Muppet Monday: Mahna Mahna (Whatever That Means)

I have the perfect cure for your Monday.

Just two words x 2.

Mah. Na. Mah. Na.

Do you hate me yet?

How about if you listen to this?

This is tune before the Muppets took their own turn at it. Jim Henson heard the quirky tune from Umiliani in a “sexploitation” film called Sweden: Heaven and Hell.

See? Inspiration can be found practically anywhere. “Mahna Mahna”, as we know it, performed with two Snowths and a hippie-style puppet with fire red hair by Frank Oz and Jim Henson on the Ed Sullivan Show in November of 1969.

A few years later, it made its mark on The Muppet Show.

I love how our rocker friend is such a mystery to the Snowths. (I still can’t figure out what they are.) He is so carefree, and happy, and they are just like WHY IS HE STEALING OUR THUNDER? Plus Waldorf and Statler have a great final word at the end of that sketch.

Though the Muppets boast many memorable original songs, Jim had a great ear to make this gem his own. In my own mind, it’s as catching as the melodies of “It’s a Small World” or “Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow” (two Sherman Brothers songs, how funny) can be. It’s pretty much impossible to say the word “mahna” or recognize the first few notes without humming the rest of the song for the entire day.

Try it, I dare you.

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A book publicist who loves writing about Disney and books, and sometimes Disney books.

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