In addition to the Muppets making references to being puppets, it has often been joked (usually by Kermit the Frog) that "Jim Henson had his hand in a lot of things around here," or something to that effect.
- Kermit makes such a joke when asked about Jim Henson by Gene Shalit in a July 11, 1984 interview on Today.
- In an interview featured in the documentary Henson's Place, Kermit says of Henson: "I hear his name bandied about a lot. I don't know him. He seems to have his hand in a lot of things around here. But I don't particularly know what that means."
- Statler and Waldorf comment about Jim Henson at The Television Academy Hall of Fame induction ceremony in 1986. At the conclusion of the song "Jim Is," when the Muppet performers are introduced on stage, Statler and Waldorf make the following exchange from the audience:
- Statler: Who are all these people?
- Waldorf: I think they do things for Henson.
- Statler: Well if they do things for Henson, what does he do?
- Waldorf: Oh I understand he has his hand in a half a dozen things.
- Both: Do'h, ho ho ho!
- Speaking directly to Jim Henson in The Jim Henson Hour Pitch Reel, Kermit says "I see that you, as usual, have your hand in almost everything here."
- During The Muppet Show Live, Kermit introduced Steve Whitmire, stating: "Pay no attention to that guy - he's just a hired hand. That's just a little Muppet humor there."
- Before You Leap is dedicated "For Jim Henson, who first held me up for the world to see." One passage from the book (on page 30) also relies heavily on hand puns: "I met someone else back then who had a big impact on my career. His name was Jim Henson. And although I'm not exactly sure what he did, whatever it was really moved me. Along with Jane, his wife-to-be, Jim was always ready to lend a hand around the Sam and Friends set. Whether it was writing a script, making a prop, or just giving us a lift, Jim was there. But he was more than a handyman. Jim was filled with great ideas and had a remarkable spirit that made you believe that anything was possible. And he wasn't afraid to roll up his sleeves and make it happen. Jim and I had a relationship that just kept growing over the years. It was as if we were a part of each other, connected at the heart as we went arm in arm through life."
- In an interview at the 2011 D23 Expo, Kermit said of Henson: "He certainly elevated me to new heights and had a hand in everything I did."
- Kermit called Jim his "right hand man" at Jim Henson's Musical World in 2012.
When the Sesame Street characters appear in JD's fantasies in the Scrubs episode "My ABCs", JD's diagnosis after consulting Ex Ray's x-ray is "You have a hand inside you." Ray concludes that this explains many things.
In pop culture
The joke of Muppet x-rays showing hands inside or naked Muppets being exposed hands has become a recurring meme and trope in popular culture, beginning in comic strips and extending to pop art and unofficial t-shirt designs.
- Marlon Brando infamously threw temper-tantrums on the set of The Score and would yell things at Frank Oz along the lines of "are you gonna put your hand up my ass and work me like your puppet?"