Best Guests on ‘The Muppet Show,’ From Elton John to Carol Burnett
If you have been a star within the Seventies — musician, actor, or a Swiss mask theater troupe — then you definately have been on The Muppet Show. Period. The madcap selection present with the manic Muppets was a success that lasted 5 seasons (all which can be found on Disney+, besides for 2 episodes from season 5: Brooke Shields and Chris Langham). The really outstanding genius of creator Jim Henson was in crafting a present that’s timeless, and visitors have been completely in on the enjoyable. In truth, some slot in so completely that they might very effectively have been Muppets themselves.
George Burns (09/30/1977)
The incomparable George Burns was 81 when the episode was filmed, however his vaudeville previous meets its excellent current. Burns’ takedown of Fleet Scribbler (Jerry Nelson), a gossip column author, is nice, particularly a well-timed puff of cigar smoke within the author’s face. The greatest, although, is Burns’ repertoire with Gonzo (Dave Goelz). Eerily harking back to his basic routines with late spouse Gracie Allen, their chemistry is undeniably humorous, from dropping strains like “Gonzo fiddles while George Burns” to Gonzo telling inane tales about his childhood to Burns (his mom died two years earlier than he was born).
Madeline Kahn (10/07/1977)
Madeline Kahn is considered one of Hollywood’s best comediennes, one who mastered the artwork of seductive but foolish characters, and he or she shines in her episode. Her rendition of “Your Feet” is an ideal instance of Kahn at her greatest. As with Burns, Gonzo’s rapport with Kahn is a spotlight of the episode, with the fuzzy blue Muppet infatuated with the star, a lot in order that he tries to woo her whereas sporting a magician’s tuxedo (opening the door to a sequence of sight gags). Fun truth: the episode additionally options Kermit’s (Jim Henson) basic earworm, “Happy Feet.”
John Cleese (10/21/1977)
One of the sequence’ very best options Monty Python’s Flying Circus alum John Cleese, who co-wrote the episode. His penchant for authoritative, no-nonsense characters is the proper foil for the Muppets’ antics, whereas the absurdity of Python is on full show on the “Pigs In Space” sketch, the place Cleese is a pirate, as a result of why would not a pirate be on a spaceship (and props for the nod to the basic “Dead Parrot” sketch)? His greatest bit within the present, although, goes full Basil Fawlty within the closing sketch “The Impossible Dream”, a very riotous little bit of nonsense surrounding Cleese’s refusal to sing, sure, “The Impossible Dream.”
Steve Martin (12/09/1977)
The Muppet Show would land Steve Martin as a visitor on the peak of his “wild and crazy guy” stand-up days, and it reveals. Martin is hilarious, taking his shtick and including within the lunacy of the Muppets. The greatest instance of that is Martin’s stand-up balloon animal routine, with the added component of a giant, offended balloon attacking Martin on the finish. The banjo virtuoso additionally cracks out “Ramblin’ Man” and “Dueling Banjos.” One of the sequence’ greatest episodes.
Julie Andrews (12/25/1977)
The effervescent Julie Andrews is completely charming in her visitor position, which should not be stunning to anybody. She and Kermit shine collectively, particularly when she sings “Song for Kermit (When You Were a Tadpole)”. It’s a really candy second the 2 share. Andrews can convey the enjoyable, too, in a Muppet-fied efficiency of “The Lonely Goatherd,” from some film she made, however not fully optimistic (*cough cough* sarcasm).
Elton John (01/08/1978)
Elton John within the Seventies, together with his outrageous outfits and large sun shades, appeared like a Muppet himself, so for him to be the primary actual rock star on this system is nearly a no brainer, and simply proves that the present actually was the place to be. And he got here to play, sharing a few of his hottest songs with the likes of Muppet crocodiles (“Never eat the guest star at the beginning of the show”). And Kiki Dee be damned: the best version of “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart” is John with Miss Piggy (Frank Oz). Best line on this episode? Sam the Eagle (Frank Oz), describing John: “Why does he dress like a stolen car?”
Cloris Leachman (02/12/1978)
The award-winning Cloris Leachman is incredible in a novel episode, the place pigs take over the theater and assume the identities of the Muppets (Kermit the Pig (Dave Goelz), for instance). It’s to her credit score that Leachman greater than holds her personal towards a skewed setup of an already skewed present. Leachman even saves the day by organizing a hog calling contest (“after all, I’m from Iowa”).
Gilda Radner (04/02/1978)
With her background in sketch comedy, Gilda Radner isn’t any stranger to quips, gags, songs and extra, and he or she is completely fluid in her efficiency right here. Radner has not one however two bits within the present which can be authentic classics. The first is the “Carrots of Penzance” sketch, a Spinal Tap stage misinterpretation of her request for a seven-foot-tall parrot. The second is in Muppet Labs, the place Radner unintentionally sprays superglue all over the place, resulting in some nice bodily comedy involving Radner and your complete solid getting caught to every thing and everybody.
Alice Cooper (11/24/1978)
Elton John could have been the primary rock star on the present, however the vote for the Least Likely celeb to be on The Muppet Show That Was on The Muppet Show award has to go to shock rocker Alice Cooper. Truth is, they barely had to twist his rubber arm to do it, leading to one of the crucial memorable episodes of the sequence. Cooper is clearly having enjoyable together with his stage persona on the present, taking part in it up as an assistant to the Devil himself, tempting the Muppets with fame and riches in alternate for his or her souls. A family-friendly transaction, although.
Danny Kaye (12/25/1978)
His identify is essentially forgotten now, however Danny Kaye might seemingly do something: actor, singer, dancer, comic, pilot, cooking and a tireless advocate for humanitarian causes. His visitor shot on the present permits Kaye to point out off his multitude of abilities, together with singing a candy rendition of “Inchworm” and cooking with the Swedish Chef (Jim Henson) whereas trying just like the Swedish Chef. Top marks go to his “Cheek to Cheek” song and dance with the indomitable Miss Piggy, a second of comedian genius as the 2 attempt to one up the opposite.
Leslie Uggams (01/26/1979)
There’s a lot to like about Leslie Uggams‘ visitor spot. The consummate performer is just a delight, delivering her vibrant track and dance abilities deftly. This is particularly true as she interacts with one other visitor star on the episode, Big Bird (Caroll Spinney), as they sing “Love Will Keep Us Together” collectively. Uggams additionally shines in a sketch with seldom-used Muppet Lew Zealand (Jerry Nelson), the place the 2 alternate a sequence of fish puns (Uggams: What does it take to develop into a fantastic boomerang fish thrower? Lew: Well, you have gotta get sole… and if you cannot get sole, get a halibut).
Mark Hamill (02/29/1980)
Just a couple of months previous to the discharge of The Empire Strikes Back, Mark Hamill seems on the present as Luke Skywalker and Luke’s cousin, Mark Hamill, and it is a blast(er). Luke is Luke, doing the issues he would do in Star Wars, like commandeer Swinetrek from the Pigs in Space sketch to seek out Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew, additionally alongside for the journey). This leaves Mark to be, effectively, Mark; doing impersonations, telling jokes, singing and dancing. And it really works. We even get to see C-3PO (Anthony Daniels) tap dance (and Gonzo’s fiendish Dearth Nadir).
Carol Burnett (02/08/1981)
What can one say about Carol Burnett that hasn’t been stated earlier than 1,000,000 occasions over? The comedienne flawlessly builds up “frustration” on the surrounding zaniness all through the episode earlier than shedding it on Kermit. It’s a grasp of the craft tempering her supply for the betterment of the present, and it is superb to observe. Burnett even sings, a expertise she does not use usually, and he or she’s good. The closing, although, nails it as she tries in useless to do the “Lonely Asparagus Sketch” dressed as an asparagus. Fun truth: the episode is the one one to win an Emmy for writing.