LOS ANGELES – Jason Segel, star of the CBS comedy “How I Met Your Mother,” grew up a devoted fan of the Muppets. All he wanted was to one day have a cameo role in one of their movies.

Unfortunately for Segel, his first major acting role, in the 1999 series “Freaks and Geeks,” came the same year the Muppets made their last feature film, “Muppets from Space.” Since then the Muppets have done only a few TV and Internet projects.

Segel finally got tired of waiting and co-wrote, with Nick Stoller, “The Muppets,” a story of getting the old gang together to save The Muppet Theater. He not only helped pen the story, but he stars alongside Kermit and Miss Piggy.

“I never thought that I would be working in this capacity with the Muppets. It’s thrilling and unbelievable and does feel like a fantasy sometimes,” Segel said.

Segel’s motives for helping get the Muppets back on the big screen go beyond wanting to work with the group. He’s convinced they’re needed in this cynical era of comedy.

The Muppets have shown for 40 years that it’s possible to get laughs without having to do it at anyone else’s expense. That’s something Segel wants youngsters to understand.

As for adults, he thinks the Muppets reflect who we wanted to be as kids.

“They remind us of our best versions of ourselves. The world kind of beats something out of you that anything is possible, this sort of wide-eyed wonder, and you come to the reality of what the world is like,” Segel said.

“But the Muppets have never given in to that. They believe they can accomplish anything, and they just go forward with their eyes open wide and a smile on their face.”

“But the Muppets have never given in to that. They believe they can accomplish anything, and they just go forward with their eyes open wide and a smile on their face.  ”

“The Muppets” was the first film idea Segel pitched after his successful “Forgetting Sarah Marshall.” Once he got the OK, he and Stoller had no shortage of ideas.

For example,  they wanted to have the Swedish Chef working as a judge of “Top Chef,” but didn’t get to film the scene. The movie’s theme is that the Muppets are better together than apart, so Segel wanted them together as quickly as possible.

The only one real problem for Segel was that, at 6-feet-4, he looms over most of the Muppets. The solution was to have him sit in most scenes, something Segel embraced.

“I just don’t like moving around. I’m not making a joke. I even like to sit in chase scenes,” Segel says.

Jean takes pride in Haiti quake response

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti – Haiti hip-hop star Wyclef Jean says he’s proud of the way his charity responded after the earthquake almost two years ago.

The former Fugees singer said that following the Jan. 12, 2010, disaster, his Yele Haiti Foundation rebuilt an orphanage and set up a system of outdoor toilet and shower facilities in one of the largest shanties in the Haitian capital.

Jean’s comments Sunday followed reports published by The New York Post saying his foundation collected $16 million in 2010, but less than a third of that went to emergency efforts.

The Post also reported that $1 million was paid to a Florida company that doesn’t appear to exist.

‘Twilight’ has daylight left at box office

LOS ANGELES – The latest “Twilight” movie has plenty of daylight left with a second-straight win at the weekend box office.

“The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn — Part 1” took in $42 million domestically over the three-day weekend and $62.3 million in the five-day Thanksgiving boom time from Wednesday to Sunday.

Debuting at No. 2 was Disney’s family flick “The Muppets,” with $29.5 million for the three-day weekend and $42 million over the five-day holiday haul.

Three other family films rounded out the top five: the Warner Bros. sequel “Happy Feet Two” at No. 3 with a three-day total of $13.4 million and $18.4 million for five days; Sony’s animated comedy “Arthur Christmas” at No. 4 with $12.7 million for three days and $17 million for five days; and Paramount’s epic adventure “Hugo” at No. 5 with $11.4 million for three days and $15.4 million for five days.