3 of the Creepiest Celebrity Cameos in Muppets History

They can’t all be Joan Rivers
3 of the Creepiest Celebrity Cameos in Muppets History

To survive for multiple human generations, the Muppets have had to masterfully balance dual identities. On one hand, they’re instructional aids for children. On the other, they’re bona fide pop culture icons in their own right. They have to both entertain celebrities, and play the role of celebrity themselves. 

For the most part, they’ve pulled this off with remarkable grace. For the most part. They have stumbled here and there — as anyone might — occasionally hanging around with the wrong crowd, and getting in a bit too deep with folks who were ultimately a bad influence. Watch the latest episode of CanonBall for some of the most regrettable adult jokes in Muppets history, and read about three particularly creepy celebrity cameos below…

Ellen DeGeneres

This one would have been nearly impossible to see coming. Ellen became a queer icon as her star rose, and she managed to maintain an air of wholesomeness in the public eye for decades. Looking back at a 2011 interview with Kermit the Frog, though, there are some signs that she might be a bit of a menace. She grills Kermit on his love life — “Is this a sore subject, this on-again-off-again relationship with your girlfriend Miss Piggy?” — and anticipating the answer to be “yes,” she plasters a larger-than-life slideshow of the two of them on her big screen.

Kermit handles it like a pro, ad-libbing the line, “Maybe some of your audience has dated a pig?” That got a huge applause, which, we know now, would have been a huge blow to Ellen’s ego. 

And yes, of course, he’s just a puppet. No one’s getting hurt here. What’s disturbing is how her little charade mirrors the harassment of real, flesh-and-blood celebrities. She once played a “game” with Taylor Swift that played out remarkably similarly to her attempted embarrassment of Kermit the Frog. She pulled up that gigantic slideshow, this time cycling through powerful men in the entertainment industry, and goading Swift to ring a bell when she saw someone she slept with, like some kind of promiscuous milk maid. Swift was deeply uncomfortable with the whole thing, which we've come to understand is a common experience on that cursed couch.

Matt Lauer

There’s no easy way to say this: Miss Piggy had a decades-long, romantic, explicitly sexual relationship with disgraced news anchor and alleged mega creep Matt Lauer. There were times when she made overtures to him, like when she popped out of a cake for his “Anchorversary.” But her first cameo on The Today Show is the most chilling, as she shows up evidently hungover, wearing the same clothes from the night before. She implies that he kissed her without her consent — “The New Years kiss does not begin at 6:30 p.m.” — to which he responds that he couldn’t help himself, she was just dressed too sexy.

Two important details to remember here: First, Lauer has been credibly accused by multiple women of forcing himself on them. Second, Miss Piggy is a two-foot tall puppet. This is a bizarre storyline for any celebrity cameo, made especially horrifying in retrospect by the allegations he’s faced since.

He ends the segment by publicly pressuring her into one last, on-camera kiss. Miss Piggy’s puppeteer does a convincing impression of a petrified woman too scared to say no to a man in power as he brutishly steals a kiss. And yet, somehow, Lauer’s not the worst alleged creep that the Muppets have fawned over.

Subway Jared

In this Subway commercial, which is simultaneously advertising 2014’s Muppets Most Wanted, Miss Piggy loses control fangirling over the future-convicted child sex tourist, saying “Oh, he’s so dreamy! He reminds moi of you!”

How so, Miss Piggy? How does Jared Fogle remind you of Kermit the Frog? Is there something more sinister going on behind the scenes?

As crazy as it sounds, Kermit was once accused of sexual harassment by a famous performer on live TV. Not Kermit’s puppeteer; the fuzzy little puppet himself. And his denial isn’t exactly convincing. Watch the latest episode of CanonBall right here, or in the embed above, to find out exactly what the hell that’s all about.

CanonBall is our biweekly deep-dive into the weirder, darker parts of pop culture franchises you thought you knew. Make sure to check out previous episodes like 5 Permanently Banned Children’s Cartoons, and 5 SpongeBob Secrets Nickelodeon Wants Buried Under the Sea.

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