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The Most Unforgettable Muppet Movie Cameos

When you watch a Muppet movie, you might find yourself repeatedly becoming a real-life version of the Leonardo DiCaprio meme from "Once Upon A Time In Hollywood," when DiCaprio's character, an actor, excitedly points at his television as he recognizes himself in a program. Muppet movies often have one — or several — primary human leads accompanying the furry, felt creatures, like when Jason Segel and Amy Adams headlined the 2011 film "The Muppets" or when Michael Caine starred as Ebenezer Scrooge in 1992's "The Muppet Christmas Carol." In addition to the leads, though, Muppet movies are brimming with surprise cameo appearances from pretty much everyone in show business.

The tradition goes back to 1979, with the franchise's very first feature film outing, "The Muppet Movie." With "The Muppet Show" airing in primetime in the '70s and '80s and showcasing a different guest star every episode, there was an impressive roster of talent with prior Muppet experience. Sometimes celebrities simply played themselves, albeit exaggerated, while other times they portrayed fictional personas within the story. These cameo appearances make for fun moments of surprise and hilarious bits of moviemaking. Here are a few of the most iconic.

Steve Martin - The Muppet Movie

Steve Martin has been in the biz a long time — he was already a beloved comedian by the time the Muppets made their first film, which tells a "sort of, approximately" accurate version of how the Muppets all came together.

Shortly after meeting for the first time, Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy explore their romantic relationship by going out to dinner, where Steve Martin plays their waiter. Martin steals the scene with his sarcastic schtick. When Kermit tells him "You may serve us now, please," Martin replies with a bow, "Oh, may I?" The couple orders champagne, which Martin explains is actually "sparkling muscatel, one of the finest wines of Idaho." Kermit retorts, "Should be, for 95 cents." When he's finished serving Kermit and Miss Piggy at their table, Martin profusely thanks them for letting him serve them and graciously bows as he steps away, just before rolling his eyes as he leaves their presence.

Martin's brief moments on-screen perfectly embody his comedic style, and he has excellent chemistry with his Muppet co-stars, who he previously worked with on a Season 2 episode of "The Muppet Show."

Big Bird - The Muppet Movie

In "The Muppet Movie," Kermit the Frog and Fozzie Bear take a road trip to Hollywood to follow their dreams of making movies. On the way, they encounter someone walking on the side of the highway. "What is that?" Fozzie inquires, looking ahead while driving. Kermit replies, "Maybe we should give him a ride," to which Fozzie cautions, "I don't know. He's pretty big." They pull over to check on the traveler, who turns out to be none other than Big Bird from "Sesame Street."

Fozzie asks Big Bird if he needs a lift. Big Bird replies, "Oh, no thanks. I'm on my way to New York City to try to break into public television." A meta-joke, this line refers to the home base of "Sesame Street," which was filmed in New York and aired on PBS. Fozzie is taken aback by Big Bird's unexpected ambition and wishes him well as he and Kermit continue on their drive.

While not considered part of the same franchise, the Muppets and "Sesame Street" share a handful of similarities, including many of their performers and even some of their characters. Prior to "The Muppet Movie," Big Bird, Bert, and Ernie had all previously guest-starred on "The Muppet Show," and Kermit had regular appearances on "Sesame Street" for a number of years. Oscar the Grouch, performed by Caroll Spinney just like Big Bird, would later cameo in 1981's "The Great Muppet Caper."

Cloris Leachman and Orson Welles - The Muppet Movie

When the Muppets finally make it to Hollywood in the finale of "The Muppet Movie," two cinema legends await them. Kermit leads the Muppets into the office of fictional Hollywood producer Lew Lord, but Mr. Lord's assistant, Miss Tracey, played by Cloris Leachman, insists they can't meet him without an appointment. "This is a movie studio, not a zoo!" Miss Tracey shrieks. Soon the gathered creatures upset her allergies so much that she flails to the floor and opens Mr. Lord's office doors.

As the Muppets walk into Mr. Lord's office, we discover the producer is played by the late Orson Welles, director of such iconic films as "Citizen Kane" and the infamous "War of the Worlds" radio broadcast that spooked some listeners into thinking its fantasy narrative was a live news broadcast. As Mr. Lord, Welles imperiously looks over the Muppets from the other side of his desk as Kermit says they've all come to Hollywood to be rich and famous. Welles buzzes his assistant and delivers his only line in the film: "Miss Tracey, prepare the 'rich and famous' contract for Kermit the Frog and company," to which they all rejoice in celebration.

John Cleese and Joan Sanderson - The Great Muppet Caper

In "The Great Muppet Caper," Kermit mistakes Miss Piggy for Lady Holiday, a wealthy fashion designer. Interested in Kermit and not wanting to shatter the illusion, Miss Piggy goes along with the misunderstanding and pretends to be Lady Holiday. She tells Kermit to pick her up for a date from her home at 17 Highbrow Street, which she subsequently breaks into in order to maintain her facade. As Miss Piggy bursts into the home, its real occupants, a couple named Neville and Dorcas, have dinner together. The homeowners are portrayed by John Cleese, of Monty Python fame, and Joan Sanderson, known for her work on '70s sitcoms like "Please Sir!"

Cleese and Sanderson perform what amounts to seven minutes of dry, slow-burn comedy while Miss Piggy climbs up the exterior of their home, enters through a window, and proceeds to tour Kermit around as if it's her own house. Neville and Dorcas discuss the doldrums of the weather with fantastic wit, and nonchalantly mention absurd conversation points, such as the fact that Dorcas hasn't left the house in 12 years.

When the pair discover Miss Piggy, they aren't alarmed in the slightest, continuing on with their dry schtick as if that sort of thing happens to them all the time.

Joan Rivers - The Muppets Take Manhattan

Miss Piggy works at a makeup counter in "The Muppets Take Manhattan," where her co-worker, Eileen, is played by Joan Rivers. After having some relationship trouble with Kermit, Piggy is feeling down. Eileen tries to cheer her up with a makeover, liberally applying generous helpings of rouge, lipstick, and fake eyebrows on Piggy — and doing the same for herself.

The two laugh themselves into hysterics, attracting the attention of unsettled shoppers and, unfortunately, their boss. He promptly walks over to their counter and informs both of them that they're fired, to which they burst into another fit of laughter. The scene is loud, boisterous, and unapologetically giddy.

This 1984 appearance was just the start of Rivers and Piggy's career-long history. Miss Piggy appeared on a 2012 episode of "Fashion Police" as Rivers looked back on some of Piggy's red-carpet outfits over the years. In 2014, the pair had a public "feud" culminating on QVC, which posited the two had been on-and-off best friends for decades, and that Rivers had even auditioned for the role that ultimately went to Miss Piggy on "The Muppet Show" in the '70s. Rivers' cameo in "The Muppets Take Manhattan," QVC explained, was Piggy's attempt to "extend an olive branch" to Rivers. "When the director yelled 'action,'" Rivers reflected, "all that baggage just seemed to melt away." Kermit added, "It was show-business magic. I've never seen anything like it before or since."

Katie Holmes and Joshua Jackson - Muppets From Space

Having always referred to himself as a "whatever" when discussing his species of origin, Gonzo searches for his family and believes himself to be an alien in "Muppets From Space." It turns out he's right, and as a crowd waits on a beach at nightfall for Gonzo's family to arrive, a few friends from Capeside, Massachusetts are among them.

Katie Holmes and Joshua Jackson from "Dawson's Creek" warm themselves by a fire with Muppets named Clifford and Pepé. Holmes and Jackson reprise their roles from their famous teen drama series as Joey Potter and Pacey Witter, respectively. Joey begins the scene by remarking, "It's too bad Dawson isn't here to see this." Pacey replies, "Tell me about it. This whole situation is like one of his sci-fi movies."

"Dawson's Creek" aired for six years on The WB. The show was in between its second and third seasons at the time of the 1999 theatrical release of "Muppets From Space," making Holmes and Jackson topical figures to teens in the audience. Both "Dawson's Creek" and "Muppets From Space" were produced by Sony and filmed in Wilmington, North Carolina, making the crossover cameo both legitimate and convenient. As Pepé says, this is a Muppet movie, so why not?

The cast of Scrubs - It's A Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie

NBC aired the direct-to-television, Emmy-nominated film "It's A Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie" during the 2002 holiday season, and in doing so took advantage of some sitcom synergy. When Miss Piggy temporarily quits the Muppets, she tries to guest-star on an episode of "Scrubs," not understanding she's actually been cast as an extra. Zach Braff, Sarah Chalke, Neil Flynn, John C. McKinley, and Judy Reyes all reprise their roles from the medical comedy.

As the cast declares a body under a blanket to be dead, the figure under the blanket emerges, revealing Piggy. "I think I'm feeling better!" she exclaims. "I'm alive!" She celebrates, desperate to have a speaking role on the show while her castmates roll their eyes in frustration. When the director calls "cut" and the cast puts Piggy in her place, she fights back. "I didn't quit the legitimate theater to play a lump under a dumb sheet! I was thinking my character could start dating J.D., then become a nurse with attitude." Kermit soon arrives on set and relieves the "Scrubs" gang from having to deal with Piggy any further.

The blatant use of inner-network properties is joked about later in the film. As Kermit sits on a park bench, he laments, "Corporate synergy, it's out of control," while the camera shows an NBC logo on the bottom of his foot and the famous three-note NBC chime fills the air.

Quentin Tarantino - The Muppets' Wizard of Oz

When "The Muppets' Wizard of Oz" aired on ABC in 2005, the film was interrupted midway through. While television viewers may have been confused at first, it was all part of the movie. Just as the Wicked Witch of the West (played by Miss Piggy) is about to try to destroy Dorothy, the camera abruptly cuts to a business boardroom, where sitting on either side of a conference table are Kermit the Frog and director Quentin Tarantino. By 2005, Tarantino had already directed "Pulp Fiction" and "Kill Bill," and he had some ideas for how Kermit could improve the sequence that the film just cut away from.

Jumping out of his seat and wielding a sword, Tarantino excitedly pitches to Kermit what could happen next in the movie. "I'm talking kung-fu! I'm talking walking on walls! I'm talking explosions everywhere! I'm talking Oz in flames! Burn, baby, burn!" Tarantino exclaims, sweat dripping down his neck. When Kermit, aghast, replies that those ideas sound too violent, Tarantino instead suggests "crazy morphing." He then presents a series of storyboards showing various Muppets transforming into one another before finally transforming into a vampire who explodes into blood. This would all be depicted in anime, Tarantino insists.

Kermit still isn't sold, so Tarantino, at last, settles for a simple shot of Dorothy kicking the Wicked Witch in the face. The frog boss loves the idea, and the movie resumes.

Dave Grohl - The Muppets

It turns out Muppets aren't the only musicians to fall on hard times. Their 2011 film, simply titled "The Muppets," chronicles the breaking up and coming back together of the beloved Muppet characters. As Kermit attempts to track down each character, he's surprised to discover what some of them are up to. That's certainly the case for Fozzie Bear, who Kermit finds performing in "The Moopets," a Muppets cover band at a casino in Las Vegas. The band is in the middle of their act when Kermit approaches them, with Fozzie singing a parody of "Rainbow Connection" from "The Muppet Movie." New lyrics describing the casino's amenities, like "free parking for cars, not RVs" and "our wedding chapel is 24 hours, no marriage certificate needed."

Accompanying Fozzie are mostly various Muppet-like creatures, like someone named Miss Poogy filling in for Miss Piggy. The only human of the bunch is Dave Grohl, from the Foo Fighters and Nirvana. Grohl plays the drums while portraying "Animool," a spoof on the Muppets' Animal character. Grohl mostly stays in the background, rocking it out for the barebones casino audience. Several years later, Grohl worked with the franchise again when he appeared as himself on ABC's primetime series "The Muppets" in 2015 and met Animal face-to-face.

Emily Blunt and John Krasinski - The Muppets

"A Quiet Place" wasn't the first film that married couple Emily Blunt and John Krasinski appeared in together. That honor goes to 2011's "The Muppets," the movie in which a down-and-out Kermit reunites his pals to save their old theater. The gang can't put on a show without Miss Piggy, so they visit her in her new city of residence, Paris, where she's an editor of Vogue Magazine and goes by the name of "Mademoiselle Cochonnet." Greeting them in Vogue's lobby is a receptionist played by Emily Blunt, a role very similar to the one she played as Meryl Streep's assistant in 2006's "The Devil Wears Prada."

Later in the movie, celebrities answer calls in a telethon to help raise money for the Muppets' theater. Among the famous faces in the balcony box taking calls is John Krasinski playing himself in a blink-and-you'll-miss-it scene.

Fans of "The Office" might have a lightbulb moment about two other Krasinski-related coincidences. The two female leads of the film, Amy Adams and Rashida Jones, both played love interests of Krasinski's character, Jim Halpert, on "The Office" before Jim finally dated and married Pam. All three actors never share a scene in "The Muppets," nor do Krasinki and Blunt appear onscreen at the same time, despite having gotten married the year before the film was released.

Billy Crystal - The Muppets

In 2011's "The Muppets," Kermit and the gang are desperate to find a celebrity host to emcee their telethon. They hope to swindle someone into hosting duties by presenting various actors with fake Oscars in exchange for being their host. Veteran Oscars host Billy Crystal soon arrives with police to perform a citizen's arrest of the gang for "Oscars forgery," which he says is punishable by "having to watch this movie again."

Crystal is appalled at the mockery the Muppets are making of his signature event. They've even gone to the lengths of hiring a Billy Crystal impersonator, who Crystal is altogether offended by. "Are you supposed to look like me?" Crystal inquires, to which the pretender replies, "I don't look like you. You look like me." Crystal considers the look-alike filling in for him in jury duty, but then changes his mind and asks the police to arrest him.

The entire scene, which also includes cameos by Kathy Griffin and Ricky Gervais, was deleted from the finished movie, as was a follow-up scene in jail featuring Wanda Sykes and Danny Trejo. Gervais and Trejo would later go on to appear in 2014's "Muppets Most Wanted," which arguably might not have been possible if their 2011 scene remained in its movie.

Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett - Muppets Most Wanted

2014's "Muppets Most Wanted" begins with an elaborate musical number titled "We're Doing A Sequel." With "Muppets Most Wanted" being the second theatrical outing in the franchise's 2010s revival, the song lists all the ways that the new film will be a do-over of its predecessor, 2011's "The Muppets."

With many tongue-in-cheek lyrics like "everybody knows that the sequel's never quite as good" and "the studio wants more while they wait for Tom Hanks to make 'Toy Story 4'," the opening sequence is meta and memorable. One of the hallmarks of any Muppet film, of course, is the inclusion of surprise celebrities at any given moment. The song is no exception, cutting to a shot of Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett serving food at the movie set's catering table. As Kermit sings "Let's give it a go," Bennett and Gaga join in, respectively singing "with Hollywood stars" and "more one-liner cameos."

"Muppets Most Wanted" debuted in March 2014, just months before Gaga and Bennett's first duet album was released. It wasn't their first time working with the Muppets, either. Gaga infamously wore a dress made out of Kermit the Frog heads in 2009 and headlined a variety special with the Muppets in 2013. Bennett guest-starred on a 1996 episode of the primetime series "Muppets Tonight," a '90s studio audience take on "The Muppet Show."

Céline Dion - Muppets Most Wanted

Constantine, the world's most dangerous frog, disguises himself as Kermit and sneakily takes the reins of the Muppets' world tour in "Muppets Most Wanted." Constantine, as Kermit, asks Miss Piggy to marry him. Not realizing the frog's true identity, Miss Piggy says yes, though she feels something might be off. Conflicted in her emotions, she sings "Something So Right," all about how while the wedding is what she's always wanted, it feels wrong.

As Miss Piggy belts it out, she's joined by none other than Céline Dion — filmed in black and white and surrounded by magical stardust, no less. From there, the number essentially becomes a full Dion/Piggy music video, presented without a hint of irony. The hilarity apexes with a black-and-white shot of two rows of Muppets' heads facing one another, each row led by Dion and Piggy, singing into each others' eyes before turning to look directly into the camera. Dion appears once more in the middle of the rows, again surrounded by stardust, running the notes of the song with all her might. Dion is no doubt an MVP of the film, giving as much to her performance in the Muppet movie as she would if she were on stage at an awards show.

Usher - Muppets Most Wanted

An elaborate heist in "Muppets Most Wanted" leads Miss Piggy to plan a wedding with Kermit, but her husband-to-be is really Constantine, the world's most dangerous frog, in disguise. As various Muppets arrive for the wedding ceremony, one of them needs help finding his seat. Link Hogthrob, perhaps best known for co-starring with Miss Piggy in the "Pigs In Space" sketch on "The Muppet Show," looks around at the church aisles and remarks, "Let's see. Where am I seated? I'll need an usher. Usher? Is there an usher?" An attendant turns around to greet and assist Link and ... it's Usher. As in, pop star Usher, the Usher. "Yes, I'm the Usher," he says.

Usher asks Link if he's there to support pig or frog, and incorrectly guesses that he's there for Miss Piggy. Link corrects him. "No. Frog. I'm related through marriage. What kind of an usher are you?" Usher closes his eyes in frustration and takes a moment to breathe.

Josh Groban - Muppets Most Wanted

For the majority of "Muppets Most Wanted," Kermit is trapped in a prison. Tina Fey plays his warden, and his fellow inmates are a who's-who of celebrity appearances, featuring everyone from Stanley Tucci and Tom Hiddleston to Danny Trejo and Ray Liotta. There's another prisoner, though, who is only heard, not seen. His voice is never identified, but viewers might recognize the signature operatic tones emanating from a solitary confinement cell as belonging to singer Josh Groban.

After appearing for the duration of the movie as an ominous, offscreen voice, Groban emerges from his cell for mere seconds at the end of the film, during the "Together Again" finale song. As Fey's character opens his door, he steps out into the sunlight for the first time in who knows how long, passionately belting, "I just can't imagine that you've ever been gone. It's not starting over, it's just going on!" Fey promptly shoves him back into his cell and closes the door.

Groban would soon have even more screentime with the franchise. The very next year, during a 2015 episode of ABC's primetime series "The Muppets," Groban played himself and had a romantic relationship with Miss Piggy. Much of the short-lived mockumentary dealt with Kermit and Piggy's recent break-up, and Groban proved to be a perfect new boyfriend for Miss Piggy ... until his name was added to the marquee of her late-night show, at which point he got the boot.