Statler and Waldorf
Statler and Waldorf are a pair of Muppet characters known for their cantankerous opinions and shared penchant for heckling. The two elderly men first appeared in The Muppet Show in 1975, where they consistently jeered the entirety of the cast and their performances from their balcony seats.
|Statler and Waldorf|
|The Muppets characters|
Waldorf (left) and Statler (right)
|First appearance||The Muppet Show: Sex and Violence (1975)|
|Created by||Jim Henson|
|Performed by||Statler: Richard Hunt (1976–1991)|
Jerry Nelson (1975, 1992–2003)
Steve Whitmire (2002–2016)
Peter Linz (2017-present)
Waldorf: Jim Henson (1975–1990)
Dave Goelz (1992–present)
|Alias||Waldorf: P. Fenton Cosgrove, Uncle Waldorf, Robert Marley, Wally-D, Willy R|
Statler: Uncle Statler, Jacob Marley, StatCat, Alan D
|Spouse||Waldorf: Astoria (ex-wife) |
Statler: Unknown, although he has a wife
Created by Jim Henson, the characters have been performed by numerous puppeteers, including Henson, in a variety of films and television productions within the Muppet franchise. Statler and Waldorf are named after two landmark New York City hotels, the Statler Hilton and the Waldorf-Astoria.
The characters are known for their heckling. In The Muppet Show, the two were always criticizing Fozzie Bear's humor, except for one occasion where Fozzie heckled them back. In contrast, they found themselves vastly entertaining and inevitably burst into mutual laughter at their own witticisms. It is later revealed in the A Muppet Family Christmas special that the two hecklers were friends with Fozzie's mother, Emily Bear. Despite constantly complaining about the show and how terrible some acts were, they would always be back the following week in the best seats in the house. As to why, the original version of The Muppet Show theme song had Statler admitting, "I guess we'll never know."
They also had a predisposition for breaking the fourth wall. Author Ben Underwood remarked on how the characters generally "blur the boundary between performer and audience", as they are "concurrently audience members and performers". Underwood points to a second season incident in which the characters see themselves watching the Muppets, with Statler skeptical, saying "No one would watch junk like that".
In "Sex and Violence," the pilot episode of The Muppet Show, Statler and Waldorf were performed by Jerry Nelson and Jim Henson, respectively. Nelson was unavailable for the first few weeks of production on The Muppet Show. As a result, Richard Hunt took on the role of Statler. Hunt and Henson would continue to perform the two characters until Henson's death in 1990. To portray the characters, Hunt and Henson shared very close space, often for hours at a time.
Beginning with The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992), Statler and Waldorf were performed by Jerry Nelson and Dave Goelz, respectively. When Jerry Nelson left the Muppets, citing health reasons, Muppeteer Steve Whitmire took over as Statler. The two were occasionally performed by Drew Massey (Statler) and Victor Yerrid (Waldorf) in 2005 and 2006, most notably in the web series Statler and Waldorf: From the Balcony. Kevin Clash filled in for Goelz as Waldorf in a few episodes of Muppets Tonight.
In 2017, Whitmire departed from the Muppets franchise, including the part of Statler, after being unwillingly dismissed from the part of Kermit the Frog in October 2016. While Matt Vogel was announced for the replacement for Kermit, Peter Linz had already replaced Whitmire as the voice of Statler in advertisements.
In The Muppet Christmas Carol, they played the ghosts of Jacob and Robert Marley. Whereas the novel A Christmas Carol features only a Jacob Marley, creating a Robert allowed for including the two Muppets, and possibly also references Bob Marley. When Ebenezer Scrooge, played by Michael Caine, accuses them of always criticizing him, they reply "We were always heckling you." In Muppet Treasure Island, they were the figureheads of the Hispaniola. Statler complains about being stuck on the front of the ship, to which Waldorf replies it is better than being in the audience.
In the 1996 series Muppets Tonight, based on a television rather than theatre show, Statler and Waldorf were shown watching the show at an assisted living facility, still making disparaging remarks. The duo are featured characters at Disney's Muppet*Vision 3D at Disney's Hollywood Studios as audio-animatronic Muppets helping Bean Bunny escape the theater and, of course, heckling the show. They also make a cameo appearance in Pixar's 2008 short film Presto, where they can be seen in their theater box.
The Muppet Newsflash: A Jim Henson News Blog announced on September 17, 2009, that Statler and Waldorf would release a book titled From the Balcony in 2010. However, the book was never released.
Statler and Waldorf appear in featured roles in The Muppets film. They are shown in Kermit's old office where they inform evil oil baron, Tex Richman, that the only thing that could stop his purchase of The Muppet Theater would be Kermit raising $10 million. They appear during one scene of the 2014 sequel Muppets Most Wanted. When the Muppets arrive in Berlin to perform at a run-down cabaret theater, marked by a sign reading "Die Muppets" ("The Muppets" in German), the two joke as to whether this is an early review or a suggestion. This scene is presented in the "Statler and Waldorf Cut" of the film in its home video release.
From the BalconyEdit
Statler and Waldorf: From the Balcony is a multi-award–winning web show which ran biweekly on Movies.com from June 2005 until September 2006. The series spawned more than 35 episodes and featured many Muppet characters, both well-known classics and newly created characters. The two elderly curmudgeons would discuss upcoming films, watch the latest movie trailers and share the week's "balconism" from their theater box.
- Both made an appearance in Marvel Team-Up #74. In this issue, Spider-Man teams up with the cast of Saturday Night Live to battle the Silver Samurai. Statler and Waldorf appear in typical style as hecklers on a balcony.
- They appear at the end of Weezer's video for the song "'Keep Fishin'". They comment that the performance wasn't half bad, before adding that it was all bad.
- On the song "The Black Hole" by HORSE the band, the track ends with Statler and Waldorf celebrating the song and then talking themselves into decrying it as "terrible".
- On September 18, 2009, Statler and Waldorf were shown in a routine on The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien called "Statler and Waldorf Heckle Obama", consisting of a video recording of President Barack Obama at a health care rally, with old Muppet Show clips of Statler and Waldorf interspersed within it.
- Statler and Waldorf are feature characters in the 2011 movie The Muppets. To promote the film, they also appeared with several other Muppets on the 2011 Halloween episode of WWE Raw, with the duo offering their usual commentary from a skybox.
- The pair also appeared "via satellite" as BFCA critics at the 2012 Critics' Choice Movie Awards on January 12, 2012.
- Statler and Waldorf appeared several times from the balcony to critique the performers at The Secret Policeman's Ball 2012 at Radio City Music Hall in New York City on March 4, 2012.
In The Guardian, Hadley Freeman wrote "Not even celebrity guest Milton Berle could compete with their sharp banter. My heroes". In 2014, Esquire's Nick Schager named them one of The 10 Most Entertaining Fictional Critics, writing "the funniest Muppets characters have always been Statler and Waldorf". In 2015, The Huffington Post identified Statler and Waldorf as popular Muppets, and said to the fans who love them above others, "You know the best way to cope with life's difficulties is by laughing at someone else's expense".
Commentators sometimes make comparisons between people and Statler and Waldorf in attention to, or preoccupation with, details, "loud" opinion, or "cantankerous" personality. In 2012, Der Spiegel described the United Kingdom as "at best spectators in the gallery, like Statler and Waldorf", within Europe, drawing the ire of U.K. media.
- Shemin 2014, p. 170.
- Underwood 2009, p. 21.
- Underwood 2009, p. 23.
- Yousufi 2015.
- Kreider 2015, p. 97.
- Fisher & Cox 2009, p. 186.
- Conradt, Stacy (February 10, 2009). "Surprising stories behind 20 Muppet characters". CNN. Retrieved December 27, 2016.
- Jones 2013.
- Brian Henson, Steve Whitmire (December 21, 2015). "How we made: The Muppet Christmas Carol". The Guardian (Interview). Interviewed by Ben Beaumont-Thomas. Retrieved December 25, 2015.
- "Jerry Nelson, Muppet Puppeteer, Dies at 78". The New York Times. Associated Press. August 27, 2012. Retrieved July 15, 2017.
- Terrace 2016, p. 272.
- Roe, Ryan (March 8, 2016). "My Weeks with Muppets Tonight, Part 1: Michelle Pfeiffer & Garth Brooks". Tough Pigs. Retrieved July 15, 2017.
- Kurp, Josh (July 10, 2017). "The Long-Time Voice Of Kermit The Frog Has Left The Muppets Family". Uproxx. Retrieved July 10, 2017.
- Bruner, Raisa (July 12, 2017). "Former Kermit the Frog Puppeteer Speaks: 'I Am Devastated'". Time. Retrieved July 12, 2017.
- Gilyadov, Alex (July 12, 2017). "LONGTIME KERMIT THE FROG PERFORMER REPLACED". IGN. Retrieved July 12, 2017.
- Papadakis, Zoe (July 12, 2017). "Kermit the Frog Voice Steve Whitemire to Be Replaced by Matt Vogel". Newsmax. Retrieved August 29, 2017.
- "MUPPET BABIES : SEASON 4". Metacritic. Retrieved July 12, 2017.
- Glavin 2017.
- Brian Henson (Director); Jerry Juhl (December 11, 1992). The Muppet Christmas Carol (Motion picture).
It's good to be doing anything again!
- Brian Henson (Director) (February 16, 1996). Muppet Treasure Island (Motion picture).
Well, it could be worse. We could be stuck in the audience!
- "PHOTO: Statler & Waldorf cameo in Pixar's short "Presto"". ilovemuppets.com. August 20, 2011. Archived from the original on March 4, 2016. Retrieved September 11, 2012.
- "Statler & Waldorf Book". The Muppet Newsflash: A Jim Henson News Blog, September 17, 2009. Archived from the original on July 14, 2011.
- Jones, JR (2011). "The Muppets". Chicago Reader. Retrieved July 14, 2017.
- James Bobin (Director); Jason Segel; Nicholas Stoller (November 4, 2011). The Muppets (Motion picture).
- Fienberg, Daniel (September 17, 2015). "'The Muppets': TV Review". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved July 14, 2017.
- Alexander, Bryan (July 29, 2014). "Exclusive: Statler and Waldorf cut of 'Muppets' movie". USA Today. Retrieved July 14, 2017.
- "Movies.com and the Muppets Launch Exclusive Movie Review Program from World Famous Muppet Hecklers, Statler and Waldorf". Business Wire. June 24, 2005. Retrieved July 12, 2017.
- Staff (June 25, 2002). "WEEZER COLLABORATE WITH KERMIT THE FROG, MISS PIGGY". MTV. Retrieved July 13, 2017.
- "Statler & Waldorf Heckle Obama". NBC.com. Archived from the original on September 23, 2009.
- Stroud, Brandon (November 11, 2011). "The Best And Worst Of WWE Raw 10/31: Muppets, The Rock and Mortal Kombat". Uproxx. Retrieved July 13, 2017.
- Downey, Ryan J. (January 12, 2012). "CRITICS' CHOICE MOVIE AWARDS CELEBRATE 'THE HELP'". MTV. Retrieved July 13, 2017.
- "Secret Policeman's Ball gets American debut". The Daily Telegraph. March 5, 2012. Retrieved July 13, 2017.
- Freeman, Hadley (November 23, 2011). "The Muppets: who's who". The Guardian. Retrieved July 14, 2017.
- Schager, Nick (July 2, 2014). "The 10 Most Entertaining Fictional Critics". Esquire. Retrieved July 14, 2017.
- Ferreras, Jesse (July 16, 2015). "What Your Favourite Muppet Character Says About You". The Huffington Post. Retrieved July 14, 2017.
- Stevens, Dana (November 22, 2011). "Welcome Back, Kermit". Slate.com. Retrieved July 14, 2017.
- Newell, Jim (December 22, 2015). "Ted Cruz Is the Consummate Political Pundit". Slate.com. Retrieved July 14, 2017.
- Newman, Jason (May 5, 2015). "Noel Gallagher Sounds Off on Tidal, Zayn Malik and Same-Sex Marriage". Rolling Stone. Retrieved July 14, 2017.
- Gullan, Scott (April 11, 2017). "Jack Ziebell's attempt to jump plane queue leaves North teammates bemused". Herald Sun. Retrieved July 14, 2017.
- Taylor, Adam (October 16, 2012). "The British Are Angry After Der Spiegel Referred To Them As Europe's 'Muppets'". Business Insider. Retrieved July 14, 2017.
- Fisher, Maryanne; Cox, Anthony (2009). "Adaptation and Performance". Kermit Culture: Critical Perspectives on Jim Henson’s Muppets. Jefferson, North Carolina and London: McFarland. ISBN 0786453753.
- Glavin, John, ed. (2017). Dickens Adapted. Routledge. ISBN 1351944568. Retrieved July 14, 2017 – via Google Books.
- Jones, Brian Jay (2013). Jim Henson: The Biography. Random House Publishing Group. ISBN 0345526139. Retrieved July 13, 2017 – via Google Books.
- Kreider, Evan (2015). "Muppets and Mimesis". Jim Henson and Philosophy: Imagination and the Magic of Mayhem. Rowman & Littlefield. ISBN 1442246650.
- Shemin, Craig (2014). Disney's The Muppets Character Encyclopedia. New York: DK Publishing. ISBN 9781465417480.
- Terrace, Vincent (2016). Internet Comedy Television Series, 1997–2015. McFarland. ISBN 1476623937.
- Underwood, Ben (2009). "How to Become a Muppet". Kermit Culture: Critical Perspectives on Jim Henson’s Muppets. Jefferson, North Carolina and London: McFarland. ISBN 0786453753.
- Yousufi, Mushtaq Ahmed (2015). "Introduction". Mirages of the Mind. New Directions Publishing. ISBN 0811224147.