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The Muppet Show transcript for Episode 202: Zero Mostel.

Cold open

The outside of the dressing room. Scooter is knocking on the door.
Scooter Zero Mostel, 25 seconds. Stand by. Mr. Mostel?
Camera zooms out to the floor below Scooter, where Fozzie is.
Scooter Hey, Fozzie, where's Mr. Mostel?
Fozzie Oh, he's in his dressing room eating.
The dressing room. Behemoth is chewing on Zero Mostel's arm.
Zero I'm not in my dressing room eating! I'm in my dressing room being eaten!
Zero tosses various objects on the table in front of him, and a glass of water, into Behemoth's mouth.


Kermit It's The Muppet Show with our very special guest star, Mr. Zero Mostel!
The curtain opens and the theme begins.
Waldorf Oh, please let them be funny this once.
Gonzo's trumpet goes off like a firecracker with a high-pitched squeaking.

Opening number

Main stage. Kermit enters.
Kermit Thank you, thank you. Good evening, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to The Muppet Show. Tonight's special guest star has many, many talents. Let's see... He acts, he sings, he dances, he does comedy, and they all add up to a great big zero for Zero Mostel. But first, in an attempt to placate the culture lovers of our audience...
Sam (in the wings) Oh, at last, at last!
Kermit ...and in the wings, uh, we open tonight's show with a little classical music. Here is Chopin's Polonaise in A-Flat.
Fozzie peeks through the curtain.
Fozzie (whispering) Psst! Psst! Kermit, Kermit, the concert pianist could not make it.
Kermit Yeah, but, I just introduced the Polonaise.
Fozzie It's okay. Here. Here, I got a whole new intro written. (hands Kermit a paper) Read that. Good luck, kid.
Kermit Let's see, uh... Oh. OK, ladies and gentlemen, Chopin's Polonaise in A-Flat, as performed by... Dr. Teeth?
Sam What.
The Electric Mayhem plays a funk version of Chopin's Polonaise in A-Flat.
Dr. Teeth Yeah, yeah! Oh, yeah! (to Zoot) Honk it, honk it! Yeah, yeah! (etc.)
Animal Chopin! Chopin!
Dr. Teeth Cookin', cookin'!
Animal Chopin! Chopin!
When the band finishes, Sam, in the wings, buries his face in a handkerchief and cries.
Waldorf You know, I'm really gonna enjoy tonight.
Statler You plan to like this show?
Waldorf No, I plan to watch television.
Waldorf sets up a television set in front of them.


The band comes offstage.
Kermit OK, good ol' Chopin. You can't beat the classics. You can only destroy 'em.
Floyd Hey, frogis amphibious.
Kermit Yeah?
Floyd Yeah, don't forget today is payday.
Animal Payday! Payday!
Kermit Payday, again? It was payday last year. It seems to be getting to be a habit around here. Well, I'll see what's in the old cash box here.
Kermit goes further backstage to another desk and opens the cash box. Moths fly out of it.
Kermit Three moths and a washer. Well, that's more than we usually have. Oh, where am I going to get the payroll money?
Scooter comes through the door behind Kermit.
Scooter Oh, how much do you need, Kermit?
Kermit Oh Scooter! Twenty-seven dollars and fourteen cents.
Scooter Wow! That's high finance.
A telephone rings.
Scooter I'll get it.
Scooter goes to Kermit's desk and picks up the phone.
Scooter Hello? Oh, hi, Uncle J.P.
Kermit That's Scooter's uncle, J.P. Grosse, the bloodless old tightwad who owns this theater.
Scooter Yeah, yeah. Well, listen, uh...
Smoke puffs out of the phone.
Scooter Could you put your cigar out, please?
It stops.
Scooter Thanks.
Kermit tries to listen in on the conversation.
Scooter Oh, everything's fine. Yeah, except Kermit needs some money to make the payroll. Uh-huh... Uh-huh... Uh-huh... Uh-huh.
Kermit Uh, what'd he say?
Scooter He said, "Uh-huh."
Kermit Terrific!
Scooter If...
Kermit Uh, if what?
Scooter If you put some good old-fashioned entertainment back into the show.
Kermit Oh. You mean like an Irish tenor?
Scooter No.
Kermit A dog act? Jugglers? Spoon players? What?
Scooter shakes his head "no" at every suggestion.
Scooter Lady wrestlers. (exits)
Kermit Terrific. I was afraid he wanted something tasteless.

"What Do the Simple Folk Do?"

Main stage. Kermit enters.
Kermit OK, now it's time for our special guest to do something special. Ladies and gentlemen, Mr. Zero Mostel.
Zero Mostel, dressed as King Henry the VIII, sings "What Do the Simple Folk Do?" with his Queen and Muppy. When the Queen suggests that "simple folk" sing to escape their blues, Zero bursts out singing Pagliacci.
Statler and Waldorf are watching their television.
Waldorf Yeah, what's the name of this movie?
Statler Beach Blanket Frankenstein.
Waldorf Hmm. Awful.
Statler Terrible film.
Waldorf Yeah, well, we could watch The Muppet Show instead.
They peek over the balcony to look at the stage, then shake their heads and return to their television.
Statler Wonderful.
Waldorf Terrific film.


Kermit is holding the phone at his desk.
Kermit Aw, where am I gonna find a couple of lady wrestlers at this late date? (on the phone) Hello, Killer Katie, Terror of Toledo? How'd you like to work on The Muppet Show tonight? ... I see. Transcendental meditation. That's too bad.
Animal enters. Someone is heard knocking on the door.
Kermit Hey, Animal, would you get the door?
Animal Wha?
Kermit I say, would you get the door? Get the door!
Animal Ah, get the door! (growls)
Kermit Maybe I could try Mother the Mauler...
A cracking is heard. Animal has ripped the door off its hinges and brings it to Kermit.
Animal Here door.
Animal leaves and Granny the Gouger enters.
Granny the Gouger My, what a dynamic doorman you have here.

At the Dance: Tennis

Female Whatnot (JH) How was your tennis game today? Have a rough match?
Her partner turns his head around to reveal a tennis ball lodged in his mouth.
Female Whatnot I see you did.
Female Whatnot (RH) Do you play tennis?
Male Whatnot (RH) Of course.
Female Whatnot (RH) How's your backhand?
Male Whatnot (RH) Uh, fair.
Female Whatnot (RH) How's your forehand?
Male Whatnot (RH) Oh, they're terrific.
He lifts up two extra arms.
Svengali's Assistant (FO) You say you watched six tennis matches today? How do you feel?
Her partner turns his head around to reveal his pupils pointing in opposite directions.
Male Whatnot (FO) Uh, fine. Just fine.
Two tennis balls are dancing together.
Tennis ball #1 (JH) What'd you do today?
Tennis ball #2 (JH) Just spent the day in court.
Tennis Balls.jpg
Female Whatnot (DG) My tennis instructor says I've been using too small a racket.
Male Whatnot (DG) Oh, why not get a big racket?
Crazy Harry You say you want a big racket?
Female Whatnot (DG) Yeah.
Crazy Harry sets off an explosion and cackles.

UK Spot

Kermit is at the desk in the prop room. Sam enters.
Sam Excuse me, Kermit, may I speak with you?
Kermit Sure, Sam. What you want?
Sam I think you know why I am here.
Kermit Well, actually, Sam, to tell you the truth, I've never known why you're here.
Sam I feel my job is to make sure this program is morally upright and cultural and wholesome.
Beautiful Day Monster approaches them from behind.
Beautiful Day Monster You got your work cut out for you, bird. (leaves)
Sam Now THAT was unwholesome! THAT was not cultural!
Kermit Uh... uh, fine, fine. But what can I do for you, Sam?
Sam I want to know who is going to be on tonight's show.
Kermit Oh, well, let's see, tonight's show is very classy, it's very highbrow, you'll like this show.
Sam Ah, good. Yes, yes. Tell me more.
Sam paces and "mm-hmm"s his approval as Kermit talks.
Kermit Let's see. We got... Fozzie is doing a pantomime with Zero Mostel. Got a musical number...
Sam Musical number? Good, good.
Kermit ...with Zoot and Rowlf. And then of course we've got... Uh, we got the lady, uh... (mutters) ...the lady wrestlers.
Sam stops pacing and stands at Kermit's shoulder.
Sam The what?
Kermit Uh... Oh, nothing, Sam. It's just... We got, uh, some lady, uh... (mutters) lady wrestlers. Stand by for the pantomime number!
Sam Lady what?
Kermit Lady wrest...
Sam (whispers) Wrest, what?
Kermit ...lers.
Sam Lady wrestlers?! Lady wrestlers!
Sam rages around the prop room.
Kermit Sam, Sam, you don't understand--
Sam Have we no shame?! (groans)
Kermit I...
Sam Kermit, something, something must be done here.
Kermit Yeah, but...
Sam Someone must work for integrity and decency. Someone, someone must do this. I shall continue to speak out, knowing someday I will get my just desserts.
Kermit Uh, Sam, you will someday get your just desserts.
Beautiful Day reenters holding a pie, which he hits Sam in the face with.
Beautiful Day Monster (chuckling)
Kermit What was that?
Beautiful Day Monster Just desserts. (leaves)
Sam The road is long. The path is steep.

Muppet Labs: Magnetic Carrots

Bunsen is at the table with a short red container in front of him.
Bunsen Honeydew Oh. Dr. Bunsen Honeydew here at Muppet Labs, where the future is being made today.
Beaker emerges, terrified, from behind a set piece.
Bunsen Well, we've had a major breakthrough here at the laboratory. Beaker, come on in here and let's show them Muppet Labs' brand-new magnetic carrots.
Beaker approaches the table.
Bunsen Come on, Beaker. Just pick up the lid there. It's alright.
Beaker (whimpers)
He removes the lid to reveal some carrots on a tray.
Bunsen Isn't that snazzy?
Beaker shakes his head "no."
Bunsen Now these carrots are perfectly ordinary in every way, except that they are magnetic.
The carrots fly off the plate onto a metal grate.
Beaker (gasping)
Beaker tries to pry the carrots off the grate.
Bunsen Yes, friends, you can carry these new magnetic carrots home on the roof of your car and store them on the ceiling of your refrigerator.
Beaker (grunts)
A robot rabbit has entered and is making its way over to Beaker.
Bunsen Oh, of course, to be perfectly honest, there is one slight drawback. Sometimes the magnetic carrots tend to attract steel, uh, rabbits.
Bunsen ducks below the table as the rabbit smacks Beaker to the floor. It takes the carrots and leaves. Bunsen reappears.
Bunsen Tune in next time for news of our research into the feasibility of cast-iron watchdogs.
Beaker comes up, disheveled and dazed.
Bunsen Beaker...
Statler Ah, let's switch channels. This show is dull.
Waldorf You bet.
Waldorf clicks a button on the TV.
Statler What is that?
Waldorf It looks like two ancient old guys sitting in a theater box watching television.
Statler That's crazy! No one would watch junk like that.

Dressing Room

Zero Mostel is powdering his face. Sam enters.
Sam Uh, excuse me, Mr. Mostel.
Zero Yes?
Sam I am Sam the Eagle...
Zero I'm so glad to know you.
Sam Mmm, yes, glad to know you. I am the upholder of decency and dignity for this show.
Zero Are you really?
Sam Mmm, yes. I believe this program is trivial...
Sam turns his back on Zero, and as he does, Zero makes a face, sticks the powder puff in his mouth, and flaps his arms mockingly.
Sam ...and... and not fit for family viewing.
Sam turns around again, and Zero instantly stops.
Sam It is... It is disgracefully lacking in culture.
Sam faces away from Zero, and Zero reaches for a hammer.
Zero It is disgracefully lacking in culture.
Sam Mmm, I'm glad you agree with me, yes. I, personally, have always felt that this program...
Zero winds up to hit Sam with the hammer. When Sam turns around to face him again, he drops it behind his back.
Sam must... must, I say, be cleansed of all nonsense and silliness.
Sam turns away again. Zero aims a gun at Sam, and sticks the barrel in his mouth when Sam turns back.
Sam Mmm. Don't you agree with me, sir?
Sam faces away again.
Zero Of course. Must be cleansed.
Zero dumps a glass of water behind Sam.
Sam Yes. Now, it seems to me that you and I think alike.
Zero makes faces at Sam, then resumes a pleasant expression when Sam turns around.
Zero We do. Well, it's been a pleasure...
They shake hands.
Sam A pleasure talking to you, sir. A man of dignity. (leaves)
Zero Dignity. Always dignity. Dignity, dignity... (squawks and flaps his arms)


Granny the Gouger approaches Kermit at his desk.
Granny the Gouger (clears throat)
Kermit I'm sorry to keep you waiting, ma'am. What can I do for you?
Granny Yes, I understood you're looking for lady wrestlers. You see, I'm Granny the Gouger and I'd like to audition.
Kermit (chuckles) You want to audition? That's very funny. Is this some kind of a joke or something?
Granny Joke? Funny? Young man, it's not nice to make fun of an old lady. You're going to be old yourself someday.
She winds up to punch Kermit. He ducks and she knocks the intercom off the wall.
Granny And when that day comes, you're going to be sorry you weren't nicer to Granny. (leaves)
Kermit I think I'm sorry already.

"Smoke Gets in Your Eyes"

Zoot and Rowlf the Dog play "Smoke Gets In Your Eyes." Slowly, smoke begins to billow out of Zoot's saxophone until, by the end of the song, the room is filled with smoke.

"Fears of Zero"

A library set. Zero Mostel is sitting engrossed in a book, which he shuts on his nose and then pries off. He beckons to the camera and begins his poem.
Zero Late, late at night

The world sleeps... (snores)

And I am here alone

And here I come some nights

To confront my fears

Muppet monsters creep up behind him, growling.
Zero They're here, my fears

They are always with me

Lurking, scurrying, hiding and waiting

They come!

And they go

The monsters all dart away.
Zero But though they are gone they are never far

And here, alone at night...

...I can confront them

He throws open some drawers on a desk and monsters spill out of them.
Zero There they are, confronted fears

Fears of hunger, fears of pain... Ow!

Shakey Sanchez runs by him.
Zero Fears of missing the last train

Fear of dentists always drilling

Fear that no one will be willing

To see me as I know I really am.

Once they are counted and compelled

They can quickly be dispelled (squeaks)

The desk monsters vanish.
Zero Like figments of my own imagination.

But always... There are other fears.

More monsters surround him and lurk out of book shelves.
Zero Fears of snakes, fears of cats

Fears of maรฎtre d's and rats

An irrational black terror that someday I may get fat

Fear of elevators falling

And the taxman someday calling

And the accidental walling of myself

Green and Purple Heap crawl up onto his shoulders.
Zero Up inside a clammy, dank old dingy cellar

Where the spiders weave around my tummy

And the worms and bugs and crawly things

Squirm and squiggle at my person

(cackling) Oh, I love it!

Once they are counted and compelled

They can quickly be dispelled (squeaks)

The monsters vanish.
Zero But then...

There are other fears

Fears of bullets, there's a dread

Fear of baldness on the head

Fear of waking up one morning

To discover that you are dead

More monsters surround him.
Zero Once they are counted and compelled

They can quickly be dispelled (squeaks)

The monsters vanish.
Zero Like figments of my own imagination.

Then there is the last fear

Just about the time I'm past fear

The one that really is final

It will come yours... and mine'll

Timmy Monster walks in behind him.
Zero In the darkest of the night

It will come without a fight

It will count me and compel me

It will casually dispel me

Zero vanishes, leaving just Timmy Monster, who looks around curiously.
Zero's voice For I am just a figment

Of its own imagination

Timmy shrugs.


Kermit Oh, look at that. The show's almost over and I still haven't found another lady wrestler. Oh, where in the world am I gonna find another heavyweight, aggressive, tough female with a killer's instinct?
Miss Piggy enters.
Piggy Hello, Kermit.
Kermit Oh... Oh, hi, Miss Piggy!
Piggy And, pray tell, what is my wonderfulness doing?
Kermit Oh, you see, I was just thinking that you'd be perfect for a special spot in tonight's show.
Piggy You have created a spot just for moi? (gasps) Oh, tell me about it, my little green ball of passion.
Kermit Uh...
Piggy Yes, yes, yes.
Kermit Yeah. Well, you see, this is a spot that requires an actress with tremendous strength...
Piggy Yes!
Kermit ...versatility, uh...
Piggy Yes!
Kermit ...and someone who's all female.
Piggy Oh. Oh, what is it? Joan of Arc?
Kermit Uh, no.
Piggy Naughty Marietta?
Kermit Well, uh, no.
Piggy Oh, Lady Macbeth!
Kermit Well, uh, it's more like a lady wrestler.
(Piggy does a slow burn.)
Piggy Lady... wrestler? (She huffs loudly while Kermit speaks.)
Kermit Well, yeah. It's a sort of thing where you, uh... You have to have the ability to... I mean, wrestlers are...
Piggy (screaming) Lady wrestler?!
Piggy chases Kermit offscreen and back again, both screaming. Zoot and Floyd enter.
Zoot What do you make of that, man?
Floyd Ten to one on the pig.
Kermit and Piggy run past again, still screaming.
Zoot Right.
Kermit tries to hide between Floyd and Zoot, then keeps running.
Piggy Lady wrestler?!

Drum Solo

Animal plays a solo, but his drum catches on fire before he can finish.

Lady Wrestling

Scooter enters the stage.
Scooter Tonight we're gonna present you with a cultural demonstration of female grace and dexterity. So here they are, direct from the Bali Hai Bowl-A-Drome, Granny the Gouger and the Mysterious Miss Mask! One fall, no holds barred.
The curtain opens. Granny the Gouger and Kermit wearing a wig, mask, and cape are warming up in a wrestling ring.
Granny Hope your insurance is paid, frog.
The bell rings and the two prepare to fight. Granny takes Kermit to the ground easily.
Granny C'mon... Hiyah!
Granny ties up Kermit's limbs. Booing and whistling come from the crowd, applause from Zelda Rose and Svengali's assistant. Granny picks up Kermit and throws him out of the ring.
Granny Alley-oop!
Kermit lands in Statler and Waldorf's box.
Statler I think you'd better give up, frog.
Kermit What, and leave show business?
Piggy enters the ring.
Granny (chuckling)
Piggy What did you do to my frog?
Granny Hmm?
Piggy I'll show you. Hiyah!
Piggy karate-chops Granny the Gouger, who falls over backwards. The audience cheers and applauds.


Kermit stands in front of the curtain, his arm in a sling and covered in bandages.
Kermit Well, that's about it for another Muppet Show. Some of us have taken great pains to bring you this show. Uh, but right now I'd like to thank our special guest star, who has joined the ranks of the Muppet monsters, Mr. Zero Mostel! Come on out!
Zero comes onstage flanked by Big Mean Mama and Boppity, making monster noises with them. Sam enters from the other side of the stage.
Sam Now you stop that, Mr. Mostel.
Kermit Uh, well, that's about it. We'll see you all next time on The Muppet Show.
Zero Must there be a next time?
Zero bites Sam on the beak. The credits roll and the theme song plays.
Statler Well, what do you think of television?
Waldorf gets electrocuted by the television.
Statler Shocking, isn't it?
Waldorf grabs Statler and they both get shocked.