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Bret McKenzie

When I learned Bret McKenzie was the music supervisor on the Muppet Movie, I was thrilled. Flight of the Conchords was a really funny show and the songs were always very catchy.

The Muppet soundtrack is no exception and ‘Man or Muppet,’ sung by Jason Segel and Walter, is the song I was waiting for. It screams McKenzie, and Flight of the Conchords, silly but heartfelt.

McKenzie recently performed the very sweet opening song ‘Life’s A Happy Song’ with the most famous Muppet, Kermit! This was part of the New York Times Magazine‘s coverage of the Muppet Movie.

I think this video is adorable, Kermit bobbing along and playing with McKenzie.  I needed to find an excuse to share.

McKenzie also did an interview with Vulture and speaks of how he wrote for the Muppets, and the taboos he encountered;

“Every so often I had to edit things out if it got too R-rated. And one of the first lines in the opening song, one of the Muppets was reminiscing about how he was “just a little piece of felt.” That got shut down because the Muppets are real in the Muppets world. You never mention that they are puppets. They’ll break the fourth wall during the film and make you aware that it’s a film, but they’ll never break the convention that they are puppets. In a way, it reminds you of Santa Claus for children. Everyone knows, but no one mentions it.”

The Muppet rules are much more strict than just musical work. These people have been these characters for decades and McKenzie dicusses how he learned to work with those intricacies;

“Then I’d rewrite the line to suit the character’s integrity. It was an incredibly fun job in the studio, spending days recording these grown men making penguin sounds. And saying, “Let’s do penguin three, please.” You’d do six penguins and they all have slightly different voices. I wrote a song for Piggy and you have to get the range right. If Miss Piggy goes too high, she sounds all squeaky. Too squeaky. And if she goes too low, she sounds like the man who’s doing her part.”

McKenzie also talks about Jason Segel and his work in the film. It’s always nice to hear other performers talk highly of their coworkers;

“That song transcends the film and deals with an issue that we all have: Are we a man or a muppet? [Laughs.] It’s the perfect 5-year-old crisis. It was my favorite song in the film because Jason does an incredible performance and he really channels his inner Meatloaf to slam that power ballad. Jason Segel is definitely a triple threat. He can act, he can sing, and he can almost dance. He’s a two and a half threat … two and three quarters threat.”

McKenzie also talks about teaching Chris Cooper to rap, and the future of Flight of the Conchords. To read the rest of this interview, click here.

Credit. Credit.

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Categories: Actor, Music, Music Video, Musician, Singer, Writer

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