The BEST Episodes of The Muppet Show
Every episode ever - ranked by fan votes!
Last Updated: Aug 20, 2020
The Muppet Show is a British-American television program produced by puppeteer Jim Henson and featuring Muppets. After two pilot episodes were produced in 1974 and 1975, the show premiered on September 5, 1976, and five series were produced until March 15, 1981, lasting 120 episodes. The program shows a vaudeville- or music hall-style song-and-dance variety show, as well as glimpses behind the scenes of such a show. Kermit the Frog stars as a showrunner who tries to keep control of the antics of the other Muppet characters (and his temper), as well as keep the guest stars happy. The show was known for outrageous physical slapstick, sometimes absurdist comedy, and humorous parodies. Each episode also featured a human guest star. As the show's popularity rose, many celebrities were eager to perform with the Muppets on television and in film.
#1 - Debbie Harry
Season 5 - Episode 20 - Aired Aug 4, 1980
Robin's Frog Scout troop visits the show, getting in everyone's way backstage. They ask Debbie for help earning their punk merit badges, and she teaches them how to do the pogo. When Gonzo cancels his act, the Frog Scouts get their chance to do a performance of close-order drills.
#2 - Zero Mostel
Season 2 - Episode 13 - Aired Dec 13, 1977
Sketches/Songs: "Chopin's Polonaise in a Flat", "What do the Simple Folk Do?", "At the Dance", "Muppet Labs", "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes", "Fears", "Drum Solo by Animal", "Lady Wrestling"
#3 - Alice Cooper
Season 3 - Episode 7 - Aired Nov 2, 1978
Sketches/Songs: "Welcome to my Nightmare", "Muppet Labs", "Toothache", "Somewhere Over the Rainbow", "Once a Year Day", "You and Me", "Pigs In Space", "School's Out"
#4 - Don Knotts
Season 2 - Episode 10 - Aired Nov 28, 1977
Sketches/Songs: "Sweet Gingerbread Man", "Windmills of Your Mind", "Beast of the Week", "Veterinarian's Hospital", "I'm Burlington Bertie", "Talk Spot", "What a Wonderful World", "Swedish Chef", "Lullaby of Birdland"
#5 - Edgar Bergen
Season 2 - Episode 3 - Aired Oct 10, 1977
Sketches/Songs: "Baby Face", "Consider Yourself", "Muppet Newsflash", Gonzo's Act, "Pigs In Space", "Show Me a Rose", Fozzie's Act, "Time in a Bottle", "Down at Papa Joe's", Edgar and Charlie perform
#6 - Marisa Berenson
Season 3 - Episode 14 - Aired Dec 21, 1978
Sketches/Songs: "Russian Pig Dance", "Dance", "Muppet Sports", "Someone to Watch Over Me", "Do-Re-Mi", "Our House", "The Wedding"
#7 - Harry Belafonte
Season 3 - Episode 19 - Aired Feb 15, 1979
Sketches/Songs: "Day-O", "Tea For Two", "Pigs In Space", "Honeysuckle Rose", Animal and Harry play the drums, "Muppet Sports", "Turn the World Around"
#8 - Rudolf Nureyev
Season 2 - Episode 14 - Aired Jan 23, 1978
Sketches/Songs: The Electric Mayhem, A Wagner opera performed, "Swine Lake", "Something's Missing", "Veterinarian's Hospital", "It's Cold Outside", "Clair De Lune", "Top Hat"
#9 - Wally Boag
Season 5 - Episode 19 - Aired Jul 28, 1980
In honor of vaudeville-influenced guest star Wally Boag, the Muppets salute vaudeville, with a balloon animal act, a bagpipe player and a hypnotist. Wally performs acts he made famous at the Golden Horseshoe Revue at Disneyland, including the Pecos Bill teeth-spitting sketch.
#10 - Steve Martin
Season 2 - Episode 6 - Aired Oct 31, 1977
Kermit auditions new acts for the next show. Songs/Sketches: "The Garbage Can Can", "Swannee River", balloons, "Tie a Yellow Ribbit Round an Ole Oak Tree", Baskerville auditions as comedian, Lenny Lizard auditions for emcee, The Four Fazoobs, "Gonzales & Yolanda", "Old Man River", "Ramblin' Guy", "Varisity Drag", "Yes, We Have No Bananas", "Jugglin' Guy", "Flying Zucchini Brothers", Steve plays with Lubbock Lou & the Jug-Huggers.
#11 - Loretta Lynn
Season 3 - Episode 6 - Aired Oct 26, 1978
Sketches/Songs: "You're Looking at Country", "I'm All Alone", "Muppet Newsflash", Fozzie's Act, "At the Dance", "Sentimental Journey", "Oh, Lonesome Me", "Veterinarian's Hospital", "Muppet Newsflash", "The Rhyming Song", "One's on the Way"
#12 - Milton Berle
Season 2 - Episode 8 - Aired Nov 14, 1977
Sketches/Songs: "There are Millions of us Who are Ugly", Milton Berle's monologue, "Pigs In Space", "The Entertainer" (Milton Berle), "The Entertainer" (Miss Piggy), "Who", "Top Banana"
#13 - Spike Milligan
Season 3 - Episode 15 - Aired Jan 18, 1979
Sketches/Songs: "Oklahoma", "An Editorial by Sam The Eagle", "The Music of Scotland", "Muppet Newsflash", "Dog Walk", "America", "The Intergalactic Brotherhood of Man, Including Things", "It's a Small World"
#14 - Avery Schreiber
Season 1 - Episode 23 - Aired Apr 18, 1977
Much is made in this episode about Avery Schreiber's being one half on the comedy duo Burns & Screiber. The other half? First season head writer Jack Burns. This would be the first of a few times when Scooter ends up assisting Miss Piggy in her wacky schemes.
#15 - Senor Wences
Season 5 - Episode 7 - Aired Apr 28, 1980
In honor of Señor Wences and his puppets, Kermit decides to do something new -- a puppet show! Fozzie wants to do a marionette act with a Dancing Clown puppet, but the marionette eventually pulls Fozzie down on the stage with him and takes control of the strings himself.
#16 - Peter Sellers
Season 2 - Episode 19 - Aired Feb 27, 1978
Sketches/Songs: "A Gypsy's Violin", "When", "Down Memory Lane", Masseur sketch, "It's Not Easy Bein' Green", "Muppet Labs", "Cigarettes & Whiskey"
#17 - Paul Simon
Season 5 - Episode 10 - Aired May 19, 1980
Paul inspires Gonzo to be a songwriter. Unfortunately, Gonzo writes songs like "For You": "For youuu... I'd wash my hair with stinky glue, I'd fry my legs and eat them too, I'd put a spider in my shoe -- for yoouuuu!" Paul is stunned. Later, Gonzo's chickens run off with Paul, so Gonzo develops a new obsession -- asparagus. But at the end of the episode both the chickens and the asparagus run away when Paul asks for chicken with a side of asparagus.
#18 - Dizzy Gillespie
Season 4 - Episode 17 - Aired Feb 28, 1980
Statler is sick (of the show), so Waldorf brings his wife Astoria to the show. Meanwhile, Inspector LaBrea of the County Environmental Department arrives backstage to monitor the noise level of the show. LaBrea tells Kermit that to keep the noise down, he has to cut the trumpets for the show. Kermit tries to keep LaBrea busy while Dizzy performs.
#19 - Mark Hamill
Season 4 - Episode 16 - Aired Feb 21, 1980
The regularly-scheduled guest (a terrible singer) is bumped when four stars of Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope suddenly appear in the theater. It's a natural for the Pigs in Space.
#20 - John Cleese
Season 2 - Episode 12 - Aired Dec 5, 1977
Sketches/Songs: "Somebody Stole My Gal", Gonzo's Act, "Muppet Newsflash", Rowlf plays piano, "Pigs In Space", "At the Dance", "Waiting at the Church", "We Got Each Other", "Koozebanian Spoobol", "The Impossible Dream"
#21 - George Burns
Season 2 - Episode 1 - Aired Sep 19, 1977
Sketches/Songs: "Cuento Le Gusta", "Train Back Home", "Chattanooga Choo Choo", "Veterinarian's Hospital", "Wotcher (Knocked 'Em in the Old Kent Road)", "I Won't Dance", "World's Most Powerful Explosive", "Medley"
#22 - Johnny Cash
Season 5 - Episode 22 - Aired Aug 11, 1980
In honor of Johnny Cash's appearance, the show is simulcast over country radio station WHOG, and the radio broadcast threatens to overwhelm the actual show. The head of WHOG, Big Tiny Tall Saddle, insists on making all the decisions. He refuses to let Rowlf go on, and instead schedules Grampaw McGuire and his whistling bricks. Kermit tries to run his own show, but Big Tiny is one of the toughest men alive -- when he's annoyed, he has a habit of wrapping microphone stands around people's necks. Fozzie is replaced by Wally Whoopie, a stand-up comedian who makes fun of the bear -- which inspires Kermit to stand up for his friend, and his show.
#23 - Elton John
Season 2 - Episode 16 - Aired Feb 6, 1978
Sketches/Songs: "Crocodile Rock", "Swedish Chef", "Benny and the Jets", "Veterinarian's Hospital", "Any Old Iron", "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road", "Pigs In Space", "Don't Go Breaking My Heart"
#24 - Phyllis Diller
Season 1 - Episode 20 - Aired Feb 14, 1977
Jim's love of jazz is evident in the performance of "Hugga Wugga". This sketch had evolved from a longtime favorite Henson sketch originally titled "Sclrap Flyapp" in the early sixties. It was originally performed on "The Today Show", "The Tonight Show" and "The Ed Sullivan Show". Jim played with the idea of combining eerie music, visual imagery and special effects. He tied-in one of his favorite songs, "You Are My Sunshine" with this sketch. It was renamed "Hugga Wugga" for Nancy Sinatra's early seventies' Las Vegas show.
#25 - Paul Williams
Season 1 - Episode 6 - Aired Oct 25, 1976
The Paul Williams episode was nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Writing in a Comedy-Variety or Music Series. This marks the beginning of Paul Williams' collaborations with the Muppets. He would later write the music for "Emmett Otter's Jug-band Christmas," "The Muppet Movie" (and provides a cameo), and "The Muppet Christmas Carol". Twenty-five years later, Paul would be the special guest star at the Muppets' first fan convention, MuppetFest, where he participated in a panel discussion and played a special grand finale medley during a live performance of "The Muppet Show". Fran Brill, the main female Muppeteer at the time, makes her Muppet Show debut in this, her first of only two episodes. Dr. Bunsen Honeydew's design was reportedly based on Sir Lew Grade's appearance. During the first season of The Muppet Show, Bunsen would be working alone in the lab. His assistant Beaker will debut in Season Two. Mary Louise must love frogs! She'll sing with them again in the Sandy Duncan and Steve Martin episodes. Having been mercilessly heckled by Statler and Waldorf in his monologues, the writers start to experiment with Fozzie's comedy spot, sensing it may not be working. Last week, Fozzie did impressions and this week he does a duo scene with Scooter. With a few exceptions, the rest of Fozzie's monologues this year will follow their standard format but Fozzie will also start to be used more in sketches and backstage plots in order to salvage the character. In later seasons, Floyd and Janice would become a couple, but in the show's first season, Janice would often be paired with Zoot! In this episode, they appear together in "At the Dance" and "Rowlf's Poetry Corner." Especially in these early episodes, Zoot is featured quite a bit, perhaps due to Jerry Nelson's fleeting availability as Floyd. In later seasons, Zoot would become more mellow and quiet since Dave Goelz tended to agonize over the delivery of Zoot's lines. He saw Zoot as someone who best e