Saturday Night Live has a long history with the Muppets. During the show’s first season, all the way back in 1975, Jim Henson himself was responsible for a deeply unpopular recurring segment known as The Land of Gorch; its 16 episodes featured a motley assortment of hideous Muppets in a burned-out vista that resembled some kind of Muppet apocalypse. The Muppets have appeared occasionally since, most notably in one of Robert De Niro’s episodes in 2004.
The Muppets did not show up in tonight’s episode—even though Kermit, Statler and Waldorf were there, in a weird, parallel universe sense.
Tonight’s SNL, which was hosted by Keegan-Michael Key, featured a sketch that dug into what security must have looked like at The Muppet Show’s theater. We’ll ignore the weird Disney+ framing—that’s just SNL doing the SNL thing of telegraphing the joke too obviously—but we can appreciate the idea behind the video below. How did notorious hecklers Statler and Waldorf get away with interrupting the show multiple times an episode, when real-life security guards are incredibly on top of controlling the crowd? Well, this doesn’t quite answer that timeless question, but it comes pretty dang close. Plus, y’know, it’s just kind of viscerally entertaining to see Key and Kenan Thompson brutalize some Muppets—not to mention Melissa Villaseñor’s wonderful Lily Tomlin impression.
Don’t take our word for it, though. Here’s the full sketch. Hope you dig it.