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Episode 201: The Artist Formerly Known as Prince

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Muppets Tonight
Air Date September 13, 1997
Written by Jennifer Barrow, Dick Blasucci, Paul Flaherty, Darin Henry, Jim Lewis, Bernie Keating, Kirk Thatcher and Patric Verrone
Director Brian Henson
PrinceMuppetsTonight

The Muppets' special guest 20px-Prince_symbol.svg.png (also known as The Artist Formerly Known as Prince) visits the show, while Sal takes a correspondence course to become a bone doctor.

Elsewhere, in New York City, Statler and Waldorf look at a big screen advertisement for Muppets Tonight. Statler says that the show was ten times as big, while Waldorf says that it's too bad the show is one tenth as funny. When the pair try changing the channel, they have problems with a big remote.

Skit Highlights

Episode

Picture Description
MT201-01

The Artist Formally Known as Prince arrives at the studio, but Bobo the Bear can't find his name on the list. Prince shows him an album with his symbol (20px-Prince_symbol.svg.png) on it, but Bobo thinks it's Rorschach test and sees his mother doing the mambo with a butterfly on an orange. While Bobo looks for the symbol on his list, Prince heads for the elevator.


Bobo: "Boy, security in this place stinks."

MT201-01b
"Muppets Tonight Theme"
MT201-02

Everyone is wearing Prince-like outfits waiting for his arrival, including the Purple Rain Man. When he gets off the elevator, they begin singing "Delirious", until Prince points out his "leather and lace" phase is over.


Seymour, on the other hand wishes that he knew about the change ahead of time, because he wrecked the pair of leather pants we was wearing.

MT201-03
Clifford introduces the show and shows off Prince's symbol. Bobo rushes onstage to get rid of another image of his mother.
MT201-04

MT201-05
Tales from the Vet: Dr. Phil van Neuter appears upside-down and falls to the floor. Before heading to the nurse, he asks Mulch to play Stephen King's Townhouse of Wax. Instead, Mulch plays footage from Phil's Christmas party from 1993, where he gets drunk from eggnog overdose.
MT201-06
Johnny Fiama complains to Sal Minella that he hasn't ironed his pants yet. Sal explains he's talking a correspondence course on being a bone doctor. He tries out his learnings on Johnny, accidentally putting his head in the reverse direction. Despite this, Johnny feels an improvement in his back.
MT201-07
Zippity Zap aids Clifford in introducing a show Prince made his TV debut on.
Hoo ha
Muppet Hoo-Haw: Prince and the Muppets exchange some country jokes, including one with an alligator that runs amok, running over Kermit at one point.
MT201-08
Kermit reveals to Clifford that he still has a pain in his neck from that injury. Sal offers to help, causing Kermit's head to appear deflated. Kermit too feels his neck is better as he stumbles to the door.
This scene was re-enacted at the MuppetFest panel.
MT201-11

MT201-12
In the commissary, Prince tells Clifford, Rizzo, Pepe and Seymour that he can make a song from anything, even the lunch menu. After hearing what's being served, eh heads to the stage and performs "Starfish and Coffee" with some Muppets. Back in the commissary, Rizzo bets he can't do it with the desert menu, which happens to have "Raspberry Sorbet."
MT201-13

MT201-14
Sal gives Gonzo a treatment by curling him up into a ball. Johnny finds his pants still un-ironed and tells Sal that his career is a "pants ironer", and not a "boniologist". Sal complies, until the mailman arrives with his new book: Pop-Up Acupuncture.
MT201-09
Big Mean Carl is now "Carl the Big Mean Bubble Guy". Bill the Bubble Guy protests his act has been stolen, but Carl eats him and belches out some bubbles.
MT201-10
Statler and Waldorf find the show is playing on a TV screen in Time Square ten times as big (but still 1/10th as funny). They try changing the channel, but are crushed under the large remote.
MT201-15
Gary Cahuenga approaches Prince, asking him if he'd like to work with a dummy. Prince remarks "In my business, they're called executives!" Clifford and Rizzo propose the finale act to him: they head to a football stadium where many purple rats form his symbol. Prince explains that his name has a very spiritual meaning to him and performs a number he'd rather do.
MT201-16
Prince plays "She Gave Her Angels" while some Whatnots and angels enact the song.
MT201-17
The gang comes onstage and want him to do another song like that. Prince has something else in mind: "Let's Go Crazy."
MT201-18
Johnny, fed up his pants are still un-ironed, finds Sal giving an acupuncture treatment to Bobo. However, Sal isn't getting the lesson on how to remove them until next week and Bobo chases him out of the room.

Notes

  • The Disney Channel airing of the episode features the following edits versus the UK airing:
    • The scene following the theme song is shortened, particularly removing all the lines by the Purple Rain Man.
    • Clifford's intro is removed.
    • Andy, Randy and Spamala's joke in "Muppet Hoo-Haw" is removed.
    • Kermit's exit following Sal fixing his neck is shortened.
    • Carl's act is moved later in the show.
    • Prince's talk with Gary is removed.
  • A clip of Kermit singing "Once in a Lifetime" from Episode 109: Whoopi Goldberg can be seen on the TV in the commissary.
  • A clip of Bay of Pigswatch from Episode 105: Cindy Crawford can be seen on the screens of the control room.
  • A clip of Pigs in Space: Deep Dish Nine from Episode 102: Garth Brooks can be seen on the screens of the control room.
  • ABC canceled the show after the first season and only aired the first ten episodes. However, Henson had already contracted for a second season, which subsequently aired in 1997 on the Disney Channel. This marks the first episode to air on the new channel as part of season 2.
  • This episode features the first appearance of the commissary. Starting with this episode, Seymour and Pepe work in the commissary, rather than as elevator operators.
  • This episode was production number 206

Performers

Bill Barretta - Johnny Fiama, Carl, Pepe, Bobo, Zippity Zap
Kevin Clash - Clifford and Mulch
Dave Goelz - Waldorf, Gonzo, Dr. Bunsen Honeydew, Randy Pig, Gary Cahuenga, Bill the Bubble Guy, Purple Rainman, Hillbilly
Brian Henson - Sal Minella, Seymour, Dr. Phil Van Neuter, Nigel
Jerry Nelson - Statler
Steve Whitmire - Kermit, Rizzo, Andy Pig, Beaker, Eugene
Leslie Carrara-Rudolph - Spamela Hamderson, Muppets Tonight floor manager
Brad Abrell
Tim Blaney
Kevin Carlson
Len Levitt
Drew Massey
David Rudman
Joe Selph

Cast

Guest Star:

20px-Prince_symbol.svg.png

Muppets:

Clifford, Sal Minella, Johnny Fiama, Kermit the Frog, Gonzo, Rizzo the Rat, Seymour, Pepe the King Prawn, Statler and Waldorf, Bobo the Bear, Bill the Bubble Guy, Dr. Phil van Neuter, Mulch, Big Mean Carl, Spamela Hamderson, Andy and Randy Pig, Gary Cahuenga, Zippity Zap, Purple Rainman, Muppets Tonight floor manager, Chip, Prince Muppet, Whatnots

Background Muppets:

Dr. Bunsen Honeydew, Beaker, Eugene, Nigel, Agnes Stonewick, Clarissa, Chickens, Cows, Chip, Begoony, Green Scoff, Alligator, Pokey


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