Matt Vogel (b. October 6, 1970) is an accomplished puppeteer who joined the Sesame Street troupe in 1996. He later joined The Muppets family of characters, inheriting several roles while working with Jerry Nelson, and was cast as Kermit the Frog in 2017.
Vogel first auditioned for The Jim Henson Company in his final year of college (c. 1993), but didn't begin performing with the company until a year later when he became John Henson's understudy for the Coca-Cola Polar Bear.
On Sesame Street, Vogel started out as most Muppeteers do, right-handing for other characters; in his case, for David Rudman on Baby Bear. He eventually became Caroll Spinney's understudy for Big Bird, performing in the role whenever Spinney was unavailable. Beginning in 2002, he exclusively performed Big Bird for "Journey to Ernie", a regular Sesame Street segment. He also played Big Bird's infant self Baby Big Bird in the Sesame Beginnings DVD series.
Vogel performed Big Bird at various times for over two decades while Caroll Spinney was also continuing the character, making him one of the few Muppeteers to play a character in conjunction with another performer. With Spinney's retirement in 2018, he officially became Big Bird's primary performer. Vogel has also played minor recurring characters on Sesame Street, such as Herb the dinosaur, and Hansel (of Hansel and Gretel), as well as various one-shot Anything Muppets. Additionally, he has been a director on the show since Season 39 and has served as Muppet Captain since Season 44.
Vogel has also assumed some of Jerry Nelson's roles, by the recommendation of Nelson himself. Since 2008, he has been the performer of most of Nelson's main Muppet Show characters, including Floyd Pepper, Lew Zealand, and perhaps most prominently, Uncle Deadly. For a period on Sesame Street, Vogel puppeteered Count von Count and other characters while Nelson continued to voice them. After Nelson's death in 2012, Vogel fully inherited the Count, now providing both the voice and puppetry. Vogel also performs Mr. Johnson, another character Nelson originated.
His early Muppet credits include assisting or supporting roles on Big Bag, Bear in the Big Blue House, and Sesame English. Work outside the Henson fold include the video series MATHmatazz, Jack's Big Music Show, The Puzzle Place, the HBO drama Oz (as Pecky in the TV clips of Miss Sally's Schoolyard), Oobi, Blue's Room, and Between the Lions, as well as puppeteering Fred in the video project Scooby-Doo! Adventures: The Mystery Map. On the big screen, Vogel has appeared in The Adventures of Elmo in Grouchland, The Muppets, Muppets Most Wanted (where he took on the major role of Constantine), the Creature Shop film The Producers (as various pigeons), one of the "Muppet" characters in Old Dogs, and the voice of Wilkins in Alice Through the Looking Glass for director James Bobin.
In theater, Vogel has acted in regional productions of various plays, including The Foreigner and Six Degrees of Sparation, and was involved in the 2003-2004 Broadway run of Little Shop of Horrors, manipulating Audrey II and playing various bums and Skid Row residents (alongside Martin P. Robinson and Anthony Asbury).
In addition to puppeteering, Vogel's interest in music is evident as front man for the The Mighty Weaklings. The band released a CD of songs "for kids--and grown-ups" called You Can't Rock Sittin' Down in June of 2008 after appearing in the video for their song "Rocket Ship" on Jack's Big Music Show. With Joey Mazzarino, Vogel co-owns Pratfall Productions, which produced the film-noir puppet short film Murder, He Squeaked as well as various videos and inserts for Sesame Street, and Nick Jr.'s Curious Buddies.
On July 10, 2017, it was announced that Vogel had been cast as the new performer of Kermit the Frog, following Steve Whitmire's departure from The Muppets. Vogel's first public performance as Kermit was a Muppet Thought of the Week video; originally planned to debut on YouTube during the week of July 17, 2017, but was delayed until August 28, 2017.
- Muppets Characters: Floyd Pepper, Lew Zealand, Crazy Harry (2008 - present), Robin the Frog (2008 - 2017), Camilla the Chicken (2008 - present); Sweetums, Dr. Julius Strangepork (2009 - present); Pops, Uncle Deadly (2011 - present); '80s Robot, Constantine, Kermit the Frog (2017 - present)
- Sesame Street: Big Bird (1997 - present), Count von Count (assistant and puppeteer only, through 2012; 2013-present), Mr. Johnson (2014-present), Herb, Hansel, Tiger, Anderson Cucumber, Harvey Kneeslapper (4209), Yellow Ball (3714), Professor Gary Gill, Pino, Letter of the Day Announcer, Duck Clark, Professor Crumblemore, Maurice Pig (4095), Gardener, Gassy (Dwarf #3), David Letterguy, Rapunzel's Prince (4128), Cookie Monster's Mommy (Letter of the Day: B, "Try a Little Kindness"), The Big Bad Wolf (4318, 4402), Howie Eatswell, Ant (4147), Len Goodman Muppet, An ape dressed as an angel singing about acorns, Burt, Duck (Elmo's Ducks), Megan (Are You Smarter Than an Egg Layer?), Wyoming Walt, Football (4705), guinea pig (Pre-School Musical), Gandalf Muppet (Cookie's Crumby Pictures), Mr. Yak, The Super Foods banana, Murray impostor, Hubert the Human Cannonball, Justin Bieber Muppet (puppetry only), ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ Company Delivery Man, Baby Bear (assistant), Ernie (assistant, 2000-2003)
- Elmo's World: CGI Furniture (including Shade), Groucho Marx Muppet, various
- Elmo the Musical: Darth Chicken, Zowie-Zown the Upside-Down Clown, Wrestler, The Dragon, The Cube, Mr. Pogosticker
- "Don't Forget to Watch the Movie"
- Big Bag
- Big Bird Gets Lost
- Telling the Truth: Additional Puppeteer
- Elmo Saves Christmas
- Bear in the Big Blue House: Ursa (puppetry only)
- Sesame Street Goes to the Doctor: Hoarse Horse
- A Magical Halloween Adventure
- A Brief History of Motion Pictures
- The Adventures of Elmo in Grouchland: Big Bird (puppetry only)
- The Adventures of Elmo in Grouchland: Sing and Play
- Elmo's Musical Adventure: Peter and the Wolf
- Play with Me Sesame: Ernie (assistant), Fred the Wonder Horse
- Muppet RaceMania: Scooter, Janice (voices)
- Elmo's Magic Cookbook: Glass of Water
- Zoe's Dance Moves
- Music Works Wonders
- Bert & Ernie's Word Play
- Sesame Street 4-D Movie Magic: Big Bird (puppetry and singing voice only)
- A Celebration of Me, Grover
- The Street We Live On
- What's the Name of That Song?
- Elmo's Potty Time
- Sesame Beginnings: Baby Big Bird
- A Sesame Street Christmas Carol
- The Producers: Pigeons
- Kids' Favorite Country Songs: Elmer
- Elmo's Christmas Countdown: Stiller the Elf (puppetry only)
- Studio DC: Almost Live!
- Muppet viral videos: Crazy Harry, Camilla the Chicken, Lew Zealand, Floyd Pepper, Dr. Julius Strangepork
- Abby in Wonderland
- Love the Earth!
- Let's Make Music
- A Muppets Christmas: Letters to Santa: Floyd Pepper, Pigeons (son), Crazy Harry, Camilla the Chicken, Lew Zealand, Robin the Frog
- Here for You: Chester's Dad
- Coming Home
- Families Stand Together
- Growing Hope Against Hunger
- Being Green
- The Muppets: Floyd Pepper, Camilla the Chicken, Sweetums, '80s Robot, Lew Zealand, Uncle Deadly, Crazy Harry, Rowlf Moopet, Janice Moopet, Singing Food in "Me Party", James Bobin Muppet (home video)
- Monstruos Supersanos: Dr. Ruster
- Kinect Sesame Street TV: Forgetful Jones
- Spaghetti Space Chase: Anderson Cucumber, Tiger, Martian
- Little Children, Big Challenges: Incarceration: Alex
- Muppets Most Wanted: Constantine, Floyd Pepper, Sweetums, Pops, Robin the Frog, Lew Zealand, Crazy Harry, '80s Robot, Camilla the Chicken, Uncle Deadly, Baby
- The Cookie Thief: Little Cookie, Penguin Guard
- The Muppets 2015 Presentation Pilot: Floyd Pepper, Robin the Frog, Uncle Deadly
- The Muppets: Floyd Pepper, Sweetums, Uncle Deadly, Robin the Frog, Lew Zealand, Crazy Harry, Camilla the Chicken, Snowth
- The Furchester Hotel: Big Bird, Count Von Count
- Once Upon a Sesame Street Christmas: Big Bird (puppetry only), Count Von Count, Mr. Johnson
- Muppet Thought of the Week: Kermit the Frog, Floyd Pepper, Lew Zealand, Uncle Deadly, Robin the Frog
- The Muppets Take the Bowl: Kermit the Frog, Uncle Deadly, Floyd Pepper, Lew Zealand, Crazy Harry, Camilla the Chicken, Dr. Julius Strangepork, Snowth, Sweetums, Tourist
- The Magical Wand Chase: Big Bird
- The Muppets Take the O2: Kermit the Frog, Uncle Deadly, Floyd Pepper, Lew Zealand, Crazy Harry, Camilla the Chicken, Dr. Julius Strangepork, Snowth, Sweetums
- When You Wish Upon a Pickle: Wish Pickle, Mr. Johnson, Big Bird, Count Von Count
- Sesame Street's 50th Anniversary Celebration: Big Bird, Count Von Count, Forgetful Jones, Kermit the Frog, Sherlock Hemlock
- Sesame Street
- Episodes: 4176 (partial), 4198, 4224, 4522, 4603, 4615, 4905
- Segments: Forward Backward Dance, Five By, Murray Has a Little Lamb: Ice Skating School, Elmo the Musical: Athlete the Musical, Cookie's Crumby Pictures: The Aveggies, Super Grover 2.0: Cross That Bridge, Try a Little Kindness, I Remember
- Making Friends
- Once Upon a Sesame Street Christmas
- Chrysler: "Trash Talk" and "Smart Cookie" advertisements
- Billy on the Sesame Street
- Respect Brings Us Together: "Give it, live it, RESPECT" music video
- Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade: 2019 Sesame Street musical number
- When Matt Vogel was introduced to Spinney at his first audition for the part of Big Bird, the latter remarked, "Vogel is German for Bird. That's a good sign." The word "vogel" is Dutch for bird as well.
- The protective slippers Vogel wears over Big Bird's feet when he's not on set are labeled, respectively, "Vogel" and "Füsse," meaning "bird" and "feet," or read together "bird's feet."
- Vogel is left-handed, but puppeteers with his right hand.
- ↑ Matt Vogel on Facebook September 10, 2015
- ↑ Tough Pigs "Interview: Sesame Street's Matt Vogel" by Ryan Roe, August 8, 2008
- ↑ Matt Vogel on Twitter Sept 20, 2018
- ↑ Matt Vogel's puppeteer bio — Season 44 press kit
- ↑ Tough Pigs "A Chat with Jerry Nelson" by Joe Hennes, December 8, 2009
- ↑ ToughPigs "Steve Whitmire No Longer with the Muppets" by Joe Hennes, July 10, 2017
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 Matt Vogel's official site — Director credits
- ↑ Ryan Dillon on Instagram
- ↑ Jake Bazel's resume
- ↑ @welcomemattv on Twitter July 29, 2016