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The Swedish Chef: Misc

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Muppet

Up to date as of February 02, 2010
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From Muppet Wiki

Performer:
The Swedish Chef.
Design Team:
Michael K. Frith • (designer)
Jim Henson • (builder)
Chef in 2009
The Swedish Chef fends off lobster banditos.
Swedish Chef at the Smithsonian

The Swedish Chef is the incomprehensible preparer of foodstuffs from The Muppet Show. A rather literal variation of the Live-Hand Muppet concept, the Swedish Chef is a humanoid character, with human hands rather than gloves. On The Muppet Show, Frank Oz performed the character's hands. The chef first appeared in The Muppet Show: Sex and Violence in 1975, with Chinese subtitles for his dialogue, and Richard Hunt performing the hands. Only in poser puppets used specifically for photo shoots does the Swedish Chef have standard Muppet hands.

According to Brian Henson in one of his introductions for The Muppet Show, "Jim Henson had this tape that he used to play which was "How to Speak Mock Swedish". And he used to drive to work and I used to ride with him a lot. And he would drive to work trying to make a chicken sandwich in Mock Swedish or make a turkey casserole in Mock Swedish. It was the most ridiculous thing you had ever seen. And people at traffic lights used to stop and sort of look at him a little crazy. But that was the roots of the character that would eventually become the Swedish Chef."

Nearly all Swedish Chef sketches begin with him in a kitchen, waving some utensils while singing his signature song [1] in a trademark mock Swedish, a semi-comprehensible gibberish which parodies the characteristic vowel sounds of Swedish. The last line of the song is always "Børk! Børk! Børk!" and is punctuated by the Chef throwing the utensils over his shoulder to crash into the crockery behind him. (Although the letter "ø" does not exist in Swedish — it is a Danish/Norwegian letter whose Swedish equivalent is "ö" - the Chef's trademark word is nearly universally spelled as "Børk.")

After this introduction, the Chef continues to speak gibberish while preparing a particular recipe. His commentary is spiced with the occasional English word to clue the viewer in to what he is attempting. These clues are necessary as he frequently uses unorthodox culinary equipment (firearms, tennis rackets, etc.) to prepare his dishes. The sketch typically degenerates into a slapstick finale, and he often winds up in pitched battle with his ingredients, from Lobster Banditos to a Japanese Cake. The Swedish Chef has also appeared, at least briefly, in every Muppet film to date. He was put in charge of running the film projector in The Muppet Movie and Muppet*Vision 3D. In A Muppet Family Christmas, he attempts to cook the Christmas turkey, then sets his sights on Big Bird instead.

The Swedish Chef's popularity led to his own cereal, Cröonchy Stars, in 1988. Commercials for the product featured the Chef, up to his usual antics. In the 1990s, the Swedish Chef appeared regularly on Donna's Day starting in the second season.

In Episode 316, Danny Kaye, portraying the chef's uncle in a sketch, claims that the Swedish Chef's first name was Tom. However, since Kaye was not a blood relative in reality, this information may be considered apocryphal.

Contents

Casting History

Trivia

  • The Chef's gibberish gained a life of its own with the creation of a Unix filter capable of converting standard English to Chefspeak in 1992. The filter quickly became a staple of hacker culture and eventually spread to the mainstream with Swedish Chef translators on several Web sites such as Google. In 2003, Opera Software published a special Bork version of its internet browser that turned the MSN Web site into mock Swedish. Mozilla Firefox also contains a popular add-on called Bork Bork Bork! that allows the selective translation of text from Web pages of the user's choice. It is also a display language there.
  • There was a Swedish Chef sketch that was taped but not broadcast, in which the Chef prepared ratatouille.[2]
  • In The Muppet Show: Sex and Violence, the name of his program is "Järnvägskorsning" (Railway Crossings).
  • While The Swedish Chef normally has live human hands, he also occasionally has Muppet hands. Examples include:
The Muppet Show episode 218: following The Swedish Chef's sketch.
Muppets Tonight episode 101: During the meeting at the beginning of the show.

Sketches

The Muppet Show Season 1

Picture Title Episode Description
Meatballs Episode 102: Connie Stevens The Swedish Chef prepares meatballs, which bounce when dropped. He then grabs a tennis racket and swats the meatball into the audience. Statler volleys it back with a racket of his own. "Fifteen, love!" says Waldorf.
Note: This sketch can also be seen on The Muppet Revue.
Flapjacks Episode 105: Rita Moreno The Chef prepares pancakes, which wind up stuck on the ceiling. He then grabs a gun and shoots them down.
Spaghetti Episode 111: Lena Horne The spaghetti comes to life and attacks The Swedish Chef.
Note: This sketch can also be seen on Muppet Treasures and in The Muppet Show Book.
Doughnuts Episode 114: Sandy Duncan The Swedish Chef uses a "boomashootn" (rifle) to shoot a hole through an English muffin to make a doughnut.
Note: This sketch can also be seen on Muppet Treasures and in The Muppet Show Book.
Spicy Sauce Episode 115: Candice Bergen The Swedish Chef's sauce is so spicy that his hat flies off, giving the audience a rare but brief glimpse of what the chef looks like without his hat.
Note: This sketch can also be seen on Muppet Moments.
Japanese Cake Episode 120: Valerie Harper The Chef adds cream and fruit to a chocolate cake, but as he goes to cut it, the cake loudly objects...in Japanese! The cake is instead dispatched by a "cakenschmooscher" (baseball bat).

The Muppet Show Season 2

Picture Title Episode Description
Fishie Chowder Episode 201: Don Knotts The Swedish Chef attempts to make fish chowder using a live fish.
Salad, Brussells Sprouts, and Coconut Episode 205: Judy Collins In a two-part sketch, The Swedish Chef shoots lettuce with a gun, first creating a salad and then Brussells sprouts. Later, he tries to shoot a coconut, but instead shoots a rubber chicken and gets hit by a coconut.
Lobsters Episode 209: Madeline Kahn The Swedish Chef tries to boil a lobster, but is attacked by a group of lobster banditos, who rescue their comrade from the pot.
Bomb Egg Episode 212: Bernadette Peters The Swedish Chef wants eggs for his dish, but his chicken lays a bomb.
Ping Pong Ball Eggs Episode 214: Elton John The Swedish Chef prepares "egg der chef," but his chicken only lays ping pong balls.
Frog Legs Episode 215: Lou Rawls Since Kermit rushes the Swedish Chef onstage (when he's not ready), the Chef takes Robin and tries to prepare frog legs.
Salad Episode 216: Cleo Laine The Swedish Chef makes a salad while Cleo Laine sings "You're Just in Love."
Cow Episode 217: Julie Andrews The Chef paints on a real live cow to demarcate the different cuts of beef.
Coconut Episode 218: Jaye P. Morgan The Chef hammers and saws a coconut, trying to crack it. When he finally gets it open, he discovers a bomb inside it.
Chocolate Moose Episode 220: Petula Clark Mickey Moose helps the Chef make "chocolate moose". Kermit interrupts this play on words.
Pressed Duck Episode 221: Bob Hope The Swedish Chef tries to use the iron to press Ronald Duck, who grabs it and then drops it on him and flies away.
Popcorn Episode 224: Cloris Leachman The Swedish Pig makes popcorn.

The Muppet Show Season 3

Picture Title Episode Description
Living Dough Episode 303: Roy Clark The Swedish Chef is attacked by living dough, which hits him with his own rolling pin.
Note: This is the last Swedish Chef sketch to take place in the original kitchen set.
Patient Swedish Chef Episode 309: Liberace What starts as a Swedish Chef sketch finishes with Veterinarian's Hospital, as the hospital staff discover the chef has a rare case of in-grown coffee pot.
Chicken in the Basket Episode 311: Raquel Welch The Swedish Chef throws a chicken through a basketball hoop.
Note: This sketch can also be seen on Playhouse Video: The Muppet Revue and It's The Muppets: More Muppets, Please!
Banana Split Episode 312: James Coco While preparing a banana split, the Swedish Chef is continuously interrupted by Spanish dancers.
The Chef and his Uncle Episode 316: Danny Kaye The Swedish Chef is joined by his uncle (played by Danny Kaye), and they make a turkey.

The Muppet Show Season 4

Picture Title Episode Description
Squirrel Stew Episode 401: John Denver The Chef is out in the woods, trying to make squirrel stew.
Hot Dogs Episode 404: Dyan Cannon The Chef prepares hot dogs. Miss Piggy, who is looking for Foo Foo, comes on-stage, asking the chef if he has seen her dog. The Swedish Chef, assuming the query is about the wieners, says that the dog is in the pot, causing Piggy to think that the chef is cooking Foo Foo.
Note: This sketch can also be seen on It's the Muppets: More Muppets, Please!
Turtle Soup Episode 405: Victor Borge Chef attempts to make turtle soup, but the turtle keeps pulling up into his shell when the Chef is about to hack off his head. Frustrated, the Chef threatens the animal with a blunderbuss, only to be met with a double-barreled miniature canon from within the turtle's shell.
Home-Cooked Meal Episode 408: Arlo Guthrie The Chef plans a home-cooked meal, but the turkey refuses to be skewered, the pig busts him in the face, and the "beef" stampedes over him. Even the vegetable stew is unsuccessful. Eventually, the Chef unveils his dinner -- vitamin pills.
No Bananas Episode 412: Phyllis George The Chef sings "Yes, We Have No Bananas" with the Singing Food.
Meat Loafers Episode 423: Carol Channing The chef puts meat into a shoe. The owner of the shoe, a pig, demands to have his shoe back, and puts it on, despite the fact that there is meat in it. He then gets chased by dogs.

The Muppet Show Season 5

Picture Title Episode Description
Swedish Lump Bread Puppetry Episode 508: Señor Wences The Swedish Chef makes a puppet using his hands and some bread dough as he sings "These Boots Are Made for Walkin'" in his native tongue.
Spring Chickens Episode 512: Melissa Manchester The Chef makes spring chickens, which spring out of control.

Note: This is the only Swedish Chef sketch where The Announcer introduces the act.

Soup Episode 514: Mac Davis The Swedish Chef prepares soup, but gets interrupted by multiple Beakers.
Soufflé Episode 522: Buddy Rich The Swedish Chef prepares a lighter than air soufflé.
Champagne Episode 523: Linda Ronstadt The Chef goes flying when he pops a bottle of champagne.

Additional Sketches (Non-Muppet Show)

Picture Title Episode Description
Sandwich The Muppet Show: Sex and Violence In a three-part sketch, the Swedish Chef makes a sandwich, using many unusual ingredients. Eventually, the sandwich sprouts wings and flies away, but the chef shoots it down with a gun.
Cake The Jim Henson Hour
Episode 107: Health and Fitness
The Swedish Chef attempts to make a cake, but is interrupted by Jaques Roach, who explains that roaches are indestructable because of their eating habits. This is proven when the chef unsuccessfully tries to get rid of jaques by kitting him, dropping a refridgerator on him, and even blow him up.
Tacos The Muppets at Walt Disney World The Chef prepares a taco for Bunsen and Beaker, which is so hot that it blows the pail that has been stuck on Beaker's head clear off... and back on again. (Note: The closing for his opening song is "Olé" instead of the usual "Bork, bork, bork.")
  Europe MTV Music Awards Chef and Wyclef Jean perform on stage at the Europe MTV Music Awards on November 16, 2000 in Stockholm, Sweden.
Daisy Dukes From the Balcony
Episode 4
The Swedish Chef makes Daisy Dukes.
Nachos Libre From The Balcony
Episode 26
The Swedish Chef makes "Nachos Libre" with nachos, black pepper, a mask, a bell, eggs, and flour. It punches him afterwards.
Stars and Stripes FOREVER!! virmup video Sam the Eagle leads a penguin, the Swedish Chef, a chicken, Bobo the Bear, Beaker, Animal and Crazy Harry. Sam attempts a reading of the U.S. Constitution as the others perform a rendition of "Stars and Stripes Forever" by John Phillip Sousa. American patriotic images such as the Statue of Liberty, Mount Rushmore and hot dogs cascade behind them.
Link
  • YouTube
Habanera virmup video The Swedish Chef and Beaker perform the "Habanera" aria from Georges Bizet's opera Carmen. Animal provides assistance and the Chef eats Beaker at the end.
Link
  • YouTube
Cårven Der Pümpkîn virmup video The Swedish Chef attempts to make jack-o-lanterns out of two talking pumpkins for Halloween. The pumpkins then suggest that he use miscellaneous items that would not normally be used (i.e. a battle axe, a chainsaw, and a bazooka). After he gets out the bazooka, the pumpkins get blasted into two pumpkin pies, which the Chef titles "der pümpkîn pie a la bazookie", right before passing out from the explosion. This is then followed by a little heckling from Statler and Waldorf who have been watching the clip on their computer.
Link
  • YouTube
Bohemian Rhapsody virmup video The chef sings a verse of the Muppet version of "Bohemian Rhapsody."
Link
  • YouTube

Filmography

Swedish Chef promo shot

Video game appearances

Book appearances

References

  1. The Swedish Chef's theme music is called "Swedish Chef", written by Muppet Show musical arranger Derek Scott. The song was published by ATV Music under ASCAP code 490403793.
  2. Karen Prell, Muppet Central forum post, 4-25-2003

See also


This article uses material from the "The Swedish Chef" article on the Muppet wiki at Wikia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.

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