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Kermit And The Gang Return In New Disney+ Show, 'Muppets Now'

LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:

There comes a moment in every NPR host's life when you get to interview an icon, someone who looms so large in your imagination that it is hard to find the words. This is that moment, friends. He is someone who doesn't need an introduction, but I'm giving him one anyway because that is my job. He is small. He is green, and he is the one who keeps that show together. He is Kermit the Frog. And his new show is called "Muppets Now," and it's streaming on Disney Plus.

Welcome to WEEKEND EDITION SUNDAY, Kermit.

MATT VOGEL: (As Kermit the Frog) Oh, gee, thank you, Lulu. It's so nice to be here. You know, for a while there, I didn't know who you were introducing because none of that sounded like me until you got to the green part.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: (Laughter) Yeah. I mean, I got to say I grew up watching you, and I've seen your pictures. And you haven't aged a day.

VOGEL: (As Kermit the Frog) Gee, thanks.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: You look great. How do you do it?

VOGEL: (As Kermit the Frog) Well, you know, I soak in pond scum, and so that kind of does it. It kind of keeps the frog skin, you know, all nice and young-looking, I suppose.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: That is a good tip. I'm not sure I'm going to take it, but I like it.

VOGEL: (As Kermit the Frog) It works for frogs.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: It works for frogs. Tell me about "Muppets Now." You and the other Muppets host different comedy sketches. It's reminiscent of your 1970s variety show with the great Jim Henson.

VOGEL: (As Kermit the Frog) Disney Plus - they asked us to do something different. And so, oh, boy, did we ever. It's kind of the first show that the Muppets have done that we say is totally unscripted. And I know it might not look like we're following a script in the past, but we were, sort of, mostly - well, not really at all. Anyway, at this time, we're just winging it. And it's got a little bit of everything, Lulu. There's a science show with Bunsen and Beaker. There's a cooking competition with Swedish Chef. Pepe the King Prawn - he has a game show where there are absolutely no rules.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: And you have a talk show. It's called "Mups Close & Personal."

VOGEL: (As Kermit the Frog) Yeah, it's a one-on-one interview where we meet a celebrity, somebody that we've always wanted to meet.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: I hear RuPaul gave you some advice.

VOGEL: (As Kermit the Frog) Yeah. I mean, RuPaul's terrific. You know, things do not go maybe as I had planned in my interview with RuPaul.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "MUPPETS NOW")

VOGEL: (As Kermit the Frog) I'm really sorry. I lost it there, but...

RUPAUL: Kermit, just remember - if you're in a jam like that, you've got to center yourself, right? Breathe. Laugh. Repeat.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: How did you decide who you wanted to come onto the show?

VOGEL: (As Kermit the Frog) Oh, well, it's somebody that we admire. So Fozzie, for instance, is interviewing Seth Rogen, and Miss Piggy goes one-on-one with Aubrey Plaza.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "MUPPETS NOW")

ERIC JACOBSON: (As Miss Piggy) What is your favorite very personal story that your publicist has ever written for you?

AUBREY PLAZA: I don't really understand that question.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: And I'm glad you mentioned Miss Piggy because we have to talk about this, of course.

VOGEL: (As Kermit the Frog) Yeah.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: She's now a lifestyle guru. Should we be taking her advice?

VOGEL: (As Kermit the Frog) I'm going to leave that up to you, actually. I am obligated to say that "Lifestyle With Miss Piggy" is where she teaches you life, love and how to be more like her. She told me to say that.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Are you guys still together? It's hard to tell from your Instagram page.

VOGEL: (As Kermit the Frog) We are not together, you know, romantically, but we are still very good friends, and we talk almost every day. You know, these kind of times, it's good to check in.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: I feel like you've given me a scoop here.

VOGEL: (As Kermit the Frog) Like I say, we're very close. We're good friends.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: I, as I've mentioned, follow you on Instagram. You are also an influencer. And you put this adorable picture of yourself as a tadpole. Do you remember those early days before the fame?

VOGEL: (As Kermit the Frog) Oh, yeah - back before I dropped my tail. You know, it was a simpler time, but something really pulled me away from the swamp and kind of implored me to go out there and just make people happy. And that's what I've been trying to do ever since.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Can I ask you a special favor?

VOGEL: (As Kermit the Frog) Sure.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: I loved the song the "Rainbow Connection" when I was a child, and I have a child now. Do you remember the lyrics? Can you sing a bit of that for us? I feel like we need it.

VOGEL: (As Kermit the Frog) Oh, sure. I mean, I can - I'll do this part here. (Singing) Someday we'll find it - the rainbow connection - the lovers, the dreamers and me.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Oh, Kermit, you've made my day. Thank you so much.

VOGEL: (As Kermit the Frog) Thank you, Lulu. Thanks for having me.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Kermit the Frog - you can find "Muppets Now" on Disney Plus.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "RAINBOW CONNECTION")

JIM HENSON: (As Kermit the Frog, singing) Why are there so many songs about rainbows and what's... Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.