Matt Vogel, who replaced longtime Kermit the Frog puppeteer Steve Whitmire, made his debut as the beloved Muppet this week.
He showed off his Kermit voice for the first time in a “Muppet Thought of the Week” YouTube video posted on Monday, August 28. A rep for Disney confirmed to Entertainment Weekly that this was Vogel’s first appearance as Kermit.
“Dreams are how we figure out where we want to go. Life is how we get there,” Kermit says in the clip. “I’m headed this way.”
Although the video was brief, fans had a lot of feelings about Kermit’s new voice. “Matt’s Kermit voice is spot on!” one YouTube commenter wrote. Another added, “Sorry, not a fan. He sounds like an impersonator.”
Many commenters pointed out that Vogel sounds more like Muppets creator and original Kermit voice actor Jim Henson. “It doesn’t feel right to me yet. But Steve wasn’t perfect at first either. I think Matt sounds more like Jim than Steve did, and I think that can only be a good thing,” another critic wrote.
As previously reported, Whitmire was fired after 17 years in the role. He claimed in an emotional blog post that he was blindsided when two executives called him to break the news. The Muppets Studio said in a statement that they let Whitmire go due to “unacceptable business conduct over a period of many years.” Henson’s family claimed to The Hollywood Reporter that Whitmire’s communication with colleagues was “appalling” and that he made “outrageous demands and often played brinkmanship.” Whitmire refuted the claims, saying that he offered detailed notes on how to improve the character because he had Kermit’s best interests in mind.
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