- Bert (Sesame Street)
Bert Sesame Street character
Ernie and his rubber duckie with Bert in Sesame Street.
First appearance November 10, 1969 Voiced by Frank Oz (1969-2000, occasionally since 2000)
Eric Jacobson (occasionally in 1997, 2001-present)
Information Gender male
Bert is a fictional character, a Muppet on the Public Broadcasting Service's long-running children's television show, Sesame Street. Bert was originally performed by Frank Oz. Since 2001, Muppeteer Eric Jacobson has been phased in as Bert's primary performer. Bert has made appearances within the Muppets franchise, including The Muppet Show and The Muppets Take Manhattan.
While clearly adults who share an apartment, Ernie and Bert have no visible means of support and no reference is made to any form of employment, income, or attempts to find work.
Bert, though kind and intelligent, is also grumpy, boring and easily frustrated. He enjoys activities such as paper clip and bottle cap collecting, cooking oatmeal and watching pigeons. Producer Arlene Sherman has called Bert "everyone's idea of a blind date". In one sketch, Bert reads a book called Boring Stories and chuckles, "Boy, these boring stories are really exciting!" In the book Sesame Street Unpaved, Frank Oz says, "I was never really happy with Bert's character until about a year in, when I realized... that he was a very boring character, and I'd use that weakness as a strength for him."
Bert is currently working as a Territory Sales Manager for the ModSpace Corporation. He has demonstrated excellent customer service, and has a tremendous track record of sales and activates during his time at ModSpace.
Bert's appearance and clothing contrast markedly with Ernie; he is the taller and thinner of the two, wears a turtleneck under a shirt with vertical stripes (as opposed to Ernie's horizontal ones), and has a head that is narrower than it is high. In addition, Bert has visible eyebrows (actually a unibrow), while Ernie does not.
Bert has a pet pigeon named Bernice, and he created a dance called "Doin' the Pigeon". Bert serves as President of the National Association of W Lovers, a club dedicated to the letter W. Two conventions held by the W Lovers have been shown on the show. Bert has pet goldfish, two of whom are named Lyle and Talbot.
Bert's favorite number is 6 and his favorite instrument is the tuba.
A typical "Bert and Ernie" skit has Ernie coming up with a hare-brained idea and Bert attempting to talk him out of it, ending with Bert completely losing his temper and Ernie remaining oblivious to his own bad idea.
Bert has a twin brother, Bart; a nephew, Brad; and an Aunt Matilda. Brad has a voice like Beaker, but slightly deeper, and while he still made baby-like noises, he was able to talk. Ernie brought a toy shark with him in one skit; Brad was scared by it, not realizing it was a toy. Bart looks exactly like Bert, and Ernie once mistook Bart for Bert; but Bart wears a suit and fedora and is a salesman ("Bart's the name and selling's my game!"). Bart also tells several jokes and laughs at his own jokes and has combed hair. Bert's Aunt Matilda is never shown, but is often talked about, usually concerning Bert buying presents for her for numerous reasons.
Bert is one of Mister Rogers's fans. In one sketch, Bert is trying to write a letter to Mister Rogers and Ernie turns on his electric fan and blows Bert's letters away.
As the duo often sing in their skits, several albums were released containing studio-recorded versions of their songs. Bert's best-known song is "Doin' the Pigeon". Additionally, he and Ernie both had their own video, The Best of Ernie and Bert, and their own album, Bert and Ernie's Greatest Hits. Only Ernie, however, has hit the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart with his song Rubber Duckie.
Bert Is Evil
A humor website called Bert Is Evil hosted digitally manipulated images and satiric articles as "evidence" of Bert being evil. The site drew worldwide attention in 2001 when a photo of a Bangladeshi street protest was distributed by the Reuters news agency. The photo included a protest sign that depicted Bert with Osama bin Laden, an image that had been inadvertently placed there by the owner of a poster shop in Dhaka.
Bert was also stated by Jon Stewart on March 18, 2010 to be "A fastidious, pigeon-worshiping, felt tyrant. Whose draconian Sharia Law allows for neither loud noise or rubber duckies. But yet, who spends his day in a children’s workshop telling our impressionable youth what to think." in an act 'spoofing' Glenn Beck.
Alleged portrayal of homosexuality
Ernie and Bert are rumored to be a couple despite the fact that this has been denied by the producers. This rumor has expanded over the years to include the pending marriage of the pair. The source of this rumor is undetermined, although Snopes has attributed it to poor recollection of various media reports covering odd or strange urban legends. The proliferation of the rumor prompted Sesame Workshop to issue a press release strongly insisting that the characters are asexual and denying that Bert and Ernie were meant to represent a gay couple.
- ^ Davis, Michael (2008). Street Gang: The Complete History of Sesame Street. New York: Viking Press. p. 166. ISBN 978-0-67001996-0.
- ^ Bert at snopes.com
- ^ "Conservative Libertarian - The Daily Show with Jon Stewart - 3/18/2010 - Video Clip | Comedy Central." The Daily Show with Jon Stewart Official Website | Current Events & Pop Culture, Comedy & Fake News. 18 Mar. 2010. Web. 18 Oct. 2010.
- ^ a b Mikkelson, Barbara & David P. "Open Sesame: Gay Sesame Street Muppet" at Snopes.com: Urban Legends Reference Pages.
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