Over 140 episodes of The Muppet Show and it’s 90s spin-off Muppets Tonight, Kermit and the crew have befriended a load of famous people. Each episode guest-starred a different celebrity, from old school entertainers like Bruce Forsyth to superstar musicians like (The Artist Formerly Known as) Prince.
So when it came time for Piggy, Fozzie and Gonzo to hit the big screen, they naturally brought along some of their showbiz pals.
Here are just some of our favourite celebrity appearances in the Muppet films from over the years.
1. Steve Martin (The Muppet Movie – 1979)
Role: Insolent Waiter. This sarcastic fellow serves Piggy and Kermit the only thing within their price range – one of the finest sparkling wines from Idaho.
Key Line: ‘Don’t you want to smell the bottle-cap?’
2. Richard Pryor (The Muppet Movie)
Role: Balloon Vendor. At the county fair, he tries to up-sell Gonzo on some of his wares.
Key Line: ‘A beautiful chicken like that deserves two balloons!’
3. Orson Welles (The Muppet Movie)
Role: Hollywood bigshot Lew Lord. He makes the Muppets’ dreams come true by signing them to his studio. The character’s name is an obvious homage to the Muppets’ real-life producer Lord Lew Grade.
Key Line: ‘Miss Tracy, prepare the standard ‘Rich and Famous’ contract for Kermit the Frog and Company.’
4. Paul Williams (The Muppet Movie)
Role: Piano Player at a dive bar.
Key Line: ‘Showtime! Showtime at the El Sleazo!’
Williams co-wrote all the movie’s songs – including Kermit’s anthem, Rainbow Connection. You might also know his songs in Bugsy Malone, and as that small guy who accepted Daft Punk’s Grammy earlier this year.
5. John Cleese (The Great Muppet Caper – 1981)
Credited Role: Neville. In an effort to maintain her ruse of being a high-powered fashion designer, Miss Piggy breaks into a well-to-do London townhouse, much to the mild apathy of its stuffy British inhabitants.
Key Line: ‘There’s a… pig… climbing up the outside of our house.’
6. Peter Falk (The Great Muppet Caper)
Role: Man in Park (uncredited). With Kermit at his lowest ebb in the movie, ol’ Columbo himself spots the frog and claims to be able to see his whole story
Key Line: ‘I know exactly what happened to you. You and your brother-in-law, Bernie, cashed in your stock certificates and your insurance policy and you went out and bought a dry cleaning establishment.’
7. Joan Rivers (The Muppets Take Manhattan – 1984)
Role: Eileen, Miss Piggy’s colleague at a department store perfume counter who tries to cheer her up/
Key Line: Piggy: ‘Do you think I’m pretty?’ Eileen: ‘You’re more than pretty!’ Piggy: ‘Gorgeous?’ Eileen: ‘Don’t push it, pig.’
8. Michael Caine (The Muppet Christmas Carol)
Role: Ebenezer Scrooge. Caine doesn’t just make a cameo, he’s the star attraction here.
Key Line: ‘If I could work my will, every idiot who goes around with “a Merry Christmas” on his lips would be cooked with his own turkey and buried with a stake of holly through his heart!’
9. Kevin Bishop (Muppet Treasure Island – 1996)
Role: Jim Hawkins. The star of The Kevin Bishop Show and Keith Lemon: The Film was once the lead in a Muppet movie!
Key Line: Jim: ‘I hate my life.’ Gonzo: ‘I hate your life too.’
10. Jennifer Saunders (Muppet Treasure Island)
Role: Mrs Bluebridge, the proprietor of the Admiral Benbow Inn.
Key Line: ‘Look at the state of this place! How did it get to be such a pigsty’ <a group of pig patrons snort in disgust> ‘No offence, gents’
11. Billy Connolly (Muppet Treasure Island)
Role: Billy Bones, the old sea dog who gives young Jim the map to buried treasure before his untimely death. By our estimation, he’s the only character to die in a Muppet film.
Key line: ‘Beware runnin’ with scissors or any other pointy object. It’s all good fun, until somebody loses a — Ahhhh!’
12. ‘Hollywood’ Hulk Hogan (Muppets from Space – 1999)
Role: ‘Hollywood’ Hulk Hogan. In this short part, the Hulkster breaks the 4th wall and speaks directly to his fans. But he doesn’t address why a celebrity like him is working security for Jeffrey Tambor’s character.
Key Line: ‘This is for all my NWA-ites out there: I will continue to dominate wrestling!’
13. Katie Holmes and Joshua Jackson (Muppets from Space)
Roles: Pacey and Joey, their characters from Dawson’s Creek. For reasons unbeknownst to anyone, they’re there to see Gonzo’s mothership arrive on Earth.
Key Line: Joey: ‘Too bad Dawson isn’t here for this.’ Pacey: ‘Yeah, tell me about it – this whole situation is like something out of one of his sci-fi movies.’
We really love Muppets from Space, but the topical late-90s references really date it badly.
14. Dave Grohl (The Muppets – 2011)
Role: Animool, the drummer for The Moopets: a poor Muppet ‘tribute act’.
Key line: ‘No RVs!’
15. Emily Blunt (The Muppets)
Role: Miss Piggy’s receptionist at Vogue Magazine. This is likely a reference to a similar role Blunt played in The Devil Wears Prada.
Key Line: ‘She is the plus-size editor. She is a huge deal and extremely busy.’
16. Neil Patrick Harris (The Muppets)
Role: Neil Patrick Harris. He plays one of many celebrities manning the phone bank during the Muppets telethon.
Key Line: [on telephone] ‘No, I don’t know why I’m not hosting this.’
17. Jim Parsons (The Muppets)
Role: The human version of Walter in the song ‘Man or Muppet’.
Key Line: ‘I’m a very manly Muppet’
18. Zach Galifianakis (The Muppets)
Role: Hobo Joe, one of the gentlemen of the road who turn up for the Muppet Telethon.
Key Line: ‘Why does everybody forget about Hobo Joe?’
Watch out for the return of Hobo Joe in Muppets Most Wanted! In fact, the new film exceeds all the other Muppet movies in terms of star power. It feature over 30 celebrity cameos from fine folk such as Tom Hiddleston and Lady Gaga!