Interview: “Muppets” Icon Fozzie Bear
The funnybear gets serious about his vices, his women, and the origin of “Wocka Wocka!”
How does it feel to be named an icon?
I-con hardly believe it! Ahh! Wocka Wocka! See what I did there? “Icon…I can…” Hoo, boy, this is gonna be a tough interview.
Do you have a favorite joke?
I love all my jokes. (I just wish the audience felt the same way.) So it would be unfair to choose any single joke as my favorite. But if you wanna hear some jokes, here are a couple of humdingers: What do you get when you cross the Atlantic with the Titanic? Halfway! Why did the chicken cross the Internet? To get to the other site! Wait, I’ve got more!
As a comic you often deal with hecklers (especially Statler and Waldorf). How do you keep cool?
I love hecklers. If they’re close enough to hear the jokes, that means they paid to get in…and a customer is a customer.
Who was funnier on the set of your new movie, Muppets Most Wanted, you or Ricky Gervais?
I was funnier on the set, but Ricky is funnier in the movie. It’s hard to compare us, because we do such different styles of comedy. Ricky does jokes that make you fall on the floor laughing. I do jokes that just make you fall on the floor.
You also appear with the beautiful Salma Hayek in the movie. Would you rather date a bear or a human?
I am a very shy bear. Ms. Hayek was so beautiful, I couldn’t get up the courage to even speak to her, though I did let her wear my hat. As for dating: At this point comedy is my only love. Unfortunately, it’s unrequited.
Where did your catchphrase “Wocka Wocka!” come from?
“Wocka Wocka!” was a gift to me from my comedy mentor and joke writer, Gags Beasley. I think he got it from Ben Turpin. Ben used it all the time in silent movies, but you couldn’t hear it, so it had hardly any mileage when I got it.
Do you have a beef with the rapper Waka Flocka Flame for using it?
No, apparently Gags Beasley gave it to him, too. Gags is generous, especially when it comes to giving away free stuff.
Lots of people pretend to be you on Twitter. Why aren’t you on it yet?
I’m a bear. It’s kind of tough to type with furry thumbs.
Who was the most difficult celebrity you’ve ever worked with?
R2-D2. Apparently he’s a great guy, but I couldn’t understand a word he said, and his routine got more laughs than mine.
Tell us something no one else knows about your best friend, Kermit.
He has relatives from Eastern Europe, which I believe would make him a tad Polish. Wocka Wocka! Get it? Tadpole…tad-Polish! Amphibian humor.
What is your signature drink?
Anything with honey. It’s a bear thing.
We hear you hide a bald spot with your hat. Will you ever lose the hat and truly embrace your baldness?
Is that true? I’ve never actually looked at the top of my head before. It’s like trying to kiss your own elbow—very difficult. But if that’s true, I have a cousin, Morrie, who sells this fantastic spray-on fur called Bear-ly There. It not only covers bald spots; it’s also delicious on crackers.
What’s the one thing to remember in a fistfight?
Duck. I forgot this once and started to “quack” and ended up “down” for the count. Duck…quack…down? These are the jokes, people. Please laugh.
Where is the strangest place you’ve ever woken up?
In a cave in the middle of summer. I went there to hibernate and forgot to have a wake-up call.
What is your worst vice?
I can’t stop telling jokes and trying to make people laugh. I don’t see this as a problem, but a lot of audiences do.
What’s the most important thing you’ve learned about women?
They’re soft, and they smell nice. Oh, and they always say that the most important thing about a guy is his sense of humor, but then they end up dating a guy named Kraken with muscles the size of a ’47 Buick Roadmaster…and a peculiar dislike for bears wearing hats and polka-dot ties.
Photos by Greg Williams / Disney