Weekly Muppet Wednesday: Gene (aka Behemoth)

Gene

Written by Jarrod Fairclough

Gene (aka Behemoth)

PERFORMED BY
Various, inc Richard Hunt, Dave Goelz, Jerry Nelson & Bill Barretta

FIRST APPEARANCE
The Muppet Show Season 1, Episode 14 (Sandy Duncan)

MOST RECENT APPEARANCE
Muppets Most Wanted

NAMED AFTER
Bill Barretta’s brother, Gene Barretta

WHO IS GENE?
Originally named Behemoth until 2011, Gene first appeared in a Season 1 episode of The Muppet Show, where he slams a pie in to Sandy Duncan’s face.  He made 5 appearances throughout the series, including a segment of Veterinarian’s Hospital, eating Zero Mostel, and throwing bowling balls at Leo Sayer.  One of his most prominent appearances in this time was in the song ‘Under My Skin’, where he first ate one of his cast mates, a trait that continues today.

After an almost 15 year absense, Gene returned in an episode of Muppets Tonight, as a bodyguard.  He then disappeared for a while, only to return around the time of the 2011 film, The Muppets.  Gene had a line in the film, complimenting the kidnapped Jack Black on his ‘real nice teeth’.  He also cameo’d in OK Go’s film clip for their cover of The Muppet Show Theme.  He most recently appeared in Muppets Most Wanted.

After being named Behemoth for 30 years, Bill Barretta decided to change his name to Gene, in reference to his brother, Gene Barretta, who is a prominent author and animator.

WHY DO THE MUPPETS NEED GENE?
Gene is one of the great Muppet monsters of our time.  For 30 years he’s been around to eat his cast mates and help out around the place.  Jim Henson was a big fan of having Muppets eat other characters, and Gene is one of the last remaining Muppets that carries on that tradition.

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