9:58pm PT by Kimberly Nordyke
Stephen Colbert Presses Frank Oz on Whether Muppets Have Sex
Do Muppets have sex?
That was one of the questions that Stephen Colbert really wanted an answer to on Wednesday night's The Colbert Report.
Frank Oz, who has voiced such Muppets as Bert, Cookie Monster, Miss Piggy, Fozzie Bear, Animal and Grover, appeared on the Comedy Central talk show to promote the Blu-ray release of Little Shop of Horrors, which he directed.
But host Colbert took the opportunity to ask his burning question. He first asked whether Muppets -- specifically, those like Animal, a drummer in a rock band -- have "groupies." Oz then pressed him on what he was really asking.
"Muppet sex," Colbert clarified, to which Oz replied: "You actually said it."
"I insinuated, and you extenuated," Colbert quipped. "You made me be explicit."
He then asked outright: "Do Muppets have sex?" Oz was still flabbergasted: "What?!"
"How do you get new Muppets, is all I'm asking?" Colbert pressed.
Oz finally gave, well, as best an answer as he could.
"I have performed with the Muppets for many years," he said. "And when I did, I didn't make the characters. Many people who are tremendously talented at the workshop make the characters. I can't tell you what actually happens there, but it's all done in the workshop."
Later during the interview, Colbert returned to the Muppets again.
"Bert and Ernie -- that's a straight situation, right?" he asked.
Oz's reply? "Um hmm," he said while nodding.
Oz also talked about why he chose to include the original -- and more downbeat -- ending on the Little Shop of Horrors Blu-ray edition. That ending saw Seymour (Rick Moranis) and Audrey (Ellen Greene) eaten by the extraterrestrial plant, but test audiences didn't like it, so Oz reshot a happier ending for the 1986 theatrical release.
Oz told Colbert that the original ending -- devised by special effects supervisor Richard Conway -- cost about $1 million and took about a year to create and shoot.
"It was excised because the [audience test] scores were so low that Warner Bros. would not release the movie," he said, adding that he didn't fight the change because "I can feel when an audience is totally against me."
As for why he decided to change the ending for the Blu-ray, Oz said: "I wanted to give Richard Conway his due. His team did all that work. That's why I wanted to do it."