Will the real Swedish Chef please stand up?
Jerry Juhl squelches rumored inspiration of the Swedish Chef
Jerry Juhl, Muppet head writer since the early 1960's, wanted to squelch a rumor that has been spreading on the net and across the wire services for several weeks about the Swedish Chef's origins.
In an article released via Reuters, Lars Kuprik falsely claimed he was the inspiration for the Swedish Chef.
Jerry Juhl helps to set the record straight that Kuprik isn't the inspiration for the Chef no matter what the claims may be. "I wrote, rehearsed, rewrote, brainstormed, and giggled uncontrollably a thousand times with Jim Henson as we dealt with the Swedish Chef, and I never ONCE heard him mention an actual Swedish chef, especially one that claims to be Charleton Heston's golf buddy! I mean, that's a story Jim would have told!"
"I can't remember where the genesis of Swedish Chef was," comments Juhl. "I think it was an idea with Jon Stone around the "Sex and Violence" show, which I didn't work on. But I do remember that Jim spent a couple of weeks listening to Berlitz tapes while commuting to get his babble perfected. Then, much later, I actually WROTE the babble! Heck, I come from good Danish stock, which Jim and I decided made me an expert in Scandenavian linguistics."
One of the greatest charms about Jim Henson's characters are that we can all relate to some aspect of them. That's what makes them seem so real. However, as Jerry Juhl alluded, the Swedish Chef's inspiration was a culmination of Jim Henson and his creative team, not the result of Lars Kuprik.
The Swedish Chef had this to say about Mr. Kuprik, "Thet doode-a is un impuster throo und throo. BÝrk bÝrk bÝrk."
Special thanks to Jerry Juhl and Karen Falk for their contributions to the above article.