Weekly Muppet Wednesdays: Zoot

Written by Ryan Dosier.

Performed by…
Dave Goelz

First appearance…
The Muppet Show: Sex and Violence pilot (1975)

Most recent appearance…
Muppets Most Wanted (2014)

Best known role…
Saxophone player in the Electric Mayhem band; “The Muppet Show Theme Song” final note player; sleepy, burnt-out hipster.

Well known quote…

“I ain’t got no other pants!”

Zoot is the one and only saxophone player used by Dr. Teeth and The Electric Mayhem, and one of the core five members. Described by Floyd Pepper as, “Zoot, sax is [his] axe,” in The Muppet Movie, Zoot and his saxophone are nearly inseparable. He is also often seen sleeping on the job and is suddenly awoken in time to perform. Sometimes he’s asleep with his eyes open, hence why he “skipped a groove again” in The Muppet Movie.

The thing Zoot is most well known for is playing the final, bellowing saxophone note to the closing theme of The Muppet Show. In almost every episode of the show, Zoot is seen in the orchestra pit blowing the final note and often being shocked by the sound it makes. This role put Zoot in every episode of The Muppet Show, one of very few characters with that distinction.

In The Muppet Show, Zoot was a major player in season 1, appearing with guest stars such as Juliet Prowse and Phyllis Diller. He was also more outspoken in season 1 than in later seasons. This made him Dave Goelz’s main character throughout season 1, before Gonzo really came into his character and became a big part of the show. In later seasons Zoot was rarely seen outside of gigs with the band.

Zoot has also appeared in every major Muppet movie (excluding Kermit’s Swamp Years–but… major? Meh). In The Muppet Movie he was seen playing in a church with the rest of the Electric Mayhem, in The Great Muppet Caper, he famously had no other pants, man; in The Muppets Take Manhattan he was quite excited about aliens landing, only to find that nobody had; in The Muppet Christmas Carol he played Fozziwig’s Party, in Muppet Treasure Island he questioned the politics of piracy, in Muppets From Space he played a bar mitzvah with the rest of the Electric Mayhem, and in The Muppets’ Wizard of Oz he arrived late.

Recently, Zoot has been making a resurgence along with the rest of the Electric Mayhem. He has been seen in Give a Day. Get a Disney Day. promotions, Christmas at Rockefeller Center (2009), Studio DC: Almost Live!, Letters to Santa, and “Bohemian Rhapsody.” Zoot continued to appear alongside the band in The Muppets and will be seen in Muppet Most Wanted this year.

Some noteworthy Zoot performances…

  • The Muppet Show closing theme
  • “Love Ya to Death” (Sex and Violence)
  • “Tenderly” (Episode 116)
  • “Sax and Violence” (Episode 102)
  • “I Heard it Through the Grape Vine” (Episode 516)
  • “Barnyard Boogie” (Episode 504)
  • “Rockin’ Robin” (Episode 510)
  • “Can You Picture That” (The Muppet Movie)
  • “You Can’t Take No For an Answer” (The Muppets Take Manhattan)
  • “Gone Fishin'” (Rocky Mountain Holiday)
  • “The Man With the Bag” (A Red and Green Christmas)

I wouldn’t say that the Muppets need Zoot, particularly, but they do need The Electric Mayhem, and they most definitely need Zoot. Zoot provides the burnt-out, hippy musician vibe for the band that perfectly balances the exact opposite that is Animal. Without Zoot, the band is also missing the sax, which is a crucial part to most of their songs.

Zoot also acts as a close friend to both Floyd and Dr. Teeth, he used to have something of a relationship with Janice (when he was more outspoken), and is the one to remind Animal to take his tablets so each member of the band benefits from him equally and need him as well. Zoot is a crucial part of the Muppet formula, and it’s incredible and wonderful that he has stayed around for 35 years.

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

5 thoughts on “Weekly Muppet Wednesdays: Zoot

  1. I know I said before that Nigel was one of the cutest muppets… So, Zoot is the cutest. I like his voice, I like his hair, I like his blue-colored skin and… I like his saxophone as well.
    Love him so much!!!!!

  2. I LOVE ZOOT<333 He's def my favorite Muppet. Love his voice the best tho... and the hair... and the sax as a matter of fact i love everything about him.
    If i ever got to meet the muppets, the first thing i'd say to Zoot is “MARRY ME” 😉

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