''Muppets Tonight'' was a TV series featuring TheMuppets that originally ran from 1996 to 1998 as part of ABC's TGIF block. An update of the premise of ''Series/TheMuppetShow'', it featured the Muppets producing a television variety show with the help (or otherwise) of the episode's guest star. Kermit the Frog was replaced as host by Clifford, a catfish-esque "humanoid" first seen on ''Series/TheJimHensonHour'', but retained his role as producer. ''Pigs In Space'', a recurring sketch from ''The Muppet Show'', returned as ''[[Series/StarTrekDeepSpaceNine Deep Dish Nine]]''.

The series introduced several new Muppets who went on to appear in subsequent productions such as ''Film/MuppetsFromSpace'' and [[Film/TheMuppets the 2011 film]], including lounge singer Johnny Fiama; Sal Manilla, Johnny's bodyguard; Bobo, the studio's security guard; voracious monster Big Mean Carl; and Pepe the King Prawn, the studio's elevator attendant who was desperate to break into showbiz, [[VerbalTic okay]].

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!!This series provides examples of:

* AdamWesting: Many of the guest stars, to a greater or lesser extent.
* AmbiguouslyGay: Dr. Phil Van Neuter. So much so in fact, it lead to some UnfortunateImplications as far as performer Brian Henson is concerned.
* BigEater: Big Mean Carl.
* BreakoutCharacter: Pepe the King Prawn. Other new characters this series introduced either faded or had minor roles later on, but Pepe has had a steady major presence ever since. Bobo the Bear and Big Mean Carl have also made repeated appearances since ''Muppets Tonight'' ended, but neither to the degree of prominence that Pepe has achieved.
* BreakupBreakout: Pepe went on to appear in many later Muppet productions. Seymour.. didn't.
* CallBack: When Bobo flings Sal Monella into the traffic, Johnny Fiama comments that it's a [[TheGreatMuppetCaper nutty way to get a cab.]]
* CatchPhrase:
** Andy and Randy frequently exclaim "This job's too hard!!" Usually when anybody reaches step 2 of the very simple task they're putting before them.
** Clifford (when he's hosting and something inevitably sidetracks him): "anywho..."
** Bobo (as an inappropriately casual goodbye given whatever had just happened beforehand): "Have a good day sir."
** Big Mean Carl: "Hi, I'm Carl!" and "Thank you!"
* CelebrityPower: Cindy Crawford was shown to have heat vision, because she's a ''super''model.
* [[ChasteToons Chaste Puppets]]: Miss Piggy mysteriously acquires two nephews, Andy and Randy.
* TheChewToy: Clifford is frequently the subject of the show's cartoonish slapstick.
* ChuckCunninghamSyndrome: With the exception of Pepe the King Prawn, Bobo the Bear and Big Mean Carl, many of the new Muppet characters that debuted on this show either made no further appearances in Muppet productions after the series ended or faded into the background. Examples include Seymour, Bill the Bubble Guy, Zippity-Zap, Nigel the Director, Mr. Poodlepants and others.
** Johnny Fiama, Sal Minella and Dr. Phil van Neuter became core characters in post-Muppets Tonight Muppet productions for a few years, but fell victim to this trope after the mid-2000s.
* ClarkKenting: Parodied, with a skit that featured Bobo the Bear & Clifford in a BuddyCopShow parody - Upon Clifford asking him about his sunglasses, Bobo stated he was working undercover, prompting Clifford to point that it was a PaperThinDisguise & it wouldn't work... Only for several people who knew Bobo to fail to recognise him.
* TheCameo: Happens a lot. One episode was nothing ''but'' cameos.
* ClipShow: "The Best of ''Muppets Tonight''"
* ContinuityNod: Kermit introduces the guest star, as always.
* DemotedToExtra: Many older characters. Kermit not being the host is a common source of criticism.
* DistractedByTheSexy: Half of every "Bay of Pigs Watch" sketch consisted of David Hoggselhoth ignoring whatever is going on at the beach to come up with an excuse to make out with Spamela Hamderson.
* TheDitz: [[ThoseTwoGuys Andy and Randy]] may be just the two stupidest Muppets ever created.
* DontExplainTheJoke: Seymour and Pepe's attempt at telling the "Elefino" joke, which is made even funnier by [[OverlyLongGag the diagrams and placards they use to explain it]]. The audience got it the first time, they don't think it's funny. Even Gonzo had to hold Rizzo back from yelling.
* DropInCharacter: Both Polly Lobster and Clueless Morgan from ''MuppetTreasureIsland'' appear on this show... for... some reason...
* EarpieceConversation: In the CindyCrawford episode, mumbling security guard Bobo the Bear develops a crush on her. They hook him up an earpiece so that Rizzo the Rat can feed him the lines, but Rizzo's nephews (coming home from somewhere with balloons) walk in, leading Bobo to hear and repeat: [[GettingCrapPastTheRadar "That's a nice set of balloons you've got. Maybe you'll let me play with them later."]] It doesn't end well for Bobo.
* ExactWords:
** When Bobo is hired as a security guard, he prevents Clifford from getting to his office because his orders (As given by Clifford) stated that if a person's name wasn't on the list, they weren't to be allowed in the building. Clifford countered by saying: If my name's not on your paycheck, you don't get paid.
** The first time Clifford and Rizzo get Garth Brooks to agree to do a country song, he sings "If I Were A Rich Man", which is a song from a musical about people living in the ''Russian'' countryside. Rizzo comments that Garth didn't mention ''which'' country.
* ExecutiveMeddling: Done in-universe when Earnst Staveros Grouper buys the station. Among the irrational changes he makes is changing Kermit the Frog into Virgil the Monkey.
* FanDisservice: Bunsen and Beaker... in bikinis in the "Cameo Show." StatlerAndWaldorf agree.
* GettingCrapPastTheRadar: It's the Muppets. What do you expect?
** Particularly the aforementioned Cindy Crawford "balloons" joke and Music/GarthBrooks singing "It's Not Unusual" and inciting various Muppets ''including Bobo the Bear'' to throw their underwear onstage, including a teeny-tiny bra he seems inordinately fond of...
** In the "Seinfeld Babies" sketch, they make a very unsubtle reference to "The Contest".
** On Billy Crystal's episode, he re-enacts the ImmodestOrgasm scene from WhenHarryMetSally with Miss Piggy, in which she explains how easy it is for women to fake a sneeze to get out of a date.
* GoodAngelBadAngel: Seymour and Pepe pretending to be Jason Alexander's good and bad conscience in order to convince him to do an act with Gonzo.
* GotVolunteered: How Clifford got to be the host. Kermit asked for someone to host the new show and everyone ran out the door. Except Clifford, who was in the corner talking to his girlfriend on his cell phone.
* HostileShowTakeover: In one episode, the lobsters from the "Rock Lobster" sketch take over the show. The day is saved by the guest star, Pierce Brosnan, who goes undercover as... James Prawn. In a gigantic lobster costume.
* HypocriticalHumor: The shows has tons of it, particularly mixed with TemptingFate.
** On a ''Tales from the Vet'' segment, Dr. Van Neuter warns the guests not to overdo it on the eggnog at the Christmas party. HilarityEnsues when he [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UsBIjhBBPx8 doesn't follow his own advice...]]
** From the Heather Locklear episode:
--->'''Clifford:''' When Heather Locklear agreed to guest star here on ''Muppets Tonight'', she said she wanted to do something cultured and sophisticated. This is what we came up with. ''(cue StylisticSuck BMovie parody)''
* IAmNotSpock: Pierce Brosnan is mistaken for 007 at the beginning of his episode.
* IAmNotWeasel: "I am not a ''shrimp'', okay? I am a King Prawn!"
* IOweYouMyLife: John Goodman saves Andy and Randy's life, so they dedicate themselves to being his slaves out of gratitude. Naturally, they only succeed in annoying him.
* IncessantChorus:
** In one episode, the characters keep mentioning Istanbul and Constantinople as though they were two different places, and every time they do, a band of rats dressed up as Turks pop up from nowhere to sing the penultimate verse of "Istanbul (Not Constantinople)".
** Another episode has a band of Muppets show up to sing "Whip It" every time someone says the word "whip."
** The "Phenomena" sketch with SandraBullock.
** "Goodness gracious, my grape balls are on fire!"
* MonkeysOnATypewriter: In one episode, we learn that the show's scripters are actual Muppet monkeys, mindlessly pounding at typewriters going "Ook-ack-ook!". Once they come up with a satisfactory script, Kermit lets them [[Film/TwoThousandOneASpaceOdyssey go touch the monolith]].
-->'''Kermit:''' I'll never know what they see in that thing.
* {{Notzilla}}: An episode featured Kermit as "Frogzilla".
* NotOnTheList: A RunningGag involving Bobo the bear as the security guard.
* OhCrap: It wouldn't be the Muppets without this.
* OnOneCondition: Parodied in an episode in which the guest star's character will inherit a "fortune" of "eighty-five dollars" provided that he is married to a beautiful woman. Miss Piggy happens to walk in the door at that point... (And it turns out that she has more money than that already on her.)
* OutOfFocus:
** Pretty much every Muppet performed by Frank Oz, thanks to Oz being too busy with his own project to perform them full-time. Piggy became a "special guest star" (such as in the Michelle Pfeiffer episode) while Fozzie, Sam and Animal were only used in the occasional skit or segment.
** Kermit too had a reduced role compared to his days in ''Series/TheMuppetShow'', since he was no longer the host, but as the "producer" of the show he still appeared in almost every episode and interacted a lot with the guest stars.
* OverlyLongGag: The show suffered ''a lot'' from this in the earlier episodes, especially during "Tales From The Vet."
* ParentalBonus: It's the Muppets.
* ParodyNames: Spamela Hamderson and David Hoggselhoff, the stars of ''[[Series/{{Baywatch}} Bay Of Pigs Watch]]''.
* PhoneTraceRace: Happens in one episode where a pair of crewman trace the call... by methodically ripping the phone cable out of the walls.
* PianoDrop: Clifford gets a piano dropped on him in the Gary Cahuenga episode.
* PigLatin: In the John Goodman episode:
-->'''John Goodman:''' The igpays are a little upidstay.\\
'''Pigs:''' He speaks the ancient tongue! Eway are not orthyway! Eway are not orthyway!
* PlayingAgainstType:
** InUniverse, where the monster of one sketch is played by Kermit.
--->"This is fun! I never get to play the bad guy."
** The entire plot of the Garth Brooks episode was that Brooks didn't feel like performing Country/Western that night. By the time that Clifford finally convinced him to sing one of his own songs, he had already performed random bits of Creator/WilliamShakespeare, Tom Jones' "It's Not Unusual", "If I Were A Rich Man" from ''FiddlerOnTheRoof'', and had been planning to participate in one of Gonzo's acts up until the moment he learned how painful the act was likely to be (the act consisted of flying upwards on jet packs, being stopped by bungee cords, and then recoiling back to Earth to crash into the unpadded studio floor).
* [[FurryConfusion Puppet Confusion]]: One episode involved a ventriloquist dummy coming to life...and this freaked ''[[HypocriticalHumor the Muppets]]'' out.
* RetGone: A bunch of new Muppets were introduced that took up a larger amount of screen time than the original ones, and were probably intended to be a "next-generation Muppet cast" to add to the originals. The majority of them have never appeared since.
* ShaveAndAHaircut: The punchline to the "Phenomena" sketch:
-->'''Sandra Bullock:''' You should see [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h5Mc55P1i9g what happens when I say "shave and a haircut"]].
* SpellingSong: In the Cindy Crawford episode, as part of a parody of ''TheMickeyMouseClub'':
-->K-E-R (Are we having fun yet?) M-I-T (That's a swell university.) F-R-O-O-G
* SpinOffBabies: A sketch in which two tapes of old network shows got tangled together, resulting in the creation of "{{Seinfeld}} [[MuppetBabies Babies]]".
* StatlerAndWaldorf: It wouldn't be the Muppets without them. No matter where they go, they end up watching the show, this time from a nursing home.
* ThemeTwinNaming: Andy and Randy
* TheyChangedItNowItSucks: the Music/GarthBrooks episode was an InUniverse version of this when Garth decided he didn't want to do Country music anymore and did other things like a Tom Jones impersonation, while everyone else wanted Garth to go back to the way he was, so he closed the show with "We Shall Be Free".
* ThisIsGoingToSuck: Garth Brooks' opinion of Gonzo's rocket-boosted sub-orbital inverse bungee jumping act once he learns what will be stopping them (The floor). Fortunately, he learns this in time to safely back out.
* TooDumbToLive: Again, Andy and Randy.
* TriviallyObvious: "''Muppets Tonight'': the show critics everywhere are calling... 'Muppets Tonight'."
* TwoForOneShow
* VerbalBackspace: John Goodman is fighting in a war with a bunch of rats:
-->'''John Goodman:''' Don't worry, I promise to get all of you home back in one piece.\\
''(a rat explodes and then comes back into view with his top torso separated from his bottom torso)''\\
'''John Goodman:''' Okay, maybe several pieces.
* WhatCouldPossiblyGoWrong: At the start of the WhoopiGoldberg episode, Clifford is really optimistic about the show that night, and is cheerfully telling Kermit about the plans, until Bill the Bubble Guy walks past and adds, "What could possibly go wrong?" Cue [[GenreSavvy Clifford's]] immediate paranoia and a phone call from Miss Piggy saying that she's flying back from a mall opening in Antarctica and might not make the closing number.
* WhoWritesThisCrap: At the beginning of the "Hardy Pig Boys in the Mystery of the [[NinjaPirateZombieRobot Zombie Queen of the Amazon Outer Space Bee Woman]] Case: Based on a novel by Jane Austen" sketch.
-->'''Announcer:''' Ugh, who wrote this?\\
'''Andy & Randy Pig:''' We did!
* YourCostumeNeedsWork: [[http://images2.wikia.nocookie.net/muppet/images/8/8a/Little_richard.jpg Beaker does an uncanny Little Richard impression]], actually a cameo of Music/LittleRichard himself, on which the show's host, Clifford, comments "Worst Little Richard impersonation ever!"

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