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Muppetry Of The Keenest

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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 —

B: Eyebrows?

E: Never mind, Bert. I’ll fill you in later.

E: Oh…

B: Wow.

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.