“…With Our Very Special Guest Star…”

muppets take the o2

Kieran Moore – “To introduce our guest star is what I’m here to do, so it really makes me happy to introduce to you…”  Well, no one really knows – yet!

Unless you’ve been living under a (Fraggle) rock, you’ll no doubt know that in just over a month’s time the Muppets will be taking the O2 in London. We lucky Brits are guaranteed three shows full of mirth, merriment, mayhem and marvellous guest stars. I have tickets to two of the shows and am contemplating the third (it would be wrong of me not to get the full set), and although I have a rough idea of what Muppet acts I’ll see when I’m there, I can’t help but wonder about the last big unknown. Who will the guest star(s) be?

I’ve run the gamut of wild, crazy and possibly plausible ideas in my head, so in an awards style competition (because why not?) here are my nominees and category winners for who might just be being introduced by Kermit in a few week’s time.

Muppet Show Guest Stars
We know that chemistry with the Muppets can make or break a show – for every Rita Moreno there’s a Rich Little. This is probably the most important thing to get right on the night. So it makes sense that Kermit might just get out his Rolodex and call some of his old Muppet Show chums…

I’m thinking we’ll most likely get a British guest, so sticking with a UK theme a few possible options could be Leo Sayer or Glenda Jackson. I’ve also always enjoyed Twiggy’s episode so would be pleased to see her back. These are all very much outside options though. Julie Andrews has worked with the Muppets several times and we know she’s still in the puppet game – it would be a shame not to hear her sing though. Elton John is currently touring so would have a few songs ready to go if he got the call (surely Disney can afford him?). Thinking more internationally, I’d say Paul Williams is a possible for a very brief cameo, if not a full guest star appearance. Steve Martin would be brilliant on all counts and Mark Hamill is always in town for something Star Wars related. But my winner is…

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John Cleese – How cool would this be? His episode of The Muppet Show is a classic and he could even perform a skit as his character from The Great Muppet Caper! Come on Kermit, make this happen.

Muppet Co-Stars
Away from the movies the Muppets have worked with an incredible array of talent. Ricky Gervais would seem like an obvious choice. If nothing else he should cameo as Dominic Badguy – referencing the plot of Muppets Most Wanted seems like a gift for fans. Then there’s the mighty Tom Hiddleston (who you didn’t see in Muppets Most Wanted). He has a talent for comedy and would be a great signing for the gang. Sticking with stars of the recent Muppet movies you have Josh Groban as a possibility. As well as a cameo in Muppets Most Wanted, he was also one of my favorite guests on The Muppets (2015). As a just-for-fun suggestion I’ll name both Jason Segel and Amy Adams, with no real expectation of either happening. Jason’s one time co-star Neil Patrick Harris would be a better choice for an all-round entertainer and we know he loves puppets. Going back further Michael Caine would lend some gravitas to proceedings and Dame Diana Rigg and Charles Grodin surely have to be there. Who wouldn’t pay to see Nicky Holiday share a prison cell with Constantine? However, the winner is…


Peter Serafinowicz – Peter’s name might not be as instantly recognizable as the other names on this list, but then neither is his Muppet connection – his short scene in Muppets Most Wanted was cut from the theatrical release. Peter’s a fantastic actor with credits ranging from cult Brit flicks like Shaun of the Dead to mega movies like Star Wars: The Phantom Menace. He’s also hilarious, as his social media and YouTube videos will attest. He’d be great.

For last year’s Hollywood shows the Muppets called upon SNL star Bobby Moynihan to add extra laughs to their already funny show. Assuming they’ll want to go down the same route, it’s well worth looking at the wealth of British comedy talent we have to offer. Eddie Izzard sometimes feels like a human non-sequitur which could work with the Muppets’ zanier moments. John Oliver has appeared with Sesame Street Muppets plenty of times so knows the score, and Joe Pasquale has actually appeared in a real for real live Muppet Show already. Another name to consider is Peter Kay. He is a huge comedy star in the UK who regularly sells out arenas and would pretty much guarantee a packed arena. He’s also starred in his own Warburton’s advert so he and the Muppets have that in common. Stephen Fry would be a brilliant foil for the Muppets in a John Cleese kind of way, but possibly better yet would be his old comedy partner Hugh Laurie. However, the smart money’s on…

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James Corden – James is quick-witted, a talented actor, accomplished singer and obviously happy in the presence of major stars. He might not be my own personal favorite on today’s list, but if he’s available I actually think he’d be the most sensible bet.

The UK has a fine heritage of world-class actors. The Muppets could take advantage of this fact and get any one of a number of British thespians to tread the boards with them. Who better than a Shakespearean actor to bring some class to a live Muppet Show? Either Patrick Stewart or David Tennant could play that part. We’ve got a whole load of ex-Harry Potter stars that could make Muppet magic – Daniel Radcliffe would be my pick, but Emma Watson, Emma Thompson or Gary Oldman could be equally as good. Martin Freeman and Hugh Grant have comedy chops and for an international option how about Ryan Reynolds, who with Deadpool 2 made the most meta movie since The Great Muppet Caper. But my winner for this category has to be…

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Simon Pegg – Peter Serafinowicz’s Shaun of the Dead co-star is a huge Muppet fan and I’d love whoever gets the gig to be living out their dream. He’s got plenty on his plate, but I’m sure he’d jump at the chance to appear. He’s funny, geeky and really needs to work with these guys at some point in his career so it might as well be now.

Sure you can play the piccolo, but can you be yourself around the Muppets? Quite often the answer is no. This makes it hard to find musicians that might fit with Kermit and Company. That said, I’d love to see Adele in a scene with Miss Piggy if Disney could open up their checkbook. Slightly cheaper would be Robbie Williams or Olly Murs (who has Muppet history). Kylie Minogue is an honorary Brit who can act, sing and be funny and anyone of One Direction would probably show up if asked. If one of them could actually pull off a decent Muppet performance I’d almost see that as a career-making turn in a strange sort of way. As wildcards in this category – both Alexander Armstrong and Bradley Walsh are better known for their acting, comedy and presenting here in the UK; but both now have successful musical careers and would be good, dependable choices for a local audience. But if you really, really want headlines you really, really want…

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The Spice Girls – There are rumors that the girls are getting back together for a project or two that won’t include a tour. They could, however, treat fans to a live performance as part of someone else’s show. They’d guarantee press coverage and ticket sales, and would be a real coup for the show. I feel that had time worked differently The Spice Girls would likely have been guests on The Muppet Show or Muppets Tonight at some point anyway, so perhaps now’s their chance?

Wild Cards
For Miss Piggy, nothing short of a member of the Royal family will be good enough at her first live UK show. The Queen proved she can act at the 2012 Olympic opening ceremony and I’m sure she’s dying to get back to performing. She’s been surprisingly quiet on that front recently. Perhaps she needs a better agent? Twiggy was an engaging Muppet Show guest so Kate Moss could be worth a go. For something unexpected, JK Rowling is hugely entertaining on twitter so I’m sure she could pull something out the bag for The Muppets. Her presence would give the gang lots of opportunities to theme their show to magic or wizards, a bit like how they did horror for Vincent Price and Alice Cooper. Looking at the world of sport, if we can’t get a Spice Girl, how about a Spice Boy in David Beckham? My fantasy choice though would be…

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Bruce Forsythe – If only this show happened 10 years ago! I don’t think non-Brits get just how much of a star Bruce Forsythe was here. He was so much more than just the guy from Bedknobs and Broomsticks. As a true entertainment renaissance man he could sing, act, dance, play piano, perform comedy and have an audience eating out of the palm of his hand. He had a brilliant rapport with the Muppets and if the world were making wishes today he’d be my ultimate choice.

So those are my picks. Any of my category winners would be truly amazing. Hopefully, we won’t have long to wait until a real-for-real guest star is announced. And even more hopefully, someone with a fat address book and even fatter wallet at Disney is reading this!