Revisiting the Muppets’ Hey, You’re As Funny As Fozzie Bear

Today the latest entry in the Disneyfied Muppets premieres on Disney+. The Muppets Mayhem follows the Electric Mayhem (the Muppet Show house band, former residents of the Happiness Hotel) as they try to rekindle the fame they once had. But did they ever have that much fame? The Electric Mayhem were present when Orson Welles gave all Muppets the standard rich-and-famous contract in The Muppet Movie. But in Jason Segel’s The Muppets, we learn that contract did not have legs. 1970s famous does not necessarily translate to a 2020s fanbase.

There are some Muppets whose brands are predicated on failure at their chosen art form, and their devotion to a medium that doesn’t necessarily love them back is what makes them lovable. The Electric Mayhem are almost always shown as down-and-out musicians who are eternally waiting for their big break, a fuzzier version of Daria’s Mystik Spiral. Gonzo, the daredevil too weird to understand, is another such Muppet. So is Fozzie Bear, whose whole schtick is that he’s not funny. Except in 1988’s Hey, You’re As Funny As Fozzie Bear. This Blues Clues–esque interactive video posits that Fozzie Bear is, in fact, very funny — so funny that he can teach children an endless litany of knock-knock jokes, and it’ll be worth it for that child. The video is broken up into two phases: one where Fozzie teaches you knock-knock jokes, and one where you and he tell these jokes to your parents. There’s a segment where you do impressions aided by a towel, like every dude on TikTok who needs to illustrate long hair for a sketch but doesn’t have a wig budget.

For the diehard Muppet fan, Hey, You’re As Funny As Fozzie Bear is worth watching, if only for one last Fozzie-Kermit interaction that’s done by Frank Oz and Jim Henson. Even in this stilted format, the two have undeniable chemistry. But you will be enduring a weirdly off-brand entry in the Muppet canon. This video promises that the child viewer will be showered in praise for their comedic chops, praise that is withheld from Fozzie by his mother and her gay BFFs Statler and Waldorf. (This is Muppet canon, by the way. Peep A Muppet Family Christmas if you don’t believe me.) Fozzie is famously shit at comedy. What Hey, You’re As Funny As Fozzie Bear presupposes is: Maybe he’s not?

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