Hand Puppet

A puppet entirely operated by hand, usually with the puppeteer's hand inside. A common gag will involve the puppet acting implausibly independent of its puppeteer, often by being argumentative, abusive, etc. If it is independent, it's a Perverse Puppet or Demonic Dummy.

A prominent sub-type is the sock puppet, which is exactly what it sounds like: a Hand Puppet made out of a sock.

Another sub-type, which is (somewhat disturbingly) common enough to qualify as its own trope, is the Dead Guy Puppet.

See also Muppets, which are generally more complex, involving both hands (at least — some Muppets are operated by two people) for a more lifelike effect. For examples where someone treats their own puppet as if it has opinions of its own worth considering, see Consulting Mr Puppet.


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  • The Pets.com mascot, a hand puppet where you can clearly see the puppeteer's watch on his wrist. The mascot outlived Pets.com and now shills for other buisnesses.
  • The WGN "Nitecap" mascot is a handpuppet sheep encouraging you to stay up and watch instead of going to bed and counting sheep.

    Anime and Manga 
  • Best Student Council: Pucchan & Lance
  • In Cromartie High School, Destrade High's Yamaguchi introduces a ventriloquist named Akira Nakao. He plans to have him as his right hand man, but quickly shifts the job over to Nakao's puppet, Mick.
  • Juri Kato of Digimon Tamers (pictured above) has a sock puppet that she often uses to express her opinions and feelings instead of stating them outright as if they were her own. After Leomon's death, the D-Reaper possesses it and, as a sign of her deteriorating mental condition, it starts saying much darker things.
    • In one nightmare sequence, we see her as The Blank but with a creepy smile much wider than a human mouth is capable over, while the puppet, sewn onto her arm, gnashes its teeth as drool drips. It was possibly a nod to the fandom jokes surrounding the evil sock puppet of doom from day one.
  • The main character in Maison Ikkoku at one point is recruited into a college club dedicated to putting on puppet plays.
  • Midori Days had Takkizawa, a figurine fanatic, who, much to the protagonist's dismay, becomes fascinated with hand puppets.
  • In Oku-sama wa Mahou Shoujo the female employee at Kashiwa Publishing uses one to speak with occasionally.
  • In Ouran High School Host Club, Nekozawa has a hand-puppet cat named Belzeneff.
  • Mubyou from Wagaya No Oinari Sama always wears two hand puppets and sometimes uses them to talk to people...which doesn't change the fact that her punches can shatter concrete.
  • In Mirai Nikki, the fourth diary holder, Reisuke Houjo carries two hand puppets, which he treats as if they were actually real.
  • The Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service: Yuji wears a hand puppet named Kereellis that may or may not be an alien.
  • Natsumi Aso from Sketchbook makes her own hand-puppets, which she uses to talk to herself about her favorite snacks.
  • In Robot Girls Z, Doublas-chan both communicates and shoots beams from her puppets.
  • In Date A Live, Yoshino carries a rabbit puppet called Yoshinon. While she's shy, Yoshinon is confident and speaks his mind. She thinks he's real; when Shido commented on her ventriloquist act, she had no idea what he was talking about.

    Films — Animated 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • MirrorMask starts with a pair of sock puppets arguing — and for "sock puppets" read not only "made out of socks" but also "actually being worn on the puppeteer's feet". (Although actually actually, when the scene was filmed one of the puppets was worn on a hand as usual, to allow a greater range of facial expression.)

    Live-Action TV 
  • Sooty.
  • Several Doctor Who stories have used hand puppets to represent the alien monster of the week.
    • An alien ambassador in Timelash. (Astonishingly, it wasn't the most ludicrously cheap special effect in the story.)
    • The supposed Loch Ness monster in Terror of the Zygons.
  • 31 Minutos, a Chilean children's News Parody program, uses hand-puppets and sock-puppets prominently, and takes this trope to its logical extreme: using socks without even putting a minimal effort to convert them into sock puppets.
    • Not only socks, but also gloves got used as puppets at some point or another.
  • Jane's "truth snake" from Coupling is a hand puppet in the form of a pink snake that expresses her hidden negative thoughts when she's under the influence of mystery pills in one second season episode.
  • Good Eats, a cooking program starring eccentric chef Alton Brown, features quite a few puppets. The most prevalent would be those he uses for yeast, which are sock puppets (that burp).
  • Franklin, GOB's puppet from Arrested Development.
  • Gitmo on The Daily Show (a terrorist Expy of Elmo.)
    • Also Muppet Michael Steele, based on Jon Stewart's observation that RNC Chairman Michael Steele vaguely resembled a Muppet character from Sesame Street (a restaurant patron in a series of sketches involving Grover as a hapless waiter).
  • Sifl and Olly of The Sifl and Olly Show.
  • Mr. Flibble in the Red Dwarf episode "Quarantine".
  • Craig Ferguson uses animal puppets on The Late Late Show. They most often appear in the show's Cold Open and are voiced and operated by Ferguson himself. Regulars include Wavey the Cajun-Scottish Crocodile, and Sid the Cussing Rabbit.
  • Kukla and Ollie on Kukla Fran And Ollie.
  • Many characters on Mister Rogers' Neighborhood.
  • Many characters on Lamb Chop And Friends.
  • Several characters on Captain Kangaroo (classic versions).
  • The A-Team has an early episode where Murdock's latest tic is having a sock puppet named Sockey on one of his hands giving a running commentary to the team's latest job. BA gets so annoyed that he threatens both puppet and puppeteer to introduce them to his talking fist, Knockout.
  • The newscaster from Dinosaurs is actually named Howard Handupme.
  • Former CBBC mascots Gordon T. Gopher and Edd the Duck.
  • Ticket from Ressha Sentai Tokkyuger is one of these. The Conductor swears it's a separate entity, and they often disagree and argue. Right is always trying to snag the puppet so he can prove that the Conductor is just messing with everyone's heads. If it means anything, we've seen the Conductor remove the puppet once, and it shows no signs of life. No one else was around.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • In the World Wrestling Federation, Mankind once used a sock puppet named "Mr. Socko" to cheer up a hospitalized Vince McMahon in vain. The segment was a wild hit and Mick kept the sock around. Fortunately, his Finishing Move was placing a "nerve pinch" that put his hand into another wrestler's mouth so it fit perfectly that he'd stick the sock on his hand for the move and thus a cultural phenomenon was born.


  • Used for therapeutic interviews in Die Anstalt. It's implied that she may be a living being in her own right (like all the other Living Toys in the game.)
  • This is an obtainable expression in Fable II .


    Web Originals 

    Western Animation 
  • Mr. Garrison's puppet, Mr. Hat, from South Park. It's originally implied that Mr. Garrison is schizophrenic in some way, and uses Mr. Hat to act out his various repressed sides. The puppet is eventually phased out as Garrison becomes more disturbingly self-confident. It's kept somewhat ambiguous how sentient Mr. Hat actually is.
  • In The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron, Sheen ends up with his own public access show about hand-puppets.
  • In "Mother Nature" episode of The Fairly OddParents, Timmy's Mom became a weather woman and so Timmy's Dad decided to be both the mom and the dad by using a hand puppet that looks exactly like Timmy's Mom. Timmy's Dad can't get along with the puppet.
  • In the extended second season opening of Jimmy Two-Shoes, Heloise has one that looks like Jimmy, whom she has compliment on her ponytail.
  • In The Tick, The Human Ton has his good pal, the hand puppet Handy.
  • In the Droopy cartoon "The Three Little Pups", the wolf-as-dogcatcher uses a cat puppet to lure the pups out of their houses. The sight of a wind-up mouse causes the puppet to act like a real cat.