Jason Segel spent Friday night dressing up in Muppet drag, plugging his family’s business and picking up a very special pudding pot -– all as Harvard’s Hasty Pudding Theatricals man of the year.
Following in the footsteps of stars like Jay Leno and Justin Timberlake, Segel took home the group’s top honor for his work as an actor, writer and producer. He’s best known for his roles in “The Muppets” (hence the Miss Piggy wig and bra), “How I Met Your Mother,” “Forgetting Sarah Marshall” and “Freaks and Geeks.”
“This is a very prestigious thing and it is very fun, but half the reason it meant anything to me is that my whole family lives here,” he told the Boston Channel, and he wasn’t kidding around.
Usually, the main attraction at a big movie premiere are the celebrities. But at the premiere of "The Muppets" in Hollywood on Saturday, a slew of puppets got the A-list treatment.
Before the film's stars, Jason Segel and Amy Adams, even arrived, a group of Muppets — including Kermit the Frog, Fozzie Bear and Gonzo — were driven down the the appropriately green carpet in a Jeep. They were followed by Miss Piggy, who scored her own chauffeured ride — a sexier convertible.
"In case anyone is wondering," a frenzied publicist told the press, "Miss Piggy was wearing Jeremy Scott and Louboutins."
Yes, really. The Muppets were handled like such stars at the event that they almost seemed like actual celebrities. As Adams put it later to the press: "The magic of the Muppets is that you believe in them."
Over the years, there have been numerous television programs and films including the famous puppets — most memorably 1984's "The Muppets Take Manhattan."
Segel, who co-wrote the new movie and been a Muppets fan since he was a child, said the time was right for a fresh take on the puppets because comedy has become too cynical.
"People get a lot of laughs by making fun of people, and the Muppets never do that," he said. "I thought it was an important reminder just to be nice. That's the message of the Muppets."
The beauty of the Muppets lies in their simplicity, added Adams.
"I think we're a society that we've gotten overblown in all these special effects and all of that — which I love as well," said the actress, who will soon star as Lois Lane in the upcoming installment of the big-budget "Superman" franchise. "But I think it's nice to see these characters [with] their message of hope and belief."
Meanwhile, if Segel is eager about how audiences will receive his version of "The Muppets," he was hiding it well.
"You know, having seen the movie, I'm not nervous at all," he said confidently. "It's a really beautiful film. And I haven't seen anyone do anything but walk away smiling."
Jason Segel stopped by David Letterman's couch on Thursday night, revealing that an embarrassing photo served as his inspiration to lose weight.
The "Bad Teacher" funnyman told Letterman he had been in New Orleans working -- and enjoying what he called the "best food and booze anywhere."
"I really took advantage of it," Segel said. "Unfortunately my assistant had, like, a key to my room in case I overslept. She came in one day to wake me up and took a bunch of pictures to show me what I had become."
One of the photos, which Segel shared, caught of the actor covered in Taco Bell wrappers, and passed out on his back.
"Honest to God, Jason, this looks like a crime scene," Letterman said.
Segel dropped 30 pounds after the shameful photo shoot. Watch the full clip above.
As lots of quite good teachers were wrapping up the school year, one hot "Bad Teacher" rolled into Manhattan on Monday night, bringing Cameron Diaz, Jason Segel and more on the red-carpet field trip.
Diaz, rocking a hot-for-teacher mini-skirt, was joined by fellow cast members including ex-beau Justin Timberlake, Lucy Punch, Thomas Lennon, Adrian Kali Turner, Matthew Evans, Kaitlyn Dever and Phyllis Smith.
Weird Al Yankovich, who recently appeared in drag for his Lady Gaga parody "Perform This Way," took time at the premiere to clarify what happened with the dust-up around the release of "Perform This Way": "It was a big misunderstanding, miscommunication," he told MTV. "The bottom line is it's a happy ending. Lady Gaga approves it; she's totally cool and she really likes the parody."
There was also a mini "Dancing With the Stars" reunion as Kirstie Alley, Maksim Chmerkovskiy and Ralph Macchio made the scene. Also spotted: Leslie David Baker of "The Office" and actor Ben Kingsley. Click the pics for more photos from the "Bad Teacher red carpet.
Following the screening at the Ziegfeld Theatre, the action moved to an after-party at the Bowery Hotel, where director Jake Kasdan -- who has a past with Segel's "Freaks and Geeks" -- schmoozed with studio bigwigs Amy Pascal of Sony Pictures Entertainment and Doug Belgrad of Columbia Pictures.
Meanwhile, actor John Michael Higgins, who plays the school principal in the raunchy comedy, got caught playing hooky: He was spotted in L.A. on Monday night at the Left Coast premiere party for FX's "Wilfred" and "Louie."
Top photo: "Bad Teacher" director Jake Kasdan, left, with actors Justin Timberlake, Cameron Diaz, Jason Segel, Lucy Punch, Phyllis Smith and Tom Lennon at New York City's Ziegfeld Theatre on June 20, 2011. Credit: Stephen Lovekin / Getty Images
Right photo: Weird Al Yankovich at the "Bad Teacher" premiere. Credit: Jason Kempin / Getty Images
A first look at "The Muppets" has hit the Web, and with the tongue-in-cheek sensibility shown by stars Jason Segel and Amy Adams, it looks as if it won't disappoint.
A faux movie trailer for a project called "Green With Envy" hit YouTube on Monday, offering an embarrassing setup for a romantic comedy about a couple (Adams and Segel) trying to reconnect after moving to Los Angeles.
The torture ends quickly, however, ushered in by laughs from Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy and the rest of the gang.
"The Muppets" arrive in theaters Nov. 23; meanwhile, check out the clip above.
The "Gulliver's Travels" premiere in Hollywood on Saturday was proof that it never rains in California — or at least proof that it never rains on a red carpet in California, thanks to those big ol' tents they put up in a pinch.
Star Jack Black was joined by cast members Emily Blunt, Jason Segel and T.J. Miller outside Grauman's Chinese Theater to launch the comedy, in which Black plays a travel writer bound for Bermuda who winds up on the island of Lilliput instead.
Black, accompanied by wife Tanya Haden, fittingly showed up in a T-shirt reading, "I see small people." Click the photo of him at right for more pictures from the red carpet.
Speaking of small people, the red carpet was loaded with younger actors, including Ryan Ochoa, Tucker Albrizzi, Jimmy Bennett, Zach Callison, Parker Contreras, Jordan Monaghan, Jadin Gould, Madison Leisle, Saige Ryan Campbell, Rachel Fox and Bella Thorne.
Also spotted: Elena Diaz, Corbin Bernsen, Sonia Rockwell, Gabriel Jarret, Tommy Davidson, Carla Ortiz, Romany Malco, Justin Price and socialite Barbara Davis, who was just seen at the after-party for the final "Larry King Live" broadcast Thursday night.
"Gulliver's Travels," directed by Rob Letterman, opens Christmas Day.
Top photo: Jack Black, left, Jason Segel and Emily Blunt under the tent on the red carpet outside Grauman's Chinese Theatre for the "Gulliver's Travels" premiere on Dec. 18. Credit: Mario Anzuoni / Reuters.
Right photo: Jack Black flexes his star power. Credit: Kevin Winter / Getty Images
In "Despicable Me," Steve Carell's character, Gru, is particularly sensitive to the fact that he's the No. 2 super villain in the world. So out of respect, we won't mention the other premiere that happened in recent days at L.A. Live's Nokia Theatre -- something involving vampires, maybe?
Carell and fellow voice actors Jason Segel (the No. 1 super villain in the world), Miranda Cosgrove, Kristen Wiig, Julie Andrews and Jack McBrayer were among those stepping out in broad daylight Sunday for the world premiere of "Despicable Me," which opens July 9. The animated flick closed the Los Angeles Film Festival, which is sponsored by The Times.
And no, Russell Brand didn't make the celebrity parade -- perhaps the voice of Dr. Nefario was off on his honeymoon? Juuuuuuust kidding.
Photos: Steve Carell, top, arrives at the world premiere of "Despicable Me"
on Sunday at the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles. At right, Jason Segel hits the red carpet with a few characters from the film. Credits: Katy Winn /
Associated Pres, top; Alberto E. Rodriguez / Getty Images, right
Sometimes it's hard to walk around Los Angeles without tripping over a red carpet. Want the headlines? Follow the Ministry of Gossip on Twitter (we're
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Looks as if Lady Gaga's courtship of Kermit the Frog may have paid off -- a report says the pop sensation might serve as a model for the Miss Piggy character in the upcoming reboot of Jim Henson's beloved franchise.
Segel envisions the modern Miss Piggy living indulgently and arty abroad, a source told HollywoodLife.com.
"Miss Piggy ends up becoming like a Lady Gaga-esque character living in Europe," the source said. "Kermit ends up being destitute and the main characters find him living in squalor."
The script is said to involve an evil oil baron bent on destroying the Muppets' historic theater. All the classics, including Gonzo, Beaker and Swedish Chef, will rally to save the space with their version of a star-studded telethon.
Perhaps with Lady Gaga's persona serving as inspiration, the taste police won't mind a little puppet cleavage in the future?
-- Matt Donnelly
Photo: Lady Gaga kisses Kermit the Frog at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards. Credit: WireImage for MTV
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It's hard to tell which stories will catch the public's eye -- or its heart, or mind, or burning-with-rage-and-ready-to-spew-venom gut -- and in the course of doing business, a few of our favorite posts seem to have gotten lost along the way.
These have earned a soft spot with us for many reasons: We had them exclusively, they
were funny, there was an interesting story behind them, or they were simply articles we thought you, dear readers, would
Alas, as if they were tiny baby kittens trapped in a storm drain, mewling too quietly to be heard, the Web world passed them by.
So here, in no particular order, are 10 posts (OK, technically, 11) that we at the Ministry consider some rather underappreciated items from 2009:
Secret to Bradley Cooper's 'Hangover' success? That hair: With "The Hangover," Bradley Cooper cut his leading man teeth. He'll be chomping through 2010 with his buzzed-about update to "The A-Team." "Hangover" director Todd Phillips told us he was the one who thrust Cooper into top billing with one simple command: Grow out that hair. Take note, because I suspect those long locks will be waving atop the A-list in the coming months. -- Matt Donnelly