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BERT AND ERNIE are two Muppets who appear together in numerous skits on the popular U.S. children's television show _ Sesame Street _. Originated by Frank Oz and Jim Henson , the characters are currently performed by Muppeteers Eric Jacobson and Peter Linz ; Oz occasionally performed Bert between 2000 and 2006.

CONTENTS

* 1 History * 2 Ernie * 3 Bert * 4 In popular culture * 5 Internationally * 6 See also * 7 References * 8 External links

HISTORY

Bert and Ernie
Bert and Ernie
were built by Don Sahlin from a simple design scribbled by Jim Henson , creator of _ The Muppets
The Muppets
_. Initially, Henson performed Bert and Oz performed Ernie, but after just one day of rehearsal, they switched characters. The original idea was to show that even though two people can have totally different characteristics, they can still be good friends. According to writer Jon Stone , the relationship between Bert and Ernie
Bert and Ernie
reflected the real-life friendship between Henson and Oz.

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A typical Bert and Ernie
Bert and Ernie
skit has Ernie coming up with a hare brained idea, and Bert trying to talk him out of it, ending with Bert losing his temper and Ernie remaining unaware of the results of his own bad idea. For example, in one sketch, Ernie tells Bert he started to collect ice cubes the day before, and put them under the electric blanket overnight. When he shows the ice cubes to Bert, he finds out that they have melted into water. Bert knows what happened, and tries to tell Ernie that his ice cubes melted because of the electric blanket, but Ernie takes this to mean that a fish from the ocean came into the apartment and melted his ice cubes, and vows to find the (non existent) fish that melted them.

The age of the characters is unclear. _ Sesame Street Live _ performer Taylor Morgan said in an interview that "I just kind of try to think like a 6–year–old or a 7–year–old, because that's how old Bert is."

ERNIE

Main article: Ernie (Sesame Street)

Ernie was originally performed by Jim Henson . From 1990 to 2014, Muppeteer Steve Whitmire took on the role of Ernie (following the death of Henson in 1990). In 2014, Billy Barkhurst took on the role of Ernie; currently, the character is performed by Peter Linz .

Ernie is a "live hand puppet", meaning that while operating the head of the puppet with his right hand, the puppeteer inserts his left hand into a T shaped sleeve, capped off with a glove that matches the fabric "skin" of the puppet, thus "becoming" the left arm of the puppet. A second puppeteer usually provides the right arm.

Ernie's performance of " Rubber Duckie ," wherein he sings affectionately about his squeaking toy duck and the joy it brings him during bath time, became a modest mainstream hit, reaching No. 16 on the _Billboard_ Hot 100 in September 1970.

BERT

Main article: Bert (Sesame Street)

Bert was initially performed by Frank Oz . Since 2001, Muppeteer Eric Jacobson has been phased in as Bert's primary performer after Oz retired from most of his Muppet duties to focus on directing (Oz, however, did continue to perform the character occasionally). Bert is an "hand rod puppet", which means that while the puppeteer's right arm is inserted into Bert's head to control the mouth, the puppeteer's left hand uses rods to control the arms of the puppet.

IN POPULAR CULTURE

_ This section POSSIBLY CONTAINS ORIGINAL RESEARCH . Please improve it by verifying the claims made and adding inline citations . Statements consisting only of original research should be removed. (June 2013)_ _(Learn how and when to remove this template message )_

Bert and Ernie
Bert and Ernie
are among a handful of _Sesame Street_-specific Muppets to also appear on _ The Muppet Show _, making occasional cameo appearances, such as at the end of _ The Muppets
The Muppets
Valentine Show _, the 1974 pilot episode for the series. While several other Muppets featured on _Sesame Street_ such as Kermit the Frog would crossover into the other program, Bert and Ernie
Bert and Ernie
were primarily confined to the occasional cameo.

Bert and Ernie
Bert and Ernie
live together in an apartment in the basement of 123 Sesame Street. Despite sleeping in separate beds, they share the same bedroom, which has led to some speculation that they are a representation of gay lovers . This is denied by Sesame Workshop , and some of Bert's interactions with female characters appear to show that he is attracted to women: serenading Connie Stevens
Connie Stevens
in the _Some Enchanted Evening_ segment of a first-season episode of _The Muppet Show _, and recording a song about his girlfriend, _I Want to Hold Your Ear_, which was released on several albums.

But the idea of Bert and Ernie
Bert and Ernie
as a couple is sufficiently widespread that it has been used as the basis of jokes on the shows _Saturday Night Live _, _ American Dad! _, _ Modern Family _, _ The Simpsons _, _ Friends
Friends
_, _The Middle _, _ Family Guy _, and _Supernatural _. Sportscaster Jim Rome
Jim Rome
has received emails and phone calls from listeners to his radio program on the subject, and has expressed disgust with them. More re