Animal is the drummer on The Muppet Show, performing with Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem. Animal is a crazed percussionist with three styles of music -- loud, louder, and deafening. He speaks in a guttural shout, often repeating a few simple phrases, such as "BEAT DRUMS! BEAT DRUMS!" or "WO-MAN!" In relatively calmer moods, he is capable of more coherent conversation, but these instances are infrequent.
Animal first appeared in the 1975 pilot, The Muppet Show: Sex and Violence, chained up in a basement cell when he wasn't onstage performing with the Electric Mayhem. He later became a main character on The Muppet Show, and his unrestrained style has made him popular with young people for decades.
Frank Oz says that he had his character down to 5 words: Sex, sleep, food, drums and pain. Occasionally, two of those essentials, food and drums, are interchangeable. In The Muppet Movie, Dr. Teeth had to remind Animal to beat, and not eat, his drums. In The Muppet Show episode 110, when asked by Kermit if he preferred drumming to food, Animal replied that drums are food.
Animal's wild attitude can even be compared to Cookie Monster. In A Muppet Family Christmas, after observing Cookie Monster eating all of Janice's cookies in his signature manner, Animal comments, "That my kinda fella!"
Animal's family life is generally non-existent, and outside of the band, the Muppet Show troupe, and women in general, he has no other relationships. A significant exception is depicted in the book The Case of the Missing Mother, which reveals the existence of Animal's mother, LaVerne. LaVerne is also a drummer, and it's implied that percussion skills are a family trait.
It is a popular legend that Animal was inspired by Keith Moon, the wild drummer of the Who.  Mick Fleetwood of Fleetwood Mac is also sometimes cited as the inspiration for Animal.  However, there is no evidence in the original sketches for the character that suggest that he was based on anybody in particular.
Three of the other members of the Electric Mayhem were created by Muppet designer Michael K. Frith, and the sketches reproduced in the 1981 book Of Muppets and Men show that they were based on famous musicians. Dr. Teeth is a cross between Dr. John and Elton John; Sgt. Floyd Pepper is based on the Beatles' Sgt. Pepper album, and the original concept for Janice was a skinny, long-haired male character based on Mick Jagger. Animal, on the other hand, was designed by Jim Henson, and the rough sketch (also seen in Of Muppets and Men) doesn't appear to be related to any real musician.
When drumming legend Buddy Rich appeared on The Muppet Show, one sequence featured a "drum battle" between Rich and Animal in homage to the legendary face-off album between Rich and his contemporary Gene Krupa.
Although Animal battled Buddy Rich, in an earlier episode, episode 110, it was mentioned during an interview Kermit gave Animal that Buddy Rich was one of Animal's idols. Also during this interview, Animal revealed that he had been playing the drums for five years, which would mean that he's been playing the drums since 1971.
One of Animal's most memorable performances with a guest star was in episode 105, in which he wildly played the drums in Rita Moreno's number "Fever". Other guest stars who have had scenes with Animal include Lou Rawls, Leo Sayer, James Coburn, Harry Belafonte, and Kaye Ballard.
Animal has also had roles in all of the Muppet movies. In The Muppet Movie, he ate Dr. Bunsen Honeydew's Insta-Grow Pills, causing him to grow ten times his size and scare away Doc Hopper. He also appeared in The Great Muppet Caper, The Muppets Take Manhattan, The Muppet Christmas Carol, Muppet Treasure Island, Muppets from Space, It's a Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie and The Muppets' Wizard of Oz.
Animal is probably the most popular member of the Electric Mayhem. He has certainly been included in more merchandise than the rest of the band. He was also the only member of the band to be included regularly on Muppet Babies.
Animal was the mascot of the U.S. snowboarding team for the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano, Japan. Animal made a television appearance in Nagano with CBS reporter Kennedy, during which she stapled his feet to a snowboard.
In Muppets TV, an original French-only show, Animal talks in full-formed sentences.
- Frank Oz: The Muppet Show: Sex & Violence (1975) - Muppet RaceMania (2000)
- Eric Jacobson: It's a Very Merry Muppet Christmas (2002) - present
- Kevin Clash - Occasionally on Muppets Tonight (1996)
- John Kennedy - MasterCard commercial (2002); Muppet Party Cruise video game (2003)
- Drew Massey - Statler and Waldorf: From the Balcony, Episode 9 (2005)
- David Rudman - SNL (2004) (puppetry only; voice provided live by Eric Jacobson)
- The Muppet Show Book (1978)
- The Comic Muppet Book (1979)
- Robin Hood (1980)
- The Muppets Go Camping (1981)
- Muppet Picnic Cookbook (1981)
- Two for the Show (1982)
- The Case of the Missing Mother (1983)
- The Muppets Take Manhattan (1984)
- Jim Henson's Bedtime Stories (1991)
- The Phantom of the Muppet Theater (1991)
- Muppet Time (1996)
- Ask Kermit: All About the Human Body
- The Muppet Show Comic Book (2009)
- The Treasure of Peg-Leg Wilson (2009)
- Muppet Robin Hood issue #3 (2009)
- Muppet Robin Hood issue #4 (2009)
- ↑ Henson's Place
- ↑ Front page, Keithmoon.co.uk.
- ↑ BBC News, "Myers 'to play' Who's Keith Moon". September 30, 2005.
- ↑ "Fleetwood Mac Artistfacts", Artisfacts.com.