys me. Heck, the two of them don’t even like each other all that much.
Bert: On the set, Kermit would constantly complain that Miss Piggy “smelled like a pig,” while she would scream that if she heard Kermit sing “It’s Not Easy Bein’ Green” one more time, she would snout him to death.
NTT: Ernie, in the 1980s there was a rumor that you had a brief affair with Lamb Chop, a celebrity sock puppet. Would you care to comment?
Ernie: Never happened. It was all a publicity stunt to keep people interested in the Muppet franchise. Just for the record, Lamb Chop was absolutely the dumbest puppet, sock or otherwise, I ever worked with. Didn’t know who the President was. Had never heard of Europe. Couldn’t spell her own name.
NTT: She tells quite a different story about the two of you in Mutton, her forthcoming memoir.
Ernie: She’s lying, and she knows it.
NTT: And Bert, there’s been a lot of talk recently about you and SpongeBob SquarePants. You attended his Broadway musical in New York City over 30 times. The two of you have been seen together in restaurants throughout the city.
Bert: What part of “no genitalia” don’t you understand, Nigel? The show was great, and I love the songs. SpongeBob is the most talented sponge I’ve ever met, inside or outside of the entertainment industry, and he often seeks my advice on how to handle fame as a primitive sedentary aquatic invertebrate. That’s it. There’s nothing more.
NTT: Any final thoughts you’d like to share?
Ernie: If the puppet masters at Sesame Street want to equip us with some private parts, I’d be all for it. Then maybe I’d understand why humans get all choked up when they watch Casablanca or Brokeback Mountain. But until that happens, I’m just a Muppet trying to make a living, whose biggest sensual thrill is getting lightly vacuumed with a DustBuster once a week.
Bert: Amen to that.