It’s a union that’s lasted more than 30 years. They’ve been through rough times — the sheep-dancing incidents, the pigeon-poo problems — but longtime Sesame Street companions Bert and Ernie have weathered every storm. On June 11, they released a new video, Bert & Ernie’s Word Play—and what better excuse to corner them for some probing questions. — Scott Brown
ERNIE: We’re wearing our special outfits here. We’ve got hatbands that match our shirts. I only have one shirt. We don’t get paid very well.
BERT: I got a cane.
E: I didn’t get a cane.
B: That’s where the budget stopped.
E: What’s the show about, Bert?
B: We’re doing a show about words.
E: Some words have other words in them. And you can take letters away and make another word.
B: I wanted to do a show about the electoral college.
— You’ve been in that apartment for a long time—I’m assuming it’s rent-stabilized.
E: It is! It’s stayed the same for 33 years.
B: Yeah, well, my mom lives upstairs so…
E: The only problem is, we can’t paint…. It looks the same as it did 30 years ago.
— So how have you maintained such a great roommate relationship over the years?
E: I do what I have to do, and Bert’s okay with that.
B: You don’t close the refrigerator door. You don’t put the cap back on the toothpaste.
E: It’s probably best that we don’t get into that.
— Personal question, Bert: Are you ever tempted to…you know…wax?
B: Wax what?
E: Poetic, Bert.
B: Oh yeah, sure, I can wax poetic.
E: We’re very accepting around Sesame Street. Everybody gets to be who they are. Eyebrows are —
E: Never mind, Bert. I’ll fill you in later.
E: [Pause] What did Rosie say?
B: Well, he doesn’t get on my nerves as much as Ernie. I’d be fine rooming with Elmo. I think we’d get along terrifically.
E: Maybe we should just have a sleepover.