In the end, the only explanation might be that it’s simply not that easy being green. Yesterday, Muppets fan site ToughPigs reported that Steve Whitmire, voice of Kermit the Frog for the past 27 years, would no longer be with the show, and that’s since been corroborated by sites like Deadline. The only thing no one seems to know is why!
Members of the ToughPigs community had already noticed something was amiss this year, with Whitmire’s puppets not being featured in weekly videos and a different puppeteer performing Statler of the cranky Statler and Waldorf duo. Their ears and eyes weren’t deceiving them — it’s now been confirmed that Steve Whitmire will no longer be with the show at all.
Whitmire has been with the Muppets since 1978, and took over as Kermit the Frog in 1990 following the passing of Jim Henson. He was responsible for voicing plenty of other puppets like Statler, Beaker, and Rizzo the Rat, so there’s quite a big void to fill in the world of the Muppets.
None of the reports about this story have any information about why Whitmire is out, but then again, he’s been with them since 1978. That’s nearly 40 years of puppeteering at the highest level — seems reasonable to think that maybe the guy just wants to hang them up after a job well done.
On the Muppets side, they aren’t wasting any time recasting the star of the show. Puppeteer Matt Vogel has taken over as Kermit, and he’ll make his debut in the new “Muppets Thought of the Week” video next week. We’ll have to see if we can hear the difference!
Of course, a lot of people are probably going to be listening intently to Kermit next week, so the pressure is going to be on the new guy. It’s going to be tough, but it couldn’t be any other way for Kermit.