Weekly Muppet Wednesdays: Biff

WMW Biff

Today’s article is written by frequent contributor Michael Wermuth, Jr.

BIFF

Performer…Biff
Jerry Nelson

First appearance…
Sesame Street Season 5 (1974)

Most recent appearance…
Sesame Street Season 40 (2009)

Best known role…
Construction worker; Sully’s partner; loud-mouth

Best friend…
Biff’s best friend is most likely his partner, Sully. Biff often asks Sully questions but interrupts him before Sully can get a chance to talk.

Family…
Biff is married to a woman named Ethel and has four kids, including a baby named Mary-Biff (who we met in episode 2608). He also has a niece named Roxy Marie, who was a regular character during the 1990s.

WHO IS BIFF?
Biff is the loud-mouthed construction worker on Sesame Street. He speaks with a Brooklyn accent and acts like a know-it-all but is wrong most of the time. His partner is Sully, and for a short time they also worked with a construction worker named Stella.

BIFF SONGS
“Think of Your Fingers”
“Five Feet High and Rising” (with Johnny Cash)
“One Thing Leads to Another” (with Judy Collins)
“We Coulda”
“This is my J”
“Do De Rubber Duck”
“This Song is for the Birds”

MEMORABLE BIFF MOMENTS
In one sketch, Biff wants to listen to music while working, but has forgotten to bring his portable radio, so he goes to get it, telling Sully not to start until he comes back. But Sully works anyway, leading Biff to keep coming back and remind Sully that he told him not to start until he got back. Eventually, Biff saw that Sully had built a piano, so Sully started playing as Biff started working, drowning out the beautiful music.

In another sketch, Biff and Grover appear as cavemen, struggling to move a heavy rock up a hill, until Grover invents circles (or “the wheel”), as Biff had suggested Grover come up with a basic invention. As it’s implied that this took place before anything was invented, it can be said that Biff holds the distinction of being the first person to suggest an invention (though Biff was basically playing a role).

In another sketch, Biff hangs photos and titles at an art gallery, each of which has a different number of abstract blobs. He is told to put in the correct titles, most of which are based on the number of blobs: Numbers 2, 3, 4, and the fifth one which is titled “Chicken Soup”.

WHY DOES SESAME STREET NEED BIFF?
A busy city street needs construction workers to build and demolish buildings. And children need to know that Bert and Ernie are not the only duo on the street. Who better to prove it to kids than Biff and Sully?

The Muppet Mindset by Ryan Dosier, muppetmindset@gmail.com

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One thought on “Weekly Muppet Wednesdays: Biff

  1. I read on Muppet Wiki that Biff is made from the Large Lavender Live Hand Anything Muppet pattern.

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