Bert – Sesame Street

Sesame Street has been entertaining and educating children for over 50 years, and one of the most beloved characters on the show is Bert. Bert is the quirky and lovable roommate of Ernie, and has been a fixture on Sesame Street since the show's inception in 1969. In this article, we will delve deeper into Bert's history, personality, relationships, likes and dislikes, and pop culture legacy.

Origins of the Bert

Bert, the popular character from Sesame Street, was created by Jim Henson and made his first appearance on the show in 1969. Henson, a puppeteer and filmmaker, had already made a name for himself with his creations for The Muppet Show, which aired from 1976 to 1981. Sesame Street was one of Henson's most ambitious projects, and it was a groundbreaking program that aimed to educate and entertain young children.

Bert was one of the original characters on Sesame Street, and he was designed to be a tall, thin, and serious character with a distinctive unibrow and an oblong-shaped head. His signature striped shirt, accompanied by his yellow turtleneck, quickly became a recognizable outfit for the character. Bert's puppet was operated by Frank Oz, who also provided the character's voice. Oz was a key collaborator with Henson and was responsible for many of the Muppets' most popular characters, including Miss Piggy, Fozzie Bear, and Animal.

Bert was created as the more serious and analytical of the two roommates, with his best friend and roommate, Ernie, being the more carefree and impulsive of the two. Bert's character traits include being organized, studious, and often frustrated by Ernie's antics. He is known for his love of reading and his obsession with pigeons, which has been a recurring theme throughout his character development.

Over the years, Bert has been involved in numerous skits and segments on Sesame Street, often focused on educational topics such as counting, science, and social issues. One of his most memorable segments is "Ernie and Bert Sketches," where the two roommates engage in humorous banter and misunderstandings. Bert has also been featured in many songs, including "Doin' the Pigeon" and "La, La, La."

Bert's First Appearance

Bert made his first appearance on Sesame Street in the show's pilot episode, which aired on November 10, 1969. In this episode, Bert was introduced along with his best friend and roommate Ernie, who also made his debut appearance. The two characters were designed to be a comic duo, with Ernie being the more carefree and impulsive of the two, while Bert was portrayed as the more analytical and serious character.

The first sketch featuring Bert and Ernie was called "The Ernie and Bert Sketch," which involved Ernie trying to get Bert to play a game with him. Bert, who was reading a book at the time, was hesitant to stop reading and play the game, leading to a comedic back-and-forth between the two characters.

Bert's character design was inspired by Henson's childhood friend, a lanky and serious individual who shared some similarities with the puppet. Bert's signature striped shirt and yellow turtleneck were also established in his first appearance and have remained a consistent part of his wardrobe throughout his character's history.

Bert's first appearance was well-received by audiences, and the character quickly became a fan favorite. Over the years, Bert has been involved in many skits and segments on Sesame Street, often focused on educational topics such as counting, science, and social issues.

Personality of Bert

Here are some more details on Bert's personality:

  • Organized: Bert is known for being organized and tidy, often seen straightening up his room and arranging items in a precise manner. He takes pride in keeping his possessions clean and well-maintained, and this trait has been the focus of many Sesame Street skits over the years.

  • Logical: Bert is a logical thinker and is often portrayed as being more serious and rational than his friend Ernie. He has a good sense of order and structure and is always looking for ways to make sense of the world around him. This trait has been highlighted in many skits and songs about science, mathematics, and other educational topics.

  • Anxious: Despite his calm demeanor, Bert is known to be an anxious character. He often frets over minor details and can become overwhelmed when faced with unfamiliar situations. This trait has been explored in many Sesame Street skits that focus on social and emotional learning, helping children understand the importance of self-regulation and coping strategies.

  • Creative: Although he's more analytical than Ernie, Bert is still a creative character. He is a talented musician and artist, and he often encourages others to explore their creative sides as well. This trait has been highlighted in many Sesame Street segments that focus on the arts, such as painting, drawing, and music.

  • Responsible: Bert is a responsible character and takes his obligations seriously. He is always looking out for his friends and is quick to offer help and support when needed. This trait has been explored in many Sesame Street skits that focus on community building and helping others.

Overall, Bert is a complex and well-rounded character who embodies a range of personality traits. His analytical mind and sense of order make him an important role model for young children who are learning about the world around them, while his creative side encourages exploration and experimentation. His anxious tendencies also serve as an important reminder that it's normal to experience difficult emotions and that there are ways to cope with them.

Bert's Family

Here are some theories about Bert's family:

Ernie as a Brother: Some fans have speculated that Ernie could be Bert's brother, based on their close friendship and similar appearance.

Aunt Matilda: In one Sesame Street book, Bert mentions his Aunt Matilda, who is known for her love of birds and sends Bert a pet pigeon as a gift.

Cousin Bernice: In another Sesame Street book, Bert's cousin Bernice comes to visit and helps him learn how to ride a bike.

Bert's Parents: While Bert's parents have never been mentioned on the show, some fans have speculated that they could be bird enthusiasts like Bert, or perhaps even birdwatchers who inspired his love of pigeons.

Bert's Performers

Frank Oz (1969-2006): Frank Oz was the original performer of Bert and remained the primary performer for nearly four decades. He helped to create the character's iconic voice and mannerisms, and his performance helped to establish Bert as a beloved Sesame Street character.

Eric Jacobson (2001-present): Eric Jacobson began performing Bert in 2001, taking over from Frank Oz as the primary performer of the character. He has since become known for his skilled puppetry and vocal performance, and has continued to bring Bert to life in new and interesting ways.

Matt Vogel (2018-present): Matt Vogel has also performed Bert in recent years, taking over from Eric Jacobson in some Sesame Street productions. He has a background in puppetry and has worked on several other children's programs, including Sesame Street spin-offs like The Muppets and Muppet Babies.

Bert and Ernie

Bert and Ernie are best friends and roommates who share an apartment in the basement of 123 Sesame Street.

Bert is the tall, thin, and more serious of the two. He is often seen reading books or watching pigeons, and he enjoys activities such as collecting bottle caps and doing crossword puzzles. He is known for his distinctive unibrow and love of oatmeal.

Ernie, on the other hand, is shorter, rounder, and more playful. He is often seen playing with his rubber duckie, taking baths, and singing songs. He is known for his high-pitched voice and infectious laughter.

The dynamic between Bert and Ernie has been a mainstay of Sesame Street since the show's early days. Their friendship has been the subject of countless skits and musical numbers, and they have become beloved characters not only among children but also among adults who grew up watching the show.

Over the years, there has been much speculation about the nature of Bert and Ernie's relationship. Some fans have suggested that they are a gay couple, while others argue that they are simply close friends. The creators of Sesame Street have always maintained that Bert and Ernie are best friends and nothing more, and that they were designed to teach children about the importance of friendship and diversity.

Bert's Likes and Dislikes

Here is a detailed list of some of Bert's likes and dislikes:


  • Oatmeal - Bert loves eating oatmeal, which is often shown as his favorite food on the show.

  • Reading - Bert is often seen reading books, and he is known for his love of literature and crossword puzzles.

  • Pigeons - Bert has a fascination with pigeons and is often shown watching them from his window or feeding them.

  • Bottle caps - Bert has a large collection of bottle caps, which he enjoys organizing and cataloging.

  • Paperclips - Bert is also known for his love of paperclips and has a large collection of them that he uses for various tasks.

  • His pet pigeon Bernice - Bert has a pet pigeon named Bernice who he cares for and loves.


  • Loud noises - Bert is often shown getting annoyed by loud noises, such as Ernie's loud singing or the sound of a jackhammer outside.

  • Messiness - Bert is a neat freak and doesn't like when things are messy or disorganized.

  • Ernie's antics - While Bert loves his best friend, he often gets frustrated by Ernie's playful and mischievous behavior.

  • Bad haircuts - In one episode, Bert receives a bad haircut and is visibly upset about it.

  • The dark - Bert is afraid of the dark and often sleeps with a night light on.

  • Insects - Bert is not a fan of insects and is often shown getting scared or grossed out by them.

Bert Through the Years

Here is a detailed look at Bert through the years:

When Sesame Street first premiered, Bert was introduced as one half of the dynamic duo, Bert and Ernie. He was portrayed as a straight-laced, organized character who often got frustrated with his best friend Ernie's playful and mischievous behavior. Bert had a distinctive look, with his bushy eyebrows, black hair, and rounded head. He wore a yellow turtleneck sweater with vertical stripes and brown pants.

In the 1980s, Bert's appearance remained largely the same, but his personality was expanded upon. He was shown to have a love for reading and crossword puzzles, and he often engaged in these activities on the show. He was also revealed to have a pet pigeon named Bernice, whom he cared for and loved. Bert's frustration with Ernie's antics was a common theme throughout the decade.

In the 1990s, Bert's appearance was slightly updated, with his eyebrows becoming less bushy and his hair becoming more wavy. His personality remained largely the same, but he was given more opportunities to showcase his comedic side. He often appeared in sketches that parodied popular culture, such as "Miami Mice" and "Abyssinia, Walt."

In the 2000s, Bert's appearance underwent another slight update, with his eyebrows becoming even thinner and his hair becoming slightly shorter. His personality remained consistent with his earlier iterations, but he was given more opportunities to showcase his musical talents. He sang several songs on the show, including "Bert's Nap" and "I Want to Hold Your Ear."

2010s and beyond:
In recent years, Bert's appearance has remained largely the same, with only minor updates to his wardrobe and hairstyle. His personality has also remained consistent, but he has been given more opportunities to showcase his relationship with Ernie in a positive light. In 2013, Bert and Ernie were even featured on the cover of The New Yorker magazine, holding hands while watching the Supreme Court ruling on the Defense of Marriage Act.

Bert's Favorite Songs

"Doin' the Pigeon" - Bert is known for his love of pigeons, and this song, which he sings and dances to, celebrates the unique movements of these birds.

"La, La, La" - Bert and Ernie sing this song to help Bert get over his fear of monsters.

"I Gotta Be Clean" - Bert sings this song while taking a bath, emphasizing the importance of good hygiene.

"Drive My Car" - Bert sings a bit of this classic Beatles song while driving a toy car.

"The National Association of W Lovers" - In this sketch, Bert sings a song about his love of the letter W, which he claims is the best letter in the alphabet.

"The Batty Bat" - Bert sings this song while dressed as a bat, emphasizing the importance of imagination and play.

"I Want to Hold Your Ear" - In another Beatles-inspired sketch, Bert sings a song about wanting to hold someone's ear instead of their hand.

"The Duet Song" - In this sketch, Bert and Ernie sing a duet about their friendship and the joys of spending time together.

"Do De Rubber Duck" - Bert sings this song while taking a bath with Ernie and other Sesame Street characters.

"Noses" - Bert sings a bit of this song while emphasizing the importance of taking care of your nose and not picking it.

What does Bert Say?

As a fictional character from Sesame Street, Bert has many catchphrases and lines that he is known for saying on the show. Here are a few examples:

"I love paper clips!" - Bert is known for his love of small, seemingly insignificant objects like paper clips and bottle caps.

"Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy!" - Bert often says this when he is excited about something or looking forward to an activity or event.

"Well, as I always say..." - Bert often uses this phrase to introduce a humorous observation or statement.

"Hey, Ernie, do you want to play a game?" - Bert is always looking for new ways to engage in activities and learn new things.

"Ernie, stop it!" - Despite their strong friendship, Bert and Ernie sometimes get on each other's nerves and argue.

Facts About Bert

  • Bert's original design was created by Jim Henson in 1969, and he was initially performed by Henson himself. The design was inspired by a combination of Henson's favorite childhood toys, including a rubber duck and a toy fireman.

  • Bert is known for his distinctive unibrow, which was created by designer Don Sahlin as a way to make the character stand out visually from the other Sesame Street Muppets.

  • Bert is often portrayed as the more serious and analytical half of his friendship with Ernie, who is more playful and spontaneous. However, the two characters have a deep bond and are often seen together in sketches and songs.

  • Bert has a number of hobbies and interests, including collecting paper clips, playing checkers, and caring for his pet pigeon, Bernice.

  • Bert has a fondness for oatmeal, and is often seen eating it for breakfast on the show.

  • Bert has been performed by a number of puppeteers over the years, including Frank Oz, Eric Jacobson, and Matt Vogel. The current performer of Bert is Ryan Dillon.

  • Bert has appeared in a number of Sesame Street movies and specials over the years, including "Follow That Bird" and "Elmo Saves Christmas."

  • In addition to his appearances on Sesame Street, Bert has also been featured in a number of other media, including books, comics, and video games.

  • Bert has a number of famous friends and acquaintances, including Kermit the Frog, who has appeared with him in several sketches and songs.

  • Bert is known for his love of organization and cleanliness, and is often seen cleaning or arranging things on the show. In fact, he once claimed that he could tell if a book was out of order just by smelling it!

  • Appeared in various parodies: Bert has also been featured in various parodies over the years, including a Saturday Night Live skit where he was portrayed as a drug dealer.

  • Has a love for pigeons: Bert has a love for pigeons and even has a pet pigeon named Bernice. He has been seen caring for Bernice in several episodes of Sesame Street.

  • Has been featured in various books: Bert has been featured in several Sesame Street books, including "The Sesame Street Dictionary," "The Sesame Street Library," and "Sesame Street Unpaved."

  • Appeared in a Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade: Bert has appeared in several Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parades over the years, including a giant balloon in the 2004 parade.

  • Has a unique laugh: Bert has a distinctive laugh, which is described as sounding like "hyuk hyuk hyuk." This laugh has become one of Bert's trademarks over the years.

  • Loves to collect paperclips: Bert has a love for collecting paperclips and has been seen organizing his collection in several Sesame Street episodes.

  • Has been the subject of controversy: In 2013, a petition was launched to have Bert and Ernie get married on Sesame Street as a way of promoting marriage equality. The petition received a lot of media attention, but the producers of Sesame Street stated that Bert and Ernie were simply good friends and had no romantic relationship.

  • Has appeared in international versions of Sesame Street: Bert has also made appearances in international versions of Sesame Street, including Takalani Sesame in South Africa and Plaza Sésamo in Mexico.

  • Has a fear of pigeons: While Bert loves pigeons, he also has a fear of them, which has been featured in several episodes of Sesame Street.

  • Has a passion for bottle cap collecting: In addition to his love for paperclips, Bert is also passionate about collecting bottle caps and has been seen organizing his collection in several episodes of Sesame Street.

  • Has a rivalry with Ernie over their favorite sports teams: Bert and Ernie have a friendly rivalry over their favorite sports teams. Bert is a fan of the Brooklyn Dodgers while Ernie is a fan of the New York Yankees.

  • Has a cameo in The Muppets: Bert and Ernie make a cameo appearance in the 2011 movie "The Muppets," where they are seen watching the Muppet Show from a balcony.

  • Has a unique style: Bert is known for his distinct style, which includes his yellow and white striped shirt, green pants, and brown loafers.

  • Has been voiced by several performers over the years: In addition to Frank Oz, Bert has been voiced by several performers over the years, including Eric Jacobson, who has voiced Bert since 1997.

  • Has been featured in various Sesame Street specials: Bert has been featured in numerous Sesame Street specials over the years, including "Christmas Eve on Sesame Street," "Elmo Saves Christmas," and "A Sesame Street Christmas Carol."

  • Has been portrayed by a human actor in live productions: In live productions of Sesame Street, Bert has been portrayed by human actors, including Rick Lyon, who played Bert in the Broadway musical "Avenue Q."

  • Has a deep love for oatmeal: Bert has a deep love for oatmeal and has been seen preparing it in several Sesame Street episodes. In fact, Bert loves oatmeal so much that he has written a song about it called "I Want to Hold Your Ear."

Bert in Popular Culture

Pop Culture References: Bert and Ernie are often referenced in popular culture, particularly in comedy shows and movies. For example, in the sitcom Friends, Joey and Chandler are sometimes compared to Bert and Ernie for their close friendship and living arrangement. In the animated show Family Guy, Bert and Ernie are parodied as two gay lovers who live together.

Advertising: Bert has also made appearances in various commercials and advertisements. One of the most notable is the "Got Milk?" ad campaign where Bert is seen with a milk mustache. He has also appeared in commercials for IBM, Visa, and even the National Parks Service.

Parades: Bert has been a staple in many parades, including the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. He has been seen riding floats and interacting with the crowds, much to the delight of fans of all ages.

Merchandise: Bert has appeared on various types of merchandise, such as t-shirts, hats, and even coffee mugs. He is a popular character among fans of Sesame Street and the Muppets and is often featured prominently on merchandise.

Music Videos: Bert has made appearances in several music videos, including "Put Down the Duckie" and "Do De Rubber Duck" from Sesame Street. He has also appeared in the music video for "The Alphabet Song" by Blackalicious.

Art Exhibitions: Bert has even been the subject of art exhibitions, including the "Bert and Ernie Photo Exhibit" in New York City in 2013. The exhibit featured photos of Bert and Ernie taken by various photographers and artists over the years.

Television: Bert has been a prominent character on Sesame Street since its inception in 1969. He has appeared in numerous episodes, segments, and specials, and has been a mainstay of the show for over 50 years. Bert has also made guest appearances on other shows, such as The Muppets and The Colbert Report.

Film: Bert has appeared in several Sesame Street films, including Follow That Bird (1985), The Adventures of Elmo in Grouchland (1999), and Elmo Saves Christmas (1996). He has also appeared in various documentaries about Sesame Street and the Muppets.

Merchandise: Bert has been featured on a wide range of merchandise, including books, toys, and clothing. Some of the most popular Bert merchandise includes plush toys, action figures, and t-shirts.

Internet culture: Bert has become a popular meme on the internet, particularly in the form of the "Bert is Evil" meme. This meme originated in the late 1990s when a website called "Bert is Evil" began featuring doctored images of Bert in various sinister and evil scenarios. The meme has since evolved and Bert has been used in various other internet memes.

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