Skip To Content

Support the Forward

Funded by readers like you DonateSubscribe

‘Sesame Street’ Writer Confirms: Bert And Ernie Are Gay — And One Is Jewish

In a September 16 interview “Sesame Street” writer Mark Saltzman put years of speculation to rest, letting the world know that Ernie and Bert are a gay couple — at least, he wrote them that way.

Saltzman told Queerty that while he worked on scenes between the odd couple roommates, he drew from his own relationship with his late partner, Arnold Glassman, and their sometimes tense dynamic. Who was who? Saltzman said he was carefree and playful, like Ernie, whereas Glassman was a tad more OCD and anal-retentive, a la Bert. Given this new bit of background, we wondered: Were Bert and Ernie written as Jewish?

The Forward reached out to Saltzman to find out, and within an hour we had our answer.

“Heavy-hearted, long-suffering Bert, yes. Ernie? Goyishe kopf,” Saltzman wrote in an email.

It’s not known to us how Bert and Ernie spent Yom Kippur, but we imagine Ernie wasn’t so strict with the fasting, much to Bert’s dismay.

PJ Grisar is the Forward’s culture intern. He can be reached at [email protected]





    Hybrid: Online and at the Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan

    Oct 2, 2022

    6:30 pm ET · 

    A Sukkah, IMKHA, created by artist Tobi Kahn, for the Marlene Meyerson JCC of Manhattan is an installation consisting of 13 interrelated sculpted painted wooden panels, constituting a single work of art. Join for a panel discussion with Rabbi Joanna Samuels, Chief Executive Director of the Marlene Meyerson JCC of Manhattan, Talya Zax, Innovation Editor of the Forward, and Tobi Kahn, Artist. Moderated by Mattie Kahn.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.