What if Statler and Waldorf actually faced repercussions for constantly heckling The Muppet Show? That was the question Saturday Night Live sought to answer in a sketch parodying the beloved variety show, which was recently published on Disney+. Kenan Thompson and guest host Keegan-Michael Key played security guards for the theater, and they constantly tried to stop Statler and Waldorf from interrupting Kermit. While the sketch was quite funny, a handful of Muppets fans found it in poor taste, since Sunday was the anniversary of Jim Henson's death.
The sketch opened with a couple of quick jokes about the Marvel shows on Disney+ before introducing The Muppet Show. Kermit started the show as he normally would, with Statler and Waldorf (Beck Bennett and Mikey Day) making their first joke at the frog's expense. Then, Kermit introduced Melissa Villaseñor doing a great Lily Tomlin impression. After another joke from Statler and Waldorf, Thompson and Key came in to yell at the hecklers.
Of course, this didn't stop Statler and Waldorf from joking. Key went up the balcony to beat up Waldorf before Thompson had to calm him down. This left the two old men completely shaken. "My eyes are swollen, I can't even see the stage," Waldorf said. "You're not missing much!" Statler replied. This prompted Thompson to lash out too.
Key returned, and the two bouncers decided to kick Statler and Waldorf out. They picked up the two puppets without realizing they don't have any legs! They apologized. "We didn't know y'all were veterans," Thompson said. "Thank you for your service," Key said. At this point, Kermit yelled at them to keep it down because they were still trying to do a show. "Yeah, trying and failing!" Statler said. Key and Thompson laughed at this one, prompting Key to ask if he could try one. "Kramer, you stupid," Key then yelled to Kermit before the end of the sketch.prevnext
Jim Henson I’m so sorry for this disrespect on your death anniversary https://t.co/5tZ7EXuPyd— trash bag of gas (@oliviascenna) May 16, 2021
The sketch was written by Dan Bulla, Gary Richardson, Mickey Day, and Steven Castillo, who called it "one of my favorite things I've ever done on the show." Many viewers who responded to Castillo loved the sketch. "This was one of the funniest things on SNL in a while. Congrats to the puppeteers who did a great job of mimicking Muppet behaviors, like Kermit squashing his face, or when Waldorf was shaking in fear. So well done," one fan wrote.prevnext
Omfggggg did they know they were doing this on the anniversary of Henson's death too?? Lmaooooo https://t.co/FE1NnyHRpm— ✨UNFOLLOW ATDISNEYAGAIN✨ #metoo #BLM she/her (@matoaka23) May 16, 2021
However, many Muppets fans pointed out that the sketch aired hours before the 31st anniversary of Henson's death. Henson died on May 16, 1990, at age 53.prevnext
Fuck SNL, this is just distasteful in every regard
It feels like they are TRYING to be sued at this point, last week with Nintendo, this week with the Muppets and Disney
Both of these were unauthorized uses of the characters targeted towards children used in awful ways.— IronAidan07 (@IronAidanD) May 16, 2021
Henson also had a difficult relationship with SNL. In the 1970s, Henson hoped to make puppeteering projects that appeared to adults, so Lorne Michaels allowed him to create "The Land of Gorch" sketches during the first season of SNL. The SNL writers and cast members hated the sketches, and eventually, everyone agreed that the experiment never worked out. Coincidentally, the real Tomlin appeared in one of the sketches that aired when she hosted SNL in November 1975.prevnext
Even though it still had its funny moments. That Muppet skit on SNL made me appreciate the hard work of actual puppeteers more then I already have. Jim Henson to meis the King of puppets. https://t.co/yomCoQwqhI— Deirdre ♥️’s Hiddles2🌞🐍♏️ 🕉🎭❤️is🆓🎵🏳️🌈 (@LuvsGoddess10) May 16, 2021
"Even though it still had its funny moments. That Muppet skit on SNL made me appreciate the hard work of actual puppeteers more than I already have. Jim Henson to me is the King of puppets," one fan wrote.prevnext