DEBUT 1972
DESIGN Caroly Wilcox builder

The Martians, sometimes called "the Yip-Yips", are interplanetary visitors, presumed to be from the planet Mars, who are terrified by things like clocks, telephones and computers on Sesame Street. When frightened, they hide beneath their lower lips, which shoot up to cover their faces. They rarely come face-to-face with other characters on the show.

In their skits, these creatures, with squid-like tentacles, large eyes, and antennae, materialize into a room and converse with each other in their native tongue: "Yip-yip-yip-yip... Uh-huh. Uh-huh," done in monotone voices. They often come across common objects and, curious as to their names and functions, the Martians will consult a book presumably containing information about things on Earth, although they sometimes make several incorrect guesses based on their book. In one skit, for example, the Martians call a computer a television and a typewriter before deciding what it actually is.

The first puppets were originally chenille hats, adapted by Caroly Wilcox.[1]


Picture Summary / EKA Description
Episode 0398
The Martians discover a telephone. They say hello to it, and then try mooing, meowing, and clucking at it. None of these bring any response. Then the phone begins to ring. The Martians, thinking it's talking, start making ringing noises back.

Performers: Jim Henson (blue martian), Jerry Nelson (red martian)

Grandfather clock
Episode 0407
The Martians discover a grandfather clock and wonder if it's an Earth person. They consult their book, which says a person is tall, has a face, and has hands. The clock fits the description perfectly. But then the grandfather clock begins chiming the hour, frightening the Martians.

Performers: Jim Henson (blue martian), Jerry Nelson (red martian)

Ernie and Bert Meet the Martians
Episode 1208
Ernie wakes up and tells Bert it's time to get up, but notices that Bert isn't in his bed. He slowly ponders what happened to his best friend, coming to the conclusion that maybe some Martians took him away in their spaceship. As it turns out, Bert just got up early to fix some oatmeal. Ernie is relieved... until a real spaceship lands and the Martians enter the room.

Performers: Jerry Nelson (red martian), Richard Hunt (blue martian)

Episode 1329
The Martians discover a radio. They tune into three different styles of music, none of which they like. Then they tune into some static, which they start joyfully dancing to.

Performers: Jerry Nelson (red martian), Richard Hunt (blue martian)

News Flash: Old MacDonald had a spaceship
Episode 2021
Old MacDonald tells Kermit that a spaceship has landed on his farm. A dog runs in, with a frisbee in its mouth, and MacDonald says that it's the spaceship. Kermit sets him straight. But before long, a real spaceship lands on the farm, and out of it come the Martians. The scene ends in chaos.

Performer: Martin P. Robinson (red martian)

BringThatThing 2
Bring that Thing
Episode 2460
The Martians (addressed as Stevie and Jonathan Martian) are the contestants on one of Guy Smiley's game shows. They need to bring him something that involves light (such as a flashlight, a lamp, and the moon, which they have to quickly zoom back into space to get). Their jackpot prize is a pot of lightning bugs.

Performers: Martin P. Robinson (red martian), Kevin Clash (orange martian)

Finding Earth
Episode 2725
The Martians are looking for the Earth and find pigs in space and the Moon along the way.

Performers: Martin P. Robinson (red martian), Kevin Clash (blue martian)

Episode 2731
The Martians come upon a book which they try to eat, smell and hear before a gust of wind blows the pages open and they realize that they can read it.

Performers: Martin P. Robinson (red martian), Kevin Clash (blue martian)

Leaky Faucet
Episode 2962
The Martians spy a leaky faucet through a kitchen window. As it continues to drip, a Fat Blue woman turns it off, shocked to see that she had been wasting water.

Performers: Jerry Nelson (red martian), Martin P. Robinson (blue martian)

Episode 3350
The Martians examine a fan and are "blown away" by it.

Performers: Martin P. Robinson (blue martian), David Rudman (orange martian)

Number 16
Episode 3387
The Martians look at the number 16.

Performers: Jerry Nelson (blue martian), Martin P. Robinson (red martian)

The Letter U
Episode 3387
The Martians find the letter U.

Performers: Jerry Nelson (blue martian), Martin P. Robinson (red martian)

Letter A
Episode 3387
The Martians investigate the letter A.

Performers: Jerry Nelson (blue martian), Martin P. Robinson (red martian)

Other appearances

Martians Pizza Box Song

An orange, pink, and yellow Martian sing the "Pizza Box Song"


When You Wish Upon a Pickle promo

  • "Guy Smiley Takes His Audience to Lunch" (First: Episode 2646)
    Two Martians make a cameo appearance as audience members when Guy Smiley takes his entire studio audience to lunch.
    An orange Martian floats outside of Telly's spaceship in the introduction of the "Space Day" playlist.
  • Spaghetti Space Chase
    The Martians appear as animatronics riding a flying saucer in outer space as they notice all the spaghetti around them.
  • Sesame Street at SeaWorld
    An interactive element in the park features a mail slot, which when opened, shows video of the Martians visiting a disco, the beach and outer space.
  • Common Sense Media
    Two Martians appear in a video promoting the organization's "DeviceFreeDinner" campaign.

Street scenes


  • "Hi Friend"
    Bob makes friends with the Martians and they all sing together.
  • "Brush Boogie"
    Nonspeaking cameo during the song, sitting on a wall brushing each other with their interstellar brushes.
  • "Adding, Adding, Adding"
    Bert is trying to read his book when Ernie starts singing a song about addition. As Ernie sings, he's joined by Cookie Monster and Grover, some cows, an elephant and a Martian. At the end of the song, Ernie leaves Bert with a room full of singing monsters and animals.
  • "Adventure"
    Cameo appearance when En Vogue travels on a rocket ship to another planet.
  • "Number of the Day Song" (Season 50)
    Martians are used to count to the number of the day.


Matt and marty performing martians

Marty Robinson, Matt Vogel, and the Martians recording dialogue for the "iYip" iPhone app.

Around the time of the 35th Anniversary of the program, licensees finally started to notice and recall the characters. In the latter half of 2003, retail outlet Hot Topic led the way with the first-known official Yip Yip merchandising, a "vintage"-looking t-shirt with two Martians (pictured).

This was followed in the fall of 2004 with Gund bean-bag toys (pictured). Another plush version was later produced for sale at Sesame Place theme parks.

In 2008, a second t-shirt was made by Mighty Fine featuring the same artwork as the Hot Topic shirt, but retaining the two puppets' original colors. More t-shirts eventually followed.

Light switch plates and other merchandising were released featuring a vintage art style created for many of the characters in conjunction with the anniversary celebration.

The 2006 Sesame Street calendar features the Yip Yips for the month of November, and they make an appearance on the front cover scene.

Two Martians appeared in "Out of This World", a Sesame Street Live touring show that launched in 2003, and featured in the song "The Yup Yup Boogie." They also make appearances in the CD-ROM game, Get Set to Learn!, during Zoe's "What Size is Your Prize?" game and the CD-ROM Elmo's Reading Basics. They also star in an online game at, Earth Exploration, where they observe nature with their talking guidebook.

In 2011, the Martians were featured on iYip, a soundboard iPhone app in which the Martians recite random phrases and statements. (Martin P. Robinson and Matt Vogel provided the Martians' voices for the app.)

Book appearances


  1. iYip Soundboard App: Behind the Scenes

Start a Discussion Discussions about The Martians

  • Frank as a Martian

    11 messages
    • I think Leslie Carrara-Rudolph played a Martian on Elmo the Musical. And I thought Stephanie played the martian leader.
    • LionelCollins19 wrote: But besides Frank Oz, I'm also looking for some videos, games and clips of the Martians being performed by Rich...
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