In the 1970s, Jim Henson’s The Muppet Show managed to be both a variety show parody and a highly successful variety show in its own right. Attracting a wide range of celebrity guests (Sylvester Stallone, John Cleese, Julie Andrews, and Elton John to name just a few), the show usually featured an array of song and comedy sketches, with periodic visits to the chaotic backstage area.
But Steve Martin’s 1977 guest appearance on The Muppet Show was a little bit different. Kermit the Frog announced he was canceling the week’s episode to hold auditions for new Muppet acts. Martin, ostensibly out of a job, insisted on getting in on the fun and crashed the auditions with several sketches from his stand-up act—including one of his most popular bits, in which he made balloon animals. The video above shows Martin performing his classic balloon act for an audience of Muppets, his surreal, goofy humor fitting in perfectly on Henson's show. It’s the perfect comedy mash-up, showing both Martin and The Muppets at their peak—and it's also said to be the only Muppet Show episode without a laugh track. Instead, the episode used the real laughter of the Muppet puppeteers in the audience as they watched Steve Martin perform. Check it out above.
Banner Image Credit: Z1DO4U, Youtube