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The Brand New Ask Jim Lewis Thread

Discussion in 'Henson People' started by dwayne1115, Jan 16, 2008.

  1. minor muppetz

    minor muppetz Well-Known Member

    I'll ask a few questions, and one or two can be selected at a time. I'll be out of town in two weeks, and am not sure if I'll have internet access then.

    Do you know whose decision it was to have Seymour and Pepe go from being elevador operadors in the first season of Muppets Tonight to being cooks in the second season, and why the change was made?

    Was a script for Billy Bunny's Animal Songs started before Jim Henson died?

    I know that you wrote the Muppet Sing-Along entitled It's Not Easy Being Green, and you probably wrote the Best of Mupets Tonight epsidoe of Muppets Tonight. When writing a script for a compilation, do you already write in what clips are there, or does somebody else usually decide on what clips get included?

    One really good Mupets Tonight sketch that only appeared in one epsidoe was Gonzo and Rizzo's Incredible Discoveries. Do you hapen to know whether this was intended to be a recurring segment or was it always meant to be a one-shot sketch?
  2. Beauregard

    Beauregard Well-Known Member

    Rather random little question, wondered if you've ever heard of the MC Muppeteer fan clubs entitled BBB, SSS, SWAEHB, or DADA? And if Bill, Steve or Dave know that they have some delightfully mad fans out there who very occasionally and *ahem* harmlessly plan kidnapping them because they are so awesome?
  3. Beauregard

    Beauregard Well-Known Member

    Well...I think it's high time this got a Bump, and some new questions! (Hope these haven't been asked before...Dwayne, would you check the archieves? :p)

    Do you have an opinion on Penguins? Can they talk ('Well, Excuse us for liiiiiiiiiving' Muppets Take Manhatten) or can they merely quack (Muppet Christmas Carol, etc)? Which is funnier?

    Why rats? Surely they should be concidered filthy disease-carrying critters, and yet within the Muppetverse they are cute, money-making, hungry critters. Is the fact they should be there a part of their appeal?

    Did you write the intro for the TMS Season 3 trailer, with Kermit and Piggy, ending in Piggy falling upon her beloved? It made me laugh, and reminded me of your kind of a gag.

    Is J.P. Gross truely dead? He left the Muppet Theatre to the Muppets (lucky, concidering he could have left it to Scooter who would probably have turned it into an organic coffee house!), but is he dead, or hibernating?

    Will we see Muppets driving vehicles again soon? Sure, there was the tour-bus in Mwoo, but I'd love to see something akin to Dr Teeth in the EM bus, or Beau in the taxi again.

    Loving the elevator clips on the website. Truely inspired.
  4. Beauregard

    Beauregard Well-Known Member

    I have a few more questions (since I seem to be the only one asking this month...).

    Do you know/can you speculate, on why Gonzo made no mention of his beloved, Camilla, in Muppet's From Space? He was overly concerned about leaving his friends, but made no mention of his loved one. Any thoughts?
  5. theprawncracker

    theprawncracker Well-Known Member

    Hey Jim, Ryan again...

    Can you tell us if you wrote the new bonus material on the upcoming "The Muppet Show: Season 3" DVD set?

    Can you also tell us why there haven't been any updates on the Muppets Disney XD site recently? I assume they're just finalizing them all currently, just wondering. Thanks Jim!

    (And Dwayne, a piece of advice, I think maybe you should send off the questions we have so we can start this thread up again.)
  6. dwayne1115

    dwayne1115 Well-Known Member

    I will work on sending some questions off this afternoon. There seems to be so many good questions i don't know how i will be able to pick the ones i send this time around.
  7. dwayne1115

    dwayne1115 Well-Known Member

    hey gang,


    I just sent off the questions k
  8. dwayne1115

    dwayne1115 Well-Known Member

    Here ya go some cool answers to some questions. I may send some more tomorow becuase we do have a lot right now.



    Ask Jim Lewis Questions& Get Answers





    From Dwmckim: You've written extensively for The Muppets in both printed material to be read and scripted material to be performed. How would you describe the differences - is one form harder than the other, do you prefer one over the other, what was it like making a transition when you first started, etc.

    Great question. I started out in print. Even before I wrote a word for the Muppets, I was most comfortable writing print. In school, I was lousy at science and math, but I loved to write. And so I became a journalist, because that’s the only way I could make money writing. But after awhile, and through the grace of God and Jim Henson, I got to write for the Muppets. At first, in print, at “Muppet Magazine” and then for videos and eventually TV and other projects. But, I’ve always found the print writing easier, not only because it’s the form I began with, but because I find the writer has more control than he does with a script. At the same time, script writing is a joy because you see and hear what you’ve put down on paper turned into magic by the best performers in the world. (And it pays better, too).





    From Minor Muppetz: One really good Muppets Tonight sketch that only appeared in one epsidoe was Gonzo and Rizzo's Incredible Discoveries. Do you hapen to know whether this was intended to be a recurring segment or was it always meant to be a one-shot sketch?

    Castigate me to within an inch of my life (which is very close), for I cannot remember exactly what this sketch was. Can you refresh my memory? Better yet, maybe we can get Disney to release the whole series on DVD, so we can all refresh our memories. Sorry I’m no help here. Glad to hear it was funny. If no one else remembers it perhaps I’ll recycle it as a brand new idea. Like Fozzie’s jokes, my best original ideas are old.











    From Beauregard: Do you have an opinion on Penguins? Can they talk ('Well, Excuse us for liiiiiiiiiving' Muppets Take Manhatten) or can they merely quack (Muppet Christmas Carol, etc)? Which is funnier? And Why rats? Surely they should be concidered filthy disease-carrying critters, and yet within the Muppetverse they are cute, money-making, hungry critters. Is the fact they should be there a part of their appeal?

    Penguins. Love ‘em. Yeah, they have been known to talk, but I am of the “Wack-Wack!” school on this. It’s just funnier than having another talking character. And they’re such a great pack animal. Put a couple of penguins in a scene and they’ll do their best to take it over and wreak havoc…..
    As for Rats. I love ‘em. They are the Teamsters of the Muppets. (And I love Teamsters, too…just in case anyone out there is a union member). They really do all the hard work around Muppet productions. They do their jobs, they tote the barges, lift the bales and they love to complain. (In short, they’re a lot like me.) I think we like the Muppet Rats so much because they really speak their mind. Ralph Kramden and Ed Norton with tails. The greatest!




    From Dwayne (Me) Do you know/can you speculate, on why Gonzo made no mention of his beloved, Camilla, in Muppet's From Space? He was overly concerned about leaving his friends, but made no mention of his loved one. Any thoughts?

    I don’t know why he didn’t mention Camilla. Her omission was not intentional. It’s an oversight. You’d think someone would catch it. But we didn’t. (This happens. I, for instance, neglected to mention the wonderful Richard Hunt in the “Before You Leap” book. Mea culpa.) If there was a chance for “do-overs” we’d correct both these mistakes.
  9. theprawncracker

    theprawncracker Well-Known Member

    Great questions, and answers! Thanks for sending them off Dwayne! I look forward to more if they're to come!
  10. MrsPepper

    MrsPepper Active Member

    Thanks for posting that, Dwayne!

    And thanks to Jim for the fantastic answers. You always answer patiently, with insight and humour and it's much appreciated! :D
  11. theprawncracker

    theprawncracker Well-Known Member

    Hey Jim, Ryan again, and MrsPepper and I have a joint question...

    Who came up with the idea for the character of Dr. Phil van Neuter?
  12. dwayne1115

    dwayne1115 Well-Known Member

    Just sent some questions to Jim I think we are about caught up with everyones questions, so if you have more feel free to post them now.
  13. dwayne1115

    dwayne1115 Well-Known Member

    Here ya go!


    A Stroll down Memory Lane With Jim Lewis






    From Dwmckim: Deep Introspection Time (cue Derek Scott-type music cue): Thinking about your place among the staff of Muppet writers, all of whom have their own individual strengths and weaknesses, what do you feel are your greatest strengths; what special qualities in particular do you bring to the writers' table (throw all humility out the window and feel free to toot your own horn) and then what do you feel are the qualities that you'd most like to be able to improve in comparison with the rest of the team?

    Cue “PENNYSLVANIA POLKA” music (which is always good for a festive laff): Wow, this is totally heavy. I haven’t lifted thoughts this heavy since I was in college trying to impress co-eds. Now that I’m married, I just answer “uh-huh” and get on with it. But my personal life notwithstanding, I’ll give it a shot. It all starts with Jerry Juhl. He had it all – the heart, the sense of humor, the encyclopedic comedic knowledge and acumen. Everything any Muppet writer does is influenced by Jerry, and made better by that influence. I was not fit to touch the hem of his garment (a fact he reminded me of quite frequently: “Will you stop touching the hem of my garment and get to work!”) God bless him, amen!...As for the rest of us ink-stained wretches, I am not here to pass judgment on others. My greatest experience has been with the inestimable Mr. Kirk Thatcher, whose comic vision is 20/20 and sometimes cross-eyed. He always takes things to the unexpected and hilarious place where guffaws and chortles, chuckles and snorts live. And as a director, he has a great visual sense, a marvelous way with timing, and a natural connection to the performers….Regarding other writers I have known through the years, let me say that they (e.g. Joey Mazzarino, Craig Shemin, Bill Prady, et al.) are dauntingly funny individuals who also have impressive hems on their respective garment…. And that brings us to me. I’m just a guy who wanted to be “funny for money” and had grown up on the likes of Jack Benny, George Burns, Groucho Marx, Laurel & Hardy, the Three Stooges, Abbott & Costello, Danny Kaye, and acts of that vintage. Unfortunately, by the time I reached the age of consent, that style of “a little song, a little dance, a little seltzer down your pants” humor had been eclipsed by a more subtle style of irony. What to do? Easy! Go to the refuge of gags and silliness, the Muppets! There with my cardboard valise of time-worn material, I was able to create a small niche. I am not the best or funniest writer, but I am quick and good at spot welding. And, through the intercession of Messers Henson, Juhl, Oz, Nelson, Whitmire, Goelz, Hunt and on and on, I have learned to leaven the yuks with a dollop of heartfelt emotion – which is the real secret of these characters. They aren’t just characters, they are us. And it just so happens that on a good day, I’m Fozzie, or at least a Fozzie Wannabear! (Ahhh! Wocka! Wocka!)
    How’s that for heavy thinking?


    From Beauregard: Did you write the intro for the TMS Season 3 trailer, with Kermit and Piggy, ending in Piggy falling upon her beloved? It made me laugh, and reminded me of your kind of a gag.

    If it made you laugh, I wrote it. But there’s a far greater chance I wrote something leading up to the funny, and the performers made it hilarious.




    From Ryan (A.K.A our own king prawn)& Mrs. Pepper: Hey Jim, Ryan again, and MrsPepper and I have a joint question...Who came up with the idea for the character of Dr. Phil van Neuter?

    To the best of my recollection, that was Brian Henson, who performed the character. I can’t be sure if the writers at “Muppets Tonight” pitched “this kind of character” or the character developed and we wrote for it, but Brian made it real.




    And now something Different…. Our good friend and long time question askie had asked about a Muppets tonight skit,. Sadly Jim did not remember much about the skit. So Minor Muppetz sent me the plot of the skit. So here is a walk down Memory lane.

    The sketch as hosted by Gonzo and Rizzo, where they do a series of things to make discoveries, and the answer to all is basically the same: it hurts!

    First, Gonzo shows what happens when you put your nose into an electric pencil sharpener (though he puts Rizzo's nose in there), then he shows what happens when you put electric eels in your pants (though Gonzo initially says that it feels pretty good), and I forget what the last discovery was (I think it involved a wrecking ball)

    That’s funny. If I didn’t write it. I will. Please destroy all evidence to the contrary.


    All of us at Muppet Central would like to say how greatful we are to have Jim as our friend. You hear what us fans have to say, and that means a lot to us all thanks so much Jim! .

    No, the pleasure is all mine. Honestly; this is the most fun I can have without getting paid.
  14. minor muppetz

    minor muppetz Well-Known Member

    I've read that you are one of the writers of Mupet Sing-Along: It's Not Easy Being Green, and I assume that you helped write "The Best of Mupets Tonight" episode of Mupets Tonight. So, when writing a compilation/ clip show, is it easy for you to write clips into the scripts, or do you just write the script, and let other people decide what clips will be included?
  15. dwayne1115

    dwayne1115 Well-Known Member

    I'm looking through all the questions, and I think except for Minor Muppetz one he just asked we are caught up! So If ya have a question post it. If you have a question that I hve over looked let me know. thanks guys.
  16. theprawncracker

    theprawncracker Well-Known Member

    Hey Dwayne, I think you didn't send two of my questions, so I'll just re-post them here. If you didn't send or Jim didn't answer them for a reason just let me know and I'll happily ask another question. ;)

    Can you tell us if you wrote the new bonus material on the upcoming "The Muppet Show: Season 3" DVD set?

    Can you also tell us why there haven't been any updates on the Muppets Disney XD site recently? I assume they're just finalizing them all currently, just wondering. Thanks Jim!
  17. dwayne1115

    dwayne1115 Well-Known Member

    Hey Ryan, I now remeber your questions! the first one is fine, but on the one about why there have no updates on the new site I don't think would be a real good one. The reason being is that Jim is just a writer, and I don't think he would really know much about that. hope that helps.
  18. theprawncracker

    theprawncracker Well-Known Member

    Okay that's fine, just nix the second one then and go ahead and send the first one. :)
  19. dwayne1115

    dwayne1115 Well-Known Member

    Well do
  20. theprawncracker

    theprawncracker Well-Known Member

    Hey Dwayne, I have another nonsense question for Jim if you want to send it this time or next do whatever you please.

    Hola Jim! Ryan "theprawncracker" here talking to jou in a Pepe voice, hokay. I was just wondering what jou t'ought of de high gas prices, hokay. It seems like someone like jou would have some sort of somet'ing to say about d'em. If not... what do jou look for in a woman and where should I send de ones looking at me?


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