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Blackouts are short, comic sketches traditional to vaudeville that end with the lights turning off or a quick closing of the curtain. With the advent of television, shows like Laugh-In could follow a punchline with a jump cut to the next sketch (or to a commercial) instead of actually blacking out the lights.
A series of blackouts appeared on the first season of The Muppet Show. They took place in front of a backdrop that had a fountain painted on it. These skits each featured the guest star with a variety of Muppets.
- Zoot has a question for Juliet Prowse: "What's red, long, fuzzy and has one eye?" Juliet doesn't know and neither does Zoot, but it's a Muppet Monster that she's wearing as a boa.
- Joel Grey has gotten a new car and offers to take Gonzo for a "spin", but Gonzo takes him literally.
- Paul Williams explains that one reason he agreed to be a guest star is that it gives him the chance to be the tallest person on the show. Sweetums, Thog, and one of the Mutations prove him wrong.
- Lena Horne tries to ask Animal where her key is, until he uses a mallet to smash her foot.
- Phyllis Diller has her own pocket camera. When Gonzo asks what pictures she took, they were of pockets.
- Vincent Price has to carry a load of wardrobe. Sweetums offers to give him "a hand".
- Ethel Merman tells Hilda about a mouse in her dressing room, and wonders whether she's on a show or in a zoo... then she meets Animal.