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TV Guide Interviews Billy Crystal About Working With Muppets

When Billy Crystal shows up on TV these days, he's usually chatting with Dave or Jay. But what father could resist appearing with the Muppets-even if his daughters are 18 and 23?

So what was it like being a straight man for a bunch of puppets?
It was fantastic. I mean, I've had the luck to work with some great actors. But these performers can improve with the best of them. They were terrific. Though I will be allergic to felt for the rest of my life.

How aware were you that your costars were...puppets?
Not at all-it was like meeting celebrities. My kids grew up watching the Muppets. I love watching the Muppets, loved the movies. In fact one of my daughters had a birthday recently, and she was really excited that Gonzo the Great called her to wish her a happy birthday.

We heard you played jazz clarinet on the show.
Yeah, well, listen, I'm no Woody Allen with this. I hadn't touched a clarinet, hadn't picked one up in 30 years. But there was this character, Fozzie, who plays the sax, and he wanted me...well, they wanted me to try it, so we did this old Bing Crosby tune. It's OK. But wait 'til you see the sketch "When Billy Met Piggy."

But our of all the TV you get asked to do, why this?
Because it's great. No one's getting hurt. No one's getting offended. And it's really, really funny. It's what TV needs.

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