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Lucas Ervin - Alright, I’m back, and I hope you guys enjoyed the first week. If not and you’re still reading this, then you’re obviously gluttons for punishment, sitting uncomfortably up in the theater box. Either way, this week, we have a list of sketches that center around some of the absolute funniest hosts that have ever worked with the Muppets. While I couldn’t fit all of the hilarious hosts into one week, I want to say that I’m sorry I can’t cover Gilda Radner, Dom DeLouise, Loretta Swit, George Burns, Jean Stapleton, James Coco, and several others. Having said that, let’s get on with Week Two of The Muppet Show clips…
93 - Madeline Kahn’s Beautiful Day- This sketch was originally done on The Ed Sullivan Show, but instead of Madeline Kahn they had a female Muppet character trying to find the positive aspects of her day, despite the rude interruptions of a nasty blue monster named Beautiful Day, hence the title of the sketch. Here Madeline tries enjoying a nice day in the park, even though the monster Doglion- performed by Jerry Nelson- is doing his best to ruin everything, like knocking over statues and shooting a bird. When Jim started making The Muppet Movie, he asked Madeline Kahn to make a cameo in the film, where she played a sketchy woman at a bar who tried picking up Kermit, and when he rejected her, she nearly got him beaten up by a sailor.
92 - Milton Berle vs. Statler & Waldorf- Speaking of handling problems, here’s Uncle Miltie on stage trying to do a comedy monologue but ends up being repeatedly heckled by Statler and Waldorf. At this time in his life, Berle had been doing stand-up for quite some time, having done vaudeville before television, so he’s prepared to deal with hecklers just in case. But Statler and Waldorf have had enough practice with making fun of Fozzie and the others, so it appears as if they may have their work cut out for them. Like several guest stars during the second season, Mr. Berle appeared in The Muppet Movie as a fast-talking car dealer who inadvertently sells Kermit, Fozzie and Gonzo a car for $11.95, thanks to Sweetums.
91 - Steve Martin: Dueling Banjos- Probably still one of the most well-known actors and comedians of our time, Kermit actually had to cancel the show for the evening Martin was there due to some new acts he was opening auditions for. So with an empty house and a ticked-off guest star, the usual performers became the audience for Steve’s jokes and music in between Kermit holding the auditions. Steve Martin had such a wonderful time on The Muppet Show that Jim Henson asked him if he’d be up for making a cameo in The Muppet Movie where he played an irritated waiter during the scene where Kermit and Miss Piggy go on their first date while heading to Hollywood.
90 - Wally Boag’s Balloons- On July 17th, 1955, Mr. Wally Boag opened up the Golden Horseshoe Revue in Disneyland, California. He had done five shows a day ever since until 1986, and holds the Guinness Book of World Records for having done over 32,000 shows, the greatest number of theatrical performances, ever. He was an amazing balloon animal artist as well as quick on his feet with quick one-liners and slapstick humor. On top of that, he was also Steve Martin’s biggest influence in comedy, and had worked with Boag at Disneyland. So naturally, Jim Henson knew that he fit right in with the Muppets:
89 - Peter Sellers Talk Spot- Within 30 minutes- nay, 25- this guest star proved his amazing ability to slip in and out of several diverse and unique characters like the chameleon that he is; from Inspector Clouseau in The Pink Panther series to Dr. Strangelove, who is now a deeply disturbed massage therapist that ends up tying Link Hogthrob in knots, and every kind of character in between. Here, however, when Kermit tells him he can just be himself when they’re one-on-one, Sellers admits that it’s impossible for him to be himself, and starts tuning his chickens. He also once told Muppeteer Dave Goelz that Gonzo was his favorite, and he sees similarities between him and Clouseau.
88 - Spike Milligan on the Muppet News- A comedic actor who hails from England, this guy could easily pass as Robin Williams’ father. Even as an adult I still enjoy this episode quite a bit, and this also marked the time when The Muppet Show was being seen in 108 countries. Milligan is every bit as weird, audacious and hilarious as any of his Muppet counterparts in this episode, which made it difficult to choose which of his three bits to show for the countdown. I went with the International News, and Jim Henson does a terrific job of keeping up with Milligan’s antics. This is also the only time- save for during season one- where we actually see the Newsman interact with the host, which the Newsman later regrets.
87 - Carol Burnett’s Dancing Partner- During the final season of the show, one of the greatest comediennes ever came on to host, and she didn’t exactly receive the same kind of show Julie Andrews did. Gonzo is holding a dance marathon which irritates her, and later worries about Kermit’s lack of professionalism towards the guest star when he does nothing about it. But she pulls through and even manages to dance with Animal, but just when she’s about to finally do her Lonely Asparagus sketch, the show ends. Years later after Jim Henson passed away, Carol helped out with a Muppet special entitled The Muppets Celebrate Jim Henson and talked about how the Muppets were like a family; “They played, they argued, they sang, they bickered, but through it all, they faced the world together.”