Sal Minella is the primate flunky, bodyguard and all-purpose sidekick to Johnny Fiama.
The monkey was subsequently refitted with a vest and tie, and made his debut as Sal Minella in Muppets Tonight. Sal, who has since been performed by Brian Henson, is devoted to Johnny, though some of his ideas to promote Johnny's career are a bit harebrained.
At MuppetFest, Brian Henson explained that the performers got together with a bunch of random puppets to start working out characters for Muppets Tonight. Bill picked up a puppet and started singing, as Johnny Fiama, but everybody else was fooling around with their own puppets and not paying attention. So Brian picked up a monkey and shouted, "Would you all quiet down and listen to Johnny Fiama!" and Sal was born.
Sal subsequently appeared alongside Johnny, in Muppets from Space, It's a Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie, and The Muppets' Wizard of Oz. In the latter, Sal, even more oppressed than usual, is the only real monkey in the Wicked Witch of the West's Flying Monkeys biker gang. At the end of the television movie, he was rewarded by Dorothy with the Wicked Witch's magic biker cap.
Sal's latest appearances to date were on The Jerry Lewis Muscular Distrophy Telethon in September 2005 and the Virmup video for Bohemian Rhapsody in November 2009. According to the Muppet Mindset interview with Bill Barretta, Brian Henson did not return to perform Sal in the video.
As of 2015, both the Johnny and Sal puppets have deteriorated.
Very little Sal Minella merchandise has been made. The only released merchandise is a French ceramic figurine produced in France as part of a series of Muppet fèves. Palisades Toys sculpted a prototype action figure of Sal, but the line was cancelled before it went into production.
Sal's full name is seen on screen in Muppets Tonight episode 201, on the sign identifying him as an osteopath. It's also spelled this way in the Muppets from Space credits, and the instruction booklet for the 2003 video game Muppets Party Cruise.
His name is misspelled as "Sal Monella" in the 2014 book The Muppets Character Encyclopedia.
- Muppets Tonight
- "Muppets Tonight Theme"
- Episode 103: Billy Crystal
- Episode 104: John Goodman
- Episode 105: Cindy Crawford
- Episode 106: Tony Bennett
- Episode 107: Sandra Bullock
- Episode 109: Whoopi Goldberg
- Episode 110: Martin Short
- Episode 201: The Artist Formerly Known as Prince
- Episode 203: Heather Locklear
- Episode 204: Pierce Brosnan
- Episode 205: Coolio & Don Rickles
- Episode 206: Paula Abdul
- Episode 208: The Cameo Show
- Episode 210: The Gary Cahuenga Episode
- Episode 211: Andie MacDowell
- Episode 212: Johnny Fiama Leaves Home
- Larry King Live
- Muppets from Space
- Muppet RaceMania
- Family Feud
- Movie Mania: Planet of the Apes
- MuppetFest panels
- The Muppet Show Live
- Muppets Party Cruise
- It's a Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie
- The Muppets' Wizard of Oz
- The Muppets on Muppets
- The Jerry Lewis Muscular Distrophy Telethon
- Muppet viral videos
- Muppet Robin Hood
- Issue #2
- Issue #3
- Issue #4
- Muppet Snow White (2010)
- Kermit's Costume Caper (2012)
- The Muppets Character Encyclopedia (2014)
- Muppets Meet the Classics: Fairy Tales from the Brothers Grimm (2018)