When I watched Saturday Night Live this weekend, with host Jason Segel, I started to get a bit worried about the upcoming Muppet movie. Between hearing that some of the original Muppeteers were unhappy with the script and seeing the iconic characters' okay but not great appearance on the show, I was losing faith in the Segel-penned revival. But why didn't anyone tell me that Bret McKenzie of Flight of the Conchords was the composer for the new film? Did you think this wasn't extremely important information? Because seriously, it is.
As you might expect, though, the guy who's written lyrics like "How 'bout you and two dudes? / Him, you, and Stu in the nude / Bein' lewd with two dudes with food / Well that's if Stu's into it too" might run into a few issues when it comes to writing songs for a Disney-produced film. You probably didn't expect it would come down to felt:
At one point, McKenzie wrote a lyrical joke for Kermit, in which he would sing, “I remember when I was just a little piece of felt.” That didn’t fly. “I was told: ‘You’re not allowed to do that. The Muppets have always existed. You can’t break down their world.’” Another rule: Frogs and bears and pigs can talk, but penguins and chickens can’t. They can cluck or squawk musically, but they can’t say words. “So I was like, ‘Can we get the penguins to sing?’ And they’d say: ‘No. Penguins don’t sing.’ ”
Jesus, what do they teach you in New Zealand elementary school, Bret? Bears talk, chickens squawk; this is playground stuff. (Just kidding, Bret! Don't be angry, and please accept that marriage proposal I sent you in the mail.) Head over to the Times website to find McKenzie adorably singing a song from the movie with Kermit.