The fine art of heckling took a new turn with the debut of two characters to the small screen in the mid 1970s: Statler & Waldorf.
For those who don’t know this duo, do you know those two guys on The Muppet Show who were always razzing Fozzie Bear? Those two.
Named after two New York City hotels, Statler & Waldorf were part of the original cast of The Muppets, and were integral to adding a note of sarcasm to the vaudeville stage show of each episode.
Created by Bonnie Erickson, Statler was performed by Jerry Nelson, while Waldorf was helmed by Jim Henson. These two old men were always dressed in suits and ready to toss out their opinions.
The duo fixated on Fozzie Bear, but made many comments but all the performers, and on occasion would break the fourth wall to address the tv audience, as well as laughing at their own jokes.
It was their sarcastic one-offs that made them very different characters included on other children’s shows – not everyone was happy, positive and sweet.
And as a permanent part of the cast, getting the best seats in the house every week despite their lack of enthusiasm for the weekly Muppet production, Statler & Waldorf became just as popular as Kermit, Miss Piggy, Fozzie and Animal.