The Three Stooges were a classic comedy team, whose best known incarnation consisted of Moe Howard, Curly Howard, and Larry Fine, and had their roots in vaudeville as "stooges" to Ted Healy. They accompanied Healy to Hollywood but soon broke out on their own, appearing in countless Columbia film shorts emphasizing slapstick, physical violence, and pie-throwing.
Moe and Larry were the only constants, with the third stooge played variously by Curly Howard (1932-1946), Shemp Howard (in vaudeville, one 1930 film appearance, and up until 1932 and replacing Curly from 1946 to 1955), Joe Besser (1956-1958), and finally Curly Joe DeRita (1959-1975, for later television and film appearances). The classic trio of Moe, Larry, and Curly was frequently referenced on Muppet Babies, usually through stock footage.
Muppet Babies writer Jeffrey Scott is the grandson of Stooge leader Moe Howard.
- In the Play-Along Video, Neat Stuff To Know & To Do, a rabbit in the "Ewe-Can-Do-It" sketch is heard making noises made by Curly Howard in the various short films.
- In the recurring series of Muppet Time sketches, "The Three Silly Bears," the third bear, Ted, is portrayed as the Curly Howard of the trio, using many of his well known catchphrases and sounds.
- In episode 201 of Muppets Tonight, Dr. Phil van Neuter puts a threat on his and Mulch's plans to visit a Three Stooges convention.
- "Listen to the Mocking Bird," one of the themes used for their shorts, is worked into the closing vamp of "Make 'Em Laugh" in Here Come the Muppets.
- In the first season Muppet Babies episode "Good Clean Fun," Baby Fozzie engages in a whipped cream pie fight with the Stooges, using footage from the short Slippery Silks (1936).
- Beginning in the second season of Muppet Babies, random clips from the feature film The Three Stooges Meet Hercules (1962) were frequently used as stock footage, usually for chariot scenes.
- In the fourth season episode "Beach Blanket Babies," Baby Fozzie confronts his fear of crocodiles by imagining Three Stooges-like crocodiles as his swimming instructors: Moe, Larry, and Crocodiley.
- The fourth season episode "Beauty and the Schnoz" includes footage from the short Pop Goes the Easel (1935), illustrating Skeeter's claim that Scooter's artwork looks like a monkey painted it.
- Baby Gonzo (as Batboy) opens a door in "Sing a Song of Superheroes" to reveal a clip of Curly lip syncing Gaetano Donizetti's Lucia sextet as seen in the 1945 short Micro-Phonies.
- In "Hats, Hats, Hats," Kermit and Gonzo try to find a door that leads out of Gonzo's head. One door they encounter has footage from Spook Louder (1943), where Moe (voiced by Frank Welker) yells at them, "Say! What are you lookin' at?!"
- The final episode of the series, "Eight Flags Over the Nursery," features clips of the Stooges as a part of the Mr. Weirdo's Universe ride. A clip of the three riding cars from Men in Black (1934) is used and Skeeter and Baby Gonzo zoom through a clip from Spook Louder (1943) of the Stooges being hit with pies.
- Episode 1576 of Sesame Street features a group of birds called the "Canary Brothers," two of which are named Curly and Moe.
- In Sesame Street Episode 3710, a mother bird is seen with two baby birds named Curly and Moe.
- In Episode 3860, Telly chooses what names to give to Chuckie Sue's newborn babies, suggesting Chuckie, Curly, Moe, and Larry for male names.
- A common Grouch nickname for Gordon is Curly, referencing his bald head. Oscar calls him this in episodes 1736 and 3119, for example.