Today, while doing research online, I found a quiz that was put together a week ago by Slate Magazine asking the reader to identify (by voice) the puppeteer performing Kermit in various audio clips.
Sarcastically, I thought, “Oh, that’s nice. Turn Steve’s professional tragedy into a party game.”
But I took the quiz anyway, hoping to prove the point that, as wonderful as Matt is, he doesn’t sound anywhere near as much like Jim as some people would like to believe he does.
And I was right. I got 11/11 on the quiz every single time. (The average was 8/11, and I would really like to see the raw data on that to test my hypothesis about who got mistaken for whom more often.)
It wasn’t even difficult because, as a Muppet fan, I often identified the clip from context. For example, I’m familiar enough with “Alphabet of the Swamp” that I can recognize it from its musical intro before Kermit even starts singing.
Also, in listening to all three of them in randomized short succession, I noticed that Matt’s Kermit voice is significantly lower than either Jim’s or Steve’s, at least half an octave, maybe more.
I’ve been resisting watching any clips from the Hollywood Bowl, but particularly “Rainbow Connection.” That song is sacred to me. It’s a song that I loved before I even knew where it came from. It was one of the songs I chose for my family to sing to honor my parents’ 50th wedding anniversary. To me, it represents home and family and safety and love and everything that’s right in the world. I didn’t want it tainted by the stain of corporate commercialism.
But it came up in the quiz, so I had to listen to it a little bit. And I will say that Matt has a very beautiful singing voice, but it’s not Kermit’s voice, no matter who or how many people try to convince me–or, more to the point, themselves–to the contrary.