|Created by Jim Henson|
Creator Jim Henson
|Species Muppet humans|
|Performed by Statler: Richard Hunt (1976–1991)Jerry Nelson (1975, 1992–2002)Steve Whitmire (2002–present)Waldorf: Jim Henson (1975–1990)Dave Goelz (1992–present)|
Aliases Waldorf: P. Fenton Cosgrove, Uncle Waldorf, Robert Marley, Wally-D, Willy RStatler: Uncle Statler, Jacob Marley, StatCat, Alan D
First appearance The Muppet Show: Sex and Violence (1975)
Similar Fozzie Bear, Gonzo, Beaker, Swedish Chef, Rowlf the Dog
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Statler and Waldorf are a pair of Muppet characters known for their cantankerous opinions and mutual penchant for heckling. The two elderly men first appeared in The Muppet Show, where they consistently jeered the entirety of the cast and their performances from their balcony seats. Statler and Waldorf are named after two New York City hotels, the Statler Hilton and the Waldorf-Astoria.
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- Later appearances
- From the Balcony
- Other appearances
In The Muppet Show, the two were always trashing Fozzie Bear's humour, except for one occasion where Fozzie, with help from Bruce Forsyth, heckled them back. In contrast, they found themselves vastly entertaining and inevitably burst into mutual laughter at their own witticisms (though, they would, on several occasions, heckle each other, too). 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 appeared in all but one episode of the show. They later appeared in Muppets Tonight watching television in a retirement home.
They also had a predisposition for breaking the fourth wall. At the end of one episode, they looked at the camera and asked "Why do you watch it?", and in another episode, Statler stated that he didn't care for puppets much, not finding them believable. Waldorf responded, "I don't believe you!"
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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.
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. For reasons unknown, Kevin Clash filled in for Goelz as Waldorf in a few episodes of Muppets Tonight. Whitmire and Goelz remain the principal performers of the characters.
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.
Statler and Waldorf also appeared (as adults) in the Saturday morning animated television series Muppet Babies. Both characters were voiced by Dave Coulier. Unlike other adults who visit the nursery in that series, Statler and Waldorf's faces were shown; the babies addressed them as "Uncle Statler" and "Uncle Waldorf." The two were more friendly and jovial, and only occasionally grumpy, compared to their appearances on The Muppet Show. Both men wore hats associated with railroads: a striped engineer's cap for Statler, a blue conductor's cap for Waldorf.
A joke was made about the duo's nature in The Muppet Christmas Carol, where they played the ghosts of Jacob and Robert Marley. When Ebenezer Scrooge accuses them of always criticizing him, they reply "We were always heckling you." "It's good to be heckling again." "It's good to be doing anything again!" During multiple sequences, there is a shop called "Statler and Waldorf". In a nod to their role on The Muppet Show, when Scrooge chalks their appearance up to indigestion: "There's more of gravy than the grave about you" to which they retort with "What a terrible pun!" and "Leave comedy to the bears, Ebenezer!"
In Muppet Treasure Island, they were the figureheads of the Hispaniola. Their role in the film was about as minimal as one would expect given this, except near the very end when they rescue Captain Smollett (Kermit the Frog) and Benjamina Gunn (Miss Piggy) in a comic deus ex machina where the two of them fall off a cliff, and they just happen to be underneath her. Statler remarks that they're heroes, they "saved the pig and the frog", to which Waldorf retorts, "Well, it was too late to save the movie!"
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 first 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 are later seen during the Muppet Telethon, back in their balcony seats, and still making disparaging comments, at one point telling Jack Black that they have been sitting in the balcony and heckling the show for 40 years. When the telethon fails to raise enough money and Tex Richman orders The Muppets out of the theater, Statler and Waldorf, too, are sad about this. However, when it is discovered that the fans don't care about Tex's laws and will get the Muppets back on top without the theater or their name, Statler and Waldorf are happy again and are last shown at the top of a building dancing and singing during the finale.
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 as the "Statler and Waldorf Cut" of the film in its home video release.
They appear as audience members in The Muppets TV series. The episode "Pig Out" features a B-plot focusing on Statler without Waldorf.
From the Balcony
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.