Watch the Debut of the New Kermit the Frog
One of the stranger scandals of the summer of 2017 was the curious case of Kermit the Frog. For almost 30 years, ever since the death of his creator Jim Henson, Kermit had been puppeteered by Steve Whitmire. A few weeks ago, it came out that Whitmire had been fired, and replaced by another longtime Muppet employee, Matt Vogel. What followed was a nasty case of he-said-frog-said; Whitmire was accused of “unacceptable business conduct,” while he insisted he was “baffled” by the claims and had done nothing wrong. Henson’s son and daughter both later came out in favor of the switch, claiming Whitemire made “outrageous demands” and that his removal from the role was “long overdue,” respectively.
At the time all this noise started, the word was that Whitmire had been quietly fired back in 2016; the news only came to light now because Vogel’s first official Kermit appearance, a segment on the Muppets’ YouTube series “Muppet Thought of the Week,” was about to debut. But after the controversy garnered international attention, Vogel’s first Kermit clip never appeared. Until now. It finally showed up on the Muppets’ YouTube channel yesterday.
For point of comparison, here’s one of Whitmire’s recent performances as Kermit, in the underrated Muppets Most Wanted:
And for even more comparison, here’s one of Jim Henson’s later TV appearances with Kermit:
No two Kermits sound exactly alike; each has their own inflections and styles. We’ll see more of Vogel’s as he does more significant performances as Kermit; it’s a little tough to really judge on the basis of just this clip alone.