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PERFORMER Brian Henson
DEBUT 1996
DESIGN Jane Gootnick

Sal strikes a pose in Muppets from Space.


Sal tries his hand at osteopathy in Muppets Tonight episode 201.


Johnny and Sal as ghosts in Muppets Haunted Mansion


Sal Minella is the primate flunky, bodyguard and all-purpose sidekick to Johnny Fiama.

The puppet used for Sal originated as a generic, unclothed monkey, performing a solo line in the opening song from Muppet Treasure Island. He was performed in this instance by Jerry Nelson.

The monkey was subsequently refitted with a vest and tie, and made his debut as Sal Minella in Muppets Tonight. Sal, who has since been performed by Brian Henson, is devoted to Johnny, though some of his ideas to promote Johnny's career are a bit harebrained.

At MuppetFest, Brian Henson explained that the performers got together with a bunch of random puppets to start working out characters for Muppets Tonight. Bill picked up a puppet and started singing, as Johnny Fiama, but everybody else was fooling around with their own puppets and not paying attention. So Brian picked up a monkey and shouted, "Would you all quiet down and listen to Johnny Fiama!" and Sal was born.

Sal subsequently appeared alongside Johnny, in Muppets from Space, It's a Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie, and The Muppets' Wizard of Oz. In the latter, Sal, even more oppressed than usual, is the only "real" monkey in the Flying Monkeys biker gang. At the end of the television movie, he was rewarded by Dorothy with the Wicked Witch's magic biker cap.

Sal later appeared on The Jerry Lewis Muscular Distrophy Telethon in September 2005 to perform "Bohemian Rhapsody" with Johnny, and a November 2009 Virmup video also coincidentally for "Bohemian Rhapsody", albeit only as a cameo (Brian Henson did not perform Sal in this non-speaking role).[1]

Sal made his first speaking appearance in 16 years in Muppets Haunted Mansion, playing one of Constance Hatchaway's victims (though not one of her husbands as he comments to Johnny).

Very little Sal Minella merchandise has been made. The only released merchandise is a French ceramic figurine produced in France as part of a series of Muppet fèves. Palisades Toys sculpted a prototype action figure of Sal, but the line was cancelled before it went into production.


Sal's full name, Sal Minella, is a homophonic play on the word "salmonella," a food-borne bacteria.

Sal's full name is seen on screen in Muppets Tonight episode 201, on the sign identifying him as an osteopath. It's also spelled this way in the Muppets from Space credits, and the instruction booklet for the 2003 video game Muppets Party Cruise.

His name is misspelled as "Sal Monella" in the 2014 book The Muppets Character Encyclopedia.


Book appearances[]