Fact: There are over 2,800 Muppet characters listed on the Muppet Wiki. Fact: There are certain Muppet fans who know more of these characters than the average human being. Fact: The ToughPigs writers are among these uber-fans.
We made up our own game to test our usually-useless knowledge of all things Muppet (the rules of which we’ll explain in a moment) called The Random Muppet Challenge. In the first round, ToughPigs writers Ryan Roe and Anthony Strand went head-to-head. In the second round, I challenged Ryan. And now, we’re splitting the difference with myself versus Anthony Strand!
Read on to see how round 3 of The Random Muppet Challenge goes, and then feel free to play a few rounds yourself!
Joe Hennes: Hello, Anthony! Would you like to play a game?
Anthony Strand: I would! The Random Muppet Challenge?
Joe: You bet! We’ll take turns clicking on that handy “Random Muppet Character” button on the Muppet Wiki, and trying to stump each other on obscure Muppets. We’ll have to guess the Muppet production, the performer, and a little something about him/her/it. The winner gets his own article on the Muppet Wiki.
Anthony: The Peter Savieri Award, I call it.
Joe: I can think of no higher honor. Any predictions on how this will go?
Anthony: I predict that each of us will get at least one Joey Mazzarino character with that same voice.
Joe: I predict more Hoobs, Mopatop, and Dog City than Sesame Street and Muppet Show. I also predict that you will come out ahead over me.
Anthony: A bold statement from one of the two Toughest Pigs. Okay, so your first Random Muppet is . . . Lady Agatha.
Joe: Yikes.. that’s a rough start.
Anthony: Guesses are free!
Joe: Okay, Lady Agatha was on The Muppet Show, as performed by Frank Oz, and she was some sort of witch or gypsy.
Anthony: That is 100% wrong. You are the Peter Falk of today.
Joe: I do enjoy selling stolen watches.
Anthony: She’s an aristocrat played by Camille Bonora on two “Mysterious Theater” segments on Sesame Street.
Joe: Of course she is.
Anthony: She “lives in a mansion with her husband, Sir Rodney, and their butler, Wodehouse.” So that’s a cute reference.
Joe: Not cute enough to give me any points!
Joe: Okay, you’ve got an equally difficult one: Sofie.
Anthony: Sofie, eh? Ol’ Soph Monster? That’s a monster who lives in the couch, played by Jerry Nelson with a British accent on an episode of The Secret Life of Toys.
Joe: Yes!!! No. None of that is a yes. Sofie is, in fact, a humanoid little girl from Big Bag, brought to life by the great Alice Dinnean. Nobody knows anything about her, because nobody has ever watched Big Bag.
Anthony: I saw about five minutes of Big Bag once over at my friend Vigen’s house, back when he had Cartoon Network and I didn’t. He wasn’t nearly as excited about it as I was
Also it was terrible.
Joe: And was Sofie in that episode?
Anthony: It’s entirely possible. If only we’d finished that episode instead of playing Sonic 2, I’d be in the lead right now.
Anthony: Okay, you got the next one – King Rupert the Second.
Joe: Oh good, I’ve heard of him! But I also get him confused with King Goshposh.
Anthony: Right, so which one is this?
Joe: I’ll start with what I know: He’s the king character played by Jim Henson. And he’s either from Hey, Cinderella or The Frog Prince. So I’ll go with… The Frog Prince?
Anthony: You are correct!
Joe: That’s great!! Here, have a cigar.
Anthony: Thank you, siah.
Joe: And then just, like, attach it to your lower lip.
Anthony: According to the Wiki, Rupert actually doesn’t have the cigar. Which I have no memory of, which means I should rewatch The Frog Prince.
Joe: As everyone reading this article should.
Anthony: Preferably while enjoying a popover.
Joe: Okay, here’s your next random Muppet: The very random Big Mouse.
Anthony: Oh, I know this! It’s Miss Mousey’s gigantic boyfriend, played by Richard Hunt in The Muppets’ Valentine Show. My wife and I watch that on Valentine’s Day every single year.
Joe: You got it! It always seemed weird to me that Miss Mousey dated a guy who was roughly 25x larger than her.
Anthony: Don’t knock it ’til you try it, I always say.
Joe: Dating a giant or dating someone as small as your hand?
Anthony: The next Random Muppet is Sacrificial Idol.
Joe: That’s a pretty generic name, but I think I know who that is. That’s the four-armed idol from the “Little Help With My Friends” segment on The Muppet Show, performed by Jerry Nelson. Ammiright???
Anthony: You are! That’s exactly who that is. Also, the Muppet Wiki page for it is very entertaining. So click that link, readers!
Joe: It’s also one of my favorite Janice spotlights, so that’s awesome.
Anthony: Yeah, it’s great. Janice, the Beatles, human sacrifice – all my favorites.
Joe: Okay, your next whatever thing is Brool.
Anthony: Brool is too cool for school!
Joe: You know it, fool!
Anthony: It’s probably a flower-based lifeform that befriends Mokey Fraggle and convinces her to convert to onions, leaving all of the other Fraggles deprived of radishes and giving Mokey bad breath. Played by John Pattison.
Joe: I’m so disappointed that you’re not correct.
Anthony: That would be a good one, right?!
Joe: But you did get the production right: Brool is from Fraggle Rock. Brool is one of Cantus’s Minstrels.
Anthony: Oh, that makes sense!
Joe: He plays some sort of string instrument. And he’s performed by your favorite: Tim Gosley.
Anthony: #1 all-time!
Joe: Not to be confused with the dad from Happy Days.
Anthony: Brool is the Father Dowling of Fraggle Rock.
Anthony: The next one is: Lightning.
Joe: Like, the thing that comes from the sky.
Anthony: That’s the word I said to you, yes.
Joe: Well. Lightning. That’s probably a racehorse, played by Marty Robinson on an episode of Sesame Street. He taught a lesson about the finer strategies of off track betting.
Anthony: Not far off, in a sense! It is Sesame Street, specifically “Elmo Saves Christmas”. It’s Joey Mazzarino as the little reindeer, doing that same voice.
Joe: I KNEW THAT ONE! I mean, I knew it in retrospect. Not back when you asked.
Anthony: A likely story!
Joe: Dumb ol’ Lightning.
Anthony: He’s pretty obnoxious, all right.
Joe: Okay, here’s your next gimme: The hard-to-spell Ferlinghetti Donizetti.
Anthony: Oh, that guy! That’s a poet on Sesame Street that looks like Fat Blue in a stocking cap and goatee. Played by Kevin Clash, I think.
Joe: That is correct! And, unbeknownst to me, the Wiki says he was played by Richard Hunt for a few years.
Anthony: Ooh, now I want to see that!
Joe: Just think: Ferlinghetti Donizetti had the same origin story as Elmo.
Anthony: They’re exactly the same. They even have the same floppity arms.
Joe: In another universe, Tickle Me Ferlinghetti Donizetti would have been the big Christmas toy.
Anthony: Oh yeah, I saw that episode of Sliders.
Anthony: Okay, ready for your last one?
Joe: I very much am!
Anthony: Wow, it’s Football Stenchman
Joe: OH BOY. Football Stenchman. Of the Hartford Stenchmans.
Anthony: One of their finest sons.
Joe: I actually went to high school with his brother, Badminton Stenchman. Okay, Football Stenchman is from Dog City, and he’s a doggie quarterback played by Gordon Robertson. He also smells bad.
Anthony: No, although that would make sense! He’s in Elmo in Grouchland.
Joe: I should’ve guessed that he was a Grouch, but I thought that would be profiling.
Anthony: Still wrong! He’s not a grouch, he’s one of the two guards for the Queen of Trash.
Joe: Oh wow!
Anthony: And, most remarkably of all, he’s played by Steve Whitmire.
Joe: Double wow!
Anthony: “Performer of beloved Muppet characters like Kermit the Frog, Rizzo the Rat, Wembley Fraggle, and Football Stenchman”.
Joe: I hope the Queen of Trash knew how good she had it.
Joe: Okay, here’s your last Thingy Thing: Galahad.
Anthony: Galahad, eh?
Joe: No, just Galahad.
Anthony: I guess it’s probably one of those Elvises from one of Muppets Tonight sketches. Played by Brian Henson maybe.
Joe: You are so close, it’s painful. He’s from a Muppets Tonight sketch with Elvises, but he’s not an Elvis.
Anthony: No kidding!
Joe: He’s just boring ol’ Galahad, hanging out with the Elvises in Arthurian times.
Joe: And he’s got Kevin Clash’s hand in his head.
Anthony: Well, good for him! All I remember from that sketch is “That makes me want to dance a lot!”/”Not you, Dance-a-lot!”
Joe: I didn’t know the Muppets were into permanent marker humor.
Anthony: So what’s the final score?
Joe: The final tally is 7 points to me, 8 for our victor and new champion Anthony Strand! Congratulations, Cap’n.
Anthony: Thank you, Mr. Data.
Joe: New heading?
Anthony: Set course for the planet Brool.
Joe: Nice callback! And a great place to end.
Click here to date a giant rat on the ToughPigs forum!
by Joe Hennes and Anthony Strand