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AN 004
PERFORMER Frank Oz 1975-2000
  Eric Jacobson 2002-present
DEBUT 1975
DESIGN Jim Henson designer
  Dave Goelz builder

Concept sketches by Bonnie Erickson and Jim Henson


Animal at his drum set.


Animal's backstage holding cell in The Muppet Show: Sex and Violence

Animal drums 2011
Animal triangle

Animal bursting through an old home movie of his.


Animal, official mascot of the 1998 U.S. Snowboarding Team.


Animal and Kermit

Animal sig

You don't mess with Animal. He eats glass, man.
—Frank Oz[1]

Animal is the wild drummer on The Muppet Show, performing with Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem. A crazed percussionist with three styles of music — loud, louder, and deafening — Animal speaks in a guttural shout, often repeating a few simple phrases, such as "BEAT DRUMS! BEAT DRUMS!" or "WO-MAN!" In relatively calmer moods, he is capable of more coherent conversation, though these instances are infrequent.

In his first appearance in the 1975 pilot The Muppet Show: Sex and Violence, Animal is chained in a basement cell when not onstage performing with the Electric Mayhem. He later became a lead character on The Muppet Show, and his unrestrained style has made him popular with young people for decades.

Frank Oz says that he had his character down to five words: Sex, sleep, food, drums, and pain.[1] Occasionally, two of those essentials, food and drums, are interchangeable. In The Muppet Movie, Dr. Teeth had to remind Animal to beat, not eat, his drums. In The Muppet Show episode 110, when asked by Kermit if he preferred drumming to food, Animal replied that drums are food.

Animal's wild attitude can be compared to Cookie Monster. In A Muppet Family Christmas, after observing Cookie Monster eating all of Janice's cookies in his signature manner, Animal comments, "That my kind of fella!"

Animal's family life is generally non-existent, and outside of the band, the Muppet Show troupe, and women in general, he has no other relationships. A significant exception is depicted in the book The Case of the Missing Mother, which reveals the existence of Animal's mother, LaVerne, who is also a drummer, implying that percussion skills are a family trait.

Notable performances[]

Animal has performed a number of solos on The Muppet Show, including "Sweet Tooth Jam", "Wild Thing", and "Foggy Day."

When drumming legend Buddy Rich appeared on The Muppet Show Episode 522: Buddy Rich, one scene featured a "drum battle" between Rich and Animal in homage to the legendary face-off album between Rich and his contemporary Gene Krupa. The actual drumming for Animal, in every episode of the series, was performed by Ronnie Verrell, a veteran drummer and member of Jack Parnell's house band for The Muppet Show.

Despite their drum battle, episode 110 had previously established that Buddy Rich was one of Animal's idols. Animal also reveals that he has been playing the drums for five years, which (assuming a literal timeline) would mean that he's been playing the drums since 1971.

One of Animal's most memorable performances with a guest star was in episode 105, in which he wildly played the drums in Rita Moreno's number "Fever." He started getting so out of hand, Rita was forced to give him a lengthy verbal reprimand in Spanish, ending with "Cool it!" Other guest stars who have had scenes with Animal include Lou Rawls, Leo Sayer, James Coburn, Harry Belafonte (another drum battle), and Kaye Ballard.

Animal has also had roles in all of the Muppet movies. In The Muppet Movie, he ate Dr. Bunsen Honeydew's Insta-Grow Pills, causing him to grow ten times his size and scare away Doc Hopper. This was followed by The Great Muppet Caper, The Muppets Take Manhattan, The Muppet Christmas Carol, Muppet Treasure Island, Muppets from Space, It's a Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie and The Muppets' Wizard of Oz.

In The Muppets, Animal is found in a Santa Barbara clinic for anger management, being sponsored by Jack Black. Animal has learned to stay calm (occasionally mumbling "IN CONTROL"), but goes wild when he hears the word "drums." Animal rejoins the Muppets, but Jack Black encourages him to stay away from drums. It's only after a moment of psychomachia that Animal decides to play the drums again, during the Muppets' performance of "Rainbow Connection."

In Muppets Most Wanted, Animal was the first to notice that Kermit had been replaced by Constantine.

Animal is probably the most popular member of the Electric Mayhem. He has been included in more merchandise than the rest of the band. He was also the only member of the band to be included regularly on Muppet Babies.

Animal was the mascot of the U.S. snowboarding team for the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano, Japan. Animal made a television appearance in Nagano with CBS reporter Kennedy, during which she stapled his feet to a snowboard.

On Muppets TV, an original French-only show, Animal talks in full-formed sentences.

Casting history[]

Main Performers:

Alternate Performers:

When Animal plays the drums, the drumsticks are connected to his arm rods at an approximately 45-degree angle. As of 2020, his drumming arms are most often performed by Michelan Sisti.[3]

Book appearances[]

See also[]