Matthew J. "Matt" Vogel II (b. October 6th, 1970) is an accomplished puppeteer in his own right. However, ever since joining Sesame Street in 1996, he has become most familiar for his work as Caroll Spinney's Sesame Street understudy for Big Bird for the "Journey to Ernie" segments, several street scenes & other appearances whenever Spinney is unavailable. He has also performed various Anything Muppets & CGI characters on "Elmo's World," & plays Big Bird's infant self, Baby Big Bird in the Sesame Beginnings DVD series. It has been decided that, when Spinney retires or dies, Vogel is to be the new Big Bird. Most recently, he's also served as assistant puppet captain on Sesame Street. He's also taken over Jerry Nelson's Muppet characters, by the recommendation of Nelson himself. Vogel is, as of 2008, the new voice performer of Floyd Pepper, Lew Zealand, Crazy Harry, Robin the Frog & Camilla the Chicken following Nelson's retirement. He has also taken over the Muppetry of Jerry's most famous character, Count von Count, but Jerry is still providing the voice. He also voiced the gray Grouch in the Grouch spoof of Spamalot, called Scramalot.
Vogel's other Muppet credits include work, assisting or in supporting roles, on Big Bag, Bear in the Big Blue House, Sesame English, & The Adventures of Elmo in Grouchland, as well as various pigeons in the Creature Shop film The Producers. Works outside the Henson fold include the video series MATHmatazz, Jack's Big Music Show, The Puzzle Place, the HBO drama Oz, Oobi, Blue's Room, & the Lions.
In theater, Vogel has acted in regional productions of various plays including The Foreigner & Six Degrees of Sparation, & was involved in the 2003 - 2004 Broadway run of Little Shop of Horrors, manipulating Audrey II & playing various bums & Skid Row residents (alongside Martin P. Robinson and Anthony Asbury).
In addition to Muppeteering, Vogel's interest in music is made evident by his non-Sesame role as front man for the band, The Mighty Weaklings released a CD of songs "for kids--and grown-ups" called You Can't Rock Sittin' Down in June of 2008 after appearing in the video for their song "Rocket Ship" on Jack's Big Music Show. With Joey Mazzarino, Vogel co-owns Pratfall Productions, which produced the film-noir puppet spoof Murder, He Squeaked and various inserts for Sesame Street, "Sesame Street" videos and Nick Jr.'s Curious Buddies. Vogel also served as director for Sesame Street beginning with Season 39 and the recurring segment, "Murray Has a Little Lamb".
Episodes Where Vogel Played Big Bird
- A sketch where Big Bird explains to Elmo that plants can't play catch.
- A sketch where Big Bird watches Elmo show up & down.
- Episode 3851: For the scene where Elmo & Big Bird are practicing the tango, Vogel performs Big Bird's puppetry
- Episode 3877
- Episode 3907
- Episode 3987
- Episode 3997: For the parts of the episode where Big Bird & Oscar don't share a scene, Big Bird is played by Spinney, however, since the episode is mainly about Oscar, when they share a scene, Spinney is Oscar, & Vogel performs Big Bird's puppetry, to a vocal track by Spinney.
- Episode 4074: The Letter of the Month Club
- Episode 4107 & Episode 4108: The Adventures of Little Big Bird (mini Big Bird only)
- Episode 4155: Vogel performs Big Bird (voice & puppetry) for his cameo at the beginning.
- Episode 4187: Vogel played Big Bird during the green-screen scenes to a vocal track by Spinney
- Episode 4203: Vogel played Big Bird to a vocal track by Caroll Spinney
- Episode 4206: In the brief moment where we see Big Bird's actual crash when he is wedged inside the little wall in front of 123 Sesame Street, Vogel is Big Bird
- The Street We Live On: in the intro to "Journey to Ernie"
- Muppet characters: Floyd Pepper, Lew Zealand, Crazy Harry, Robin the Frog, Camilla the Chicken (all 2008-present)
- Sesame Street: Big Bird (understudy) (1998-present), Letter of the Day Announcer, Maurice Pig (4095), Gassy (Dwarf #3) (4114), Baby Bear (assistant), Ernie (assistant) (2000-2003), Count von Count (assistant; puppetry only), "Elmo's World" CGI Furniture, Herb (4113), David Letterguy (4125), Rapunzel's Prince (4127), Gardener, Groucho Marx Muppet, Howie Eatswell (4138), Ant (4147), Megan (Are You Smarter Than an Egg Layer?), Pino, Professor Gary Gill, Scramalot Grouch, Wyoming Walt, Mr. Yak, the the guinea pig (Pre-School Musical), The Super Foods banana, etc., Hubert the Human Cannonball
- Don't Forget to Watch the Movie
- Big Bag
- Big Bird Gets Lost
- Telling the Truth
- Elmo Saves Christmas
- Telling the Truth: Additional Puppeteer
- Bear in the Big Blue House
- Sesame Street Goes to the Doctor: Hoarse Horse
- A Brief History of Motion Pictures
- The Adventures of Elmo in Grouchland
- Play With Me Sesame: Ernie (assistant)
- Muppet RaceMania: Scooter & Janice (voices)
- Elmo's Magic Cookbook: Glass of Water
- Music Works Wonders
- Sesame Street 4-D Movie Magic
- A Celebration of Me, Grover
- Sesame Beginnings: Baby Big Bird
- The Producers: Pigeons
- Kids' Favorite Country Songs: Elmer
- Elmo's Christmas Countdown: Stiller the Elf (puppetry only)
- Studio DC: Almost Live: Floyd Pepper (Muppetry only)
- Studio DC: Almost Live: Floyd Pepper
- Abby in Wonderland
- A Muppets Christmas: Letters to Santa: Floyd Pepper, Lew Zealand, Crazy Harry, Robin the Frog, Camilla the Chicken
- Here For You: Chester's Dad
- Coming Home
- Families Stand Together
- The Muppets: Floyd Pepper, Lew Zealand, Crazy Harry, Robin the Frog, Camilla the Chicken, Uncle Deadly, Sweetums
- Oz - Pecky
- Between the Lions - Rumplestiltskin, Derek Cheetah, Monkey Ad Executive (Jeff Kidding), various characters
- Jack's Big Music Show - Leonard the Squirrel, MC Turtle, The Squirrels, etc.
- In the scenes where Oscar the Grouch & Big Bird (both characters voiced by Caroll Spinney) appear to be having a conversation, Matt would be the one performing Oscar (both Muppetry & voice, which Caroll would dub later).
- When Matt Vogel was introduced to Caroll Spinney at his 1st audition for the part of Big Bird, the latter remarked, "Vogel is German for Bird. That's a good sign."
- The word "Vogel" is Dutch for bird as well.
- The protective slippers Vogel wears over Big Bird's feet when he's not on set are labeled, respectively, "Vogel" & "Füsse," meaning "bird" & "feet", or read together "bird's feet".
- Characters of Jerry Nelson's Matt Vogel has performed once or consistently are: