The Martians, sometimes called "the Yip-Yips", are interplanetary visitors, presumed to be from the planet Mars, who are terrified by things like clocks, telephones and computers on Sesame Street. They rarely come face-to-face with other characters on the show.
In their skits, these creatures, with squid-like tentacles, large eyes, and antennae, materialize into a room and converse with each other in their native tongue: "Yip-yip-yip-yip... Uh-huh. Uh-huh," done in monotone voices. They often come across common objects and, curious as to their names and functions, the Martians will consult a book presumably containing information about things on Earth. In one skit, for example, the Martians call a computer a television and a typewriter before deciding what it actually is.
Multiple performers have taken on the characters, including Jim Henson, Frank Oz, Jerry Nelson, Richard Hunt, Martin P. Robinson, Kevin Clash, David Rudman, Julianne Buescher, John Tartaglia, Eric Jacobson,Matt Vogel and Leslie Carrara-Rudolph.
The first puppets were originally chenille hats, adapted by Caroly Wilcox.
|Picture||Summary / EKA||Description|
| Grandfather clock |
| The Martians discover a grandfather clock and wonder if it's an Earth person. They consult their book, which says a person is tall, has a face, and has hands. The clock fits the description perfectly. But then the grandfather clock begins chiming the hour, frightening the Martians.
| Telephone |
| The Martians discover a telephone. They say hello to it, and then try mooing, meowing, and clucking at it. None of these bring any response. Then the phone begins to ring. The Martians, thinking it's talking, start making ringing noises back.
| Was Bert captured by Martians? |
| Ernie wakes up and tells Bert it's time to get up, but notices that Bert isn't in his bed. He slowly ponders what happened to his best friend, coming to the conclusion that maybe some Martians took him away in their spaceship. As it turns out, Bert just got up early to fix some oatmeal. Ernie is relieved... until a real spaceship lands and the Martians enter the room.
| Radio |
| The Martians discover a radio. They tune into three different styles of music, none of which they like. Then they tune into some static, which they start joyfully dancing to.
| Sesame Street News: Old MacDonald had a spaceship |
| Old MacDonald tells Kermit that a spaceship has landed on his farm. A dog runs in, with a frisbee in its mouth, and MacDonald says that it's the spaceship. Kermit sets him straight. But before long, a real spaceship lands on the farm, and out of it come the Martians. The scene ends in chaos.
| Bring that Thing |
|The Martians (addressed as Stevie and Jonathan Martian) are the contestants on one of Guy Smiley's game shows. They need to bring him something that involves light (such as a flashlight, a lamp, and the moon, which they have to quickly zoom back into space to get). Their jackpot prize is a pot of lightning bugs.|
| Finding Earth |
| The Martians are looking for the Earth and find pigs in space and the Moon along the way.
| Leaky Faucet |
| The Martians spy a leaky faucet through a kitchen window. As it continues to drip, a Fat Blue woman turns it off, shocked to see that she had been wasting water.|
| Number 16 |
| The Martians look at the number 16.
| The Letter U |
| The Martians find the letter U.
| Letter A |
|The Martians investigate the letter A.|
| Sad |
| Two Martians slam into the side of a fence and declare that they are sad.
| Book |
| The Martians come upon a book which they try to eat, smell and hear before a gust of wind blows the pages open and they realize that they can read it.
| Fan || The Martians examine a fan and are "blown away" by it.|
| Love ||The Martians see Maria and Luis flirting and deduce they're in love.|
| Computer ||The Martians examine a computer and find a game on the computer.|
- Martians appear briefly in the segment for "Outerspace."
- Guy Smiley Takes His Audience to Lunch
- Cameo appearance as audience members when Guy Smiley takes his entire studio audience to lunch.
- Cameo appearance when En Vogue travels on a rocket ship to another planet.
- Big Bird is looking for some 'la-la-ers' throughout the show. At one point, he brings in two Martians saying he's found his la-la-ers, but they disappear.
- While Grover is driving the Sesame Street adults to the theatre, he picks the Martians and some penguins up as passengers. Also in Shawn Colvin's version of I Don't Want to Live on the Moon, a blue Martian appears at the end of the song.
- In the end of the song, a Martian appears to his friend Trisha Yearwood.
- An animated Martian appears in the background among a group of aliens in Noel Cowherd's verse.
- An orange Martian floats outside of Telly's spaceship in the introduction of the "Space Day" playlist.
- The Martians appear as animatronics riding a flying saucer in outer space as they notice all the spaghetti around them.
The characters were referenced in the 2010 "Ask Elmo" program on YouTube.
- Episode 2234 -- The Martians cause trouble for Big Bird.
- Episode 2258 -- The Martians observe Luis's new computer at the Fix-It Shop.
- Episode 3039 -- The Martians discover words and letters all over Sesame Street.
- Episode 3387 -- The Martians observe Biff's 40th birthday party from atop the fence.
- Episode 3681 -- The Martians repair Bob's lamp while Maria's out.
- Pizza the Musical
- Bob makes friends with the Martians, and they all sing together.
- Nonspeaking cameo in the song Brush Boogie, sitting on a wall brushing their nonexistent teeth.
- A song with two Martians and their baby.
- A song by Telly with the Martians.
- Bert is trying to read his book when Ernie starts singing a song about addition. As Ernie sings, he's joined by Cookie Monster and Grover, some cows, an elephant, and a Martian. At the end of the song, Ernie leaves Bert with a room full of singing monsters and animals.
- Big Bird, Miles, and Gabi are trying to illustrate to Rosita that everyone has a different way of communicate that makes them sound unique. The Martians appeared with the White Rabbit, a turtle, The Count, a Cowboy with a Drawl, Oscar the Grouch, Alfred Duck, Opera Singer, a Honker, and a Dinger to show how they speak.
- A music video with Eurovision winner Lena, Ernie, and Bert.
Around the time of the 35th Anniversary of the program, licensees finally started to notice and recall the characters. In the latter half of 2003, retail outlet Hot Topic led the way with the first-known official Yip Yip merchandising, a "vintage"-looking t-shirt with two Martians (pictured).
This was followed in the fall of 2004 with Gund bean-bag toys (pictured).
In 2008, a second t-shirt was made by Mighty Fine featuring the same artwork as the Hot Topic shirt, but retaining the two puppets' original colors. More t-shirts eventually followed.
Light switch plates and other merchandising were released featuring a vintage art style created for many of the characters in conjunction with the anniversary celebration.
The 2006 Sesame Street calendar features the Yip Yips for the month of November, and they make an appearance on the front cover scene.
Two Martians appeared in "Out of This World", a Sesame Street Live touring show that launched in 2003, and featured in the song "The Yup Yup Boogie." They also make appearances in the CD-ROM game, Get Set to Learn!, during Zoe's "What Size is Your Prize?" game and the CD-ROM Elmo's Reading Basics. They also star in an online game at Pbskids.org, Earth Exploration, where they observe nature with their talking guidebook.
In 2011, the Martians were featured on iYip, a soundboard iPhone app in which the Martians recite random phrases and statements. (Martin P. Robinson and Matt Vogel provided the Martians' voices for the app.)
- Grover's Guide to Good Manners (1992)
- Slimey in Space (1998)
- The Monsters on the Bus (2001)
- The Counting Carnival (2003)
- Elmo Good Night Stories (2006)
- Yahoo Groups: The Yip Yip Club
- Yip-Yip: an experimental band from Orlando, Florida (named after the Sesame Street characters)