Muppets Tonight

Muppets Tonight
Muppets Tonight
Clifford, host of Muppets Tonight
Genre Comedy
Format Live-action/puppet
Created by Jim Henson Productions
Written by Greg V. Fera
Brian Henson
Tom Trbovich
Gary Halvorson
Presented by Clifford
Starring Dave Goelz
Brian Henson
Jerry Nelson
Steve Whitmire
Kevin Clash
Bill Barretta
Frank Oz
No. of seasons 2
No. of episodes 22 (List of episodes)
Location(s) Hollywood Center Studios
Running time 22–24 minutes
Production company(s) Jim Henson Productions
Original channel ABC[1]
Disney Channel
Nickelodeon (1996-2000)
Original run March 8, 1996 (1996-03-08) – February 8, 1998 (1998-02-08)

Muppets Tonight is a live-action/puppet television series created by Jim Henson Productions and featuring The Muppets. Much like the "MuppeTelevision" segment of The Jim Henson Hour, Muppets Tonight was a continuation of The Muppet Show, set in a television studio, rather than a theater.[2]



The premise of Muppets Tonight was that Clifford (a Muppet who first appeared on The Jim Henson Hour and was voiced by Kevin Clash) was the host of a variety/talk show on KMUP.[3] The show stuck closely to the Muppet Show format of various skits (mostly featuring the show's human guest star) interspersed with some sort of crisis occurring backstage.


Returning Muppets

New Muppets

Muppets introduced in Muppets Tonight included:

  • A. Ligator (performed by Jerry Nelson) - A pink vulture who serves as the show's announcer.
  • Andy and Randy Pig (performed by Steve Whitmire and Dave Goelz) - Two pigs who are Miss Piggy's nephews.
  • Big Mean Carl (performed by Bill Barretta) - A shaggy monster who is in the category of Muppets eating other Muppets. He also made some audience appearances.
  • Bill the Bubble Guy (performed by Dave Goelz) - Bill the Bubble Guy is a blue-skinned Muppet who can make bubbles come out of his head. He first appeared in the Garth Brooks episode where the Head of the Network threatened to replace Clifford with Bill if Garth Brooks didn't sing one of his country songs.
  • Bobo the Bear (performed by Bill Barretta) - A bear who works as a security guard.
  • Captain Pighead (performed by Steve Whitmire) - A pig who serves as the captain of the new Swinetrek in the "Pigs in Space: Deep Dish Nine" segments.
    • Craniac (performed by Kevin Clash) - An alien with a brain for a head. He is a crew member on the Swinetrek in the "Pigs in Space: Deep Dish Nine" segments.
    • Snorty (performed by Dave Goelz) - A pig who appears in the "Pigs in Space: Deep Dish Nine" segments. He is a parody of Lt. Commander Montgomery "Scotty" Scott.
  • Darci (performed by Leslie Carrara-Rudolph) - She was featured in "The Real World Muppets" segments. Her puppet was previously used as Zondra in The Jim Henson Hour.
  • David Hoggselhoff (performed by Bill Barretta) - A pig who is the star of "Bay of Pigswatch." He is a parody of David Hasselhoff.
  • Dr. Phil van Neuter (performed by Brian Henson) - A mad scientist who hosts "Tales from the Vet." Seeing as Dr. Phil van Neuter is a Live-Hand Muppet, Brian Henson is assisted in performing him by Bill Barretta who operates Dr. Phil van Neuter's hands.
    • Mulch (performed by Kevin Clash) - Dr. Phil van Neuter's assistant. He had been shown in minor parts in earlier Muppet projects.
  • Ernst Stavros Grouper (performed by Bill Barretta) - A grouper with an eyepatch. He is the Chairman and CEO of The Grouper Group which bought out Carni-Vore Industries (the company that owns KMUP) in the episode that guest starred Don Rickles and Coolio. He is a parody of Ernst Stavro Blofeld.
  • Gary Cahuenga (performed by Dave Goelz) - A ventriloquist's dummy with a mind of his own.
  • Howard Tubman (performed by Bill Barretta) - A rich food-loving pig who was featured in "The Tubmans of Porksmith."
  • Johnny Fiama (performed by Bill Barretta) - A Rat Pack-style singer.
  • Jowls (performed by Jerry Nelson) - A wrinkly faced man who leads the Muppets Tonight Band.
  • Mr. Poodlepants (performed by Steve Whitmire) - An eccentric character with a strange fashion style.
  • Nigel (performed by Brian Henson) - He serves as the show's stressed-out director. He resembles Droop from "The Muppet Show."
  • Pepe (performed by Bill Barretta) - A king prawn who serves as the elevator operator and commissary cook. He is often paired up with Seymour.
  • Seymour (performed by Brian Henson) - An elephant who serves as the elevator operator and commissary cook. He is often paired with Pepe. Seymour the Elephant was dropped after the show ended. Pepe stated at MuppetFest that Seymour is currently living in a condo in Florida. In a 2008 interview, Pepe reported that Seymour's green card expired and he was subsequently deported to India where he works in a zoo.
  • Snookie Blyer - (performed by Bill Barretta) - The host of the game show "Swift Wits."
  • Spamela Hamderson (performed by Leslie Carrara-Rudolph) - A pig who is a spoof of Pamela Anderson.
  • Zippity Zap (performed by Bill Barretta) - A frog who is one of the crew members on the show.

Some of these went on to appear in later Muppet productions, particularly Pepe the Prawn, who has become a regular in the most recent Muppet productions.


Among the regular sketches were:

  • At the Bar - A UK sketch where the unseen Mr. Callahan who is a regular customer at a bar owned by Polly Lobster and Clueless Morgan.
  • Bay of Pigswatch - A parody of Baywatch starring David Hoggselhoff, Spamela Hamderson, and Andy and Randy Pig.
  • E-I-E-I-O R - In a parody of ER, it features Fozzie Bear working at a hospital where the doctors and patients pass around humor. Fozzie is assisted by Dr. Pain, Ernst Stavro Grouper, and an Afghan Hound.
  • Fairyland PD - A UK sketch where Clifford and Bobo work as detectives that solve mysteries revolving around nursery rhymes.
  • Great Moments in Elvis History - A sketch where the moments in history are reenacted by a bunch of Muppet versions of Elvis Presley.
  • Pigs In Space: Deep Dish Nine - In a sequel to "Pigs in Space," Miss Piggy is featured on the new Swinetrek with a different crew.
  • Screen Tests - A bunch of screen tests that featured the Muppets auditioning in a movie that featured the guest stars of the episodes it was featured in.
  • Swift Wits - This UK sketch is a game show stars Snookie Blyer.
  • Tales from the Vet - In a parody of "Tales from the Crypt," Dr. Phil van Neuter tells scary stories revolving around animals.
  • The Eagle's Nest - Sam the Eagle talks about politics and other issues with Andy and Randy Pig as his recurring guests.
  • The Johnny Fiama Show - A talk show hosted by Johnny Fiama.
  • The Real World Muppets - A spoof of The Real World that follows Clifford, Rizzo, Bobo, Bill the Bubble Guy, and Darci living together in one house.
  • The Tubmans of Porksmith - This sketch follows the comical misadventures of a rich food-loving pig named Howard Tubman and his butler Carter. It was reworked into Boarshead Revisited in Season Two.
  • Thor, God of Thunder - This sketch deals with Thor doing every day mundane tasks.

Series run

The show ran from 1996 to 1998. There were 22 episodes produced in two batches. 13 episodes were ordered by ABC, though only ten of them were run in the 1995-96 TV season. The program was then purchased by the Disney Channel, which ordered a further nine episodes and aired these along with the three episodes ABC did not air, in the 1997-98 season. One of the nine newly-produced episodes was a clip show compilation culled from the earlier episodes.

In the United Kingdom the show was transmitted at 7pm on Friday evenings on BBC1.

Guest stars

Unlike the original Muppet Show, most episodes of Muppets Tonight featured multiple guest stars. Typically, there would be one principal guest, but other celebrities would make small walk-on appearances. For example, the Garth Brooks episode (aired as episode #2) features a cameo from Leonard Nimoy.



Muppet Performers

  • Bill Barretta - Behemoth, Big Mean Carl, Bobo the Bear, Clueless Morgan, David Hoggselhoff, Doglion, Elvises, Ernst Stavros Grouper, Hands of Dr. Phil van Neuter, Howard Tubman, Johnny Fiama, J.P. Grosse, Pepe the King Prawn, Rowlf the Dog, Snookie Blyer, Zippity Zap, Zeus
  • Leslie Carrara-Rudolph - Spamela Hamderson, Darci, Floor Manager
  • Kevin Clash - Clifford, Carter, Craniac, Mulch, Polly Lobster
  • Dave Goelz - Beauregard, Bill the Bubble Guy, Dr. Bunsen Honeydew, Dr. Pain, Gary Cahuenga, Gonzo the Great, Randy Pig, Snorty, Waldorf
  • Brian Henson - Dr. Phil van Neuter, Elvises, Nigel, Sal Minella, Seymour the Elephant, Thor
  • John Henson - Sweetums
  • Jerry Nelson - A. Ligator, Camilla the Chicken, Dr. Julius Strangepork, Elvises, Jowls, Mama Fiama, Statler
  • Frank Oz - Animal, Fozzie Bear, Miss Piggy, Sam the Eagle
  • Steve Whitmire - Kermit the Frog, Andy Pig, Beaker, Captain Pighead, Foo-Foo, George the Janitor, Mr. Poodlepants, Rizzo the Rat

Additional Muppets performed by Brad Abrell, Greg Ballora, Phil Baron, Tim Blaney, Pat Brymer, Julianne Buescher, Kevin Carlson, Augie Castagnola, Thomas Fountain, Liz Gandora, Terri Hardin, John Kennedy, Jennifer Keyes, Bruce Lanoil, Doug Legacy, Len Levitt, Drew Massey, Steven Ritz, David Rudman, Jeff Schnell, Joe Self, Lisa Thompson, Leif Tilden, and Allan Trautman


External links

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