Joe the Legal Weasel

There’s a new Muppet in town. His name is Joe the Legal Weasel, he is performed by the fantastically talented Peter Linz, and he appears about 20 seconds into this video: 

I love the idea behind Joe the Legal Weasel. He seems to be a way of poking fun at the folks running Disney without them necessarily realizing that they’re being skewered from within, which is exactly what the Muppets should be doing. 

Nevertheless, this particular sketch leaves me cold. And I’m not entirely sure why. 

Apparently, part of Joe’s schtick is that he laughs maniacally at his own jokes. The problem (for me) is, here his joke wasn’t very funny to begin with. Maybe that was intentional, but from where I’m sitting, it looks like this sketch was woefully underwritten. 

This was actually not the debut of Joe the Legal Weasel. He appeared at D23 alongside Kermit to tease the “Muppets Now” short-form series supposedly debuting on Disney+ next year. Apparently, there is no video of that appearance, only audio and some photographs that someone edited together to make a very strange presentation: 

This bit seems to be better written and is mildly amusing. So maybe there’s hope for Joe the Legal Weasel. He has the potential to become really fun and satirical. I just hope he gets some better material to work with. 

7 thoughts on “Joe the Legal Weasel

  1. >>Nevertheless, this particular sketch leaves me cold. And I’m not entirely sure why.

    Come to think of it, in my mind, Joe the Legal Weasel turned out to be more PuppetUppity than TMSque, in a sense that the core Muppet characters stole our hearts by being charming in their special but “all too human” ways (even Crazy Harry and J P Grosse have something we all can find within ourselves), whereas Joe’s combination of legalese and mirth seems to be deliberately designed to feel less human, kind of unsympathetic fun.

    Maybe the tastes and perceptions change — and the fine line between being humorous and sarcastic gets all but forgotten these days ([I]oh well, it’s a narrow path between satirical and cutesy the muppets 2015 could not well navigate[/I])… Or maybe that’s just me getting all cranky and nostalgic 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • (First of all, I like your adjective forms 😉 )

      It’s not the legalese that I have a problem with; I find that to be the funniest part of the Muppets Now announcement. Maybe the problem is that he feels sort of shoehorned into the pirate one, whereas in the announcement he was more in his element.

      Another thing is, we don’t actually know who came up with the idea for the character (I asked Peter Linz on Instagram, but he didn’t respond). For all we know, he may have originated with the execs as part of a carefully engineered marketing campaign.

      I don’t know. Time will tell whether the character ends up working or not. It always does, after all.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Oh no, I’m not at all against legalese which has its rightful place, or Joe, who may yet turn up having an endearing personality quirk which will have us glued to the screen — like Frank did with Marvin Suggs… After seeing his Ernie I have full trust in Peter’s talent and ability to do it. I was just trying to rationalize what feels out of place here, that “shoehorned” impression, the reason this clip did not quite shiver me timbers right there on the spot 🙂

        As for Muppets kind of humor, i think a big part of it is the feeling of deep underlying sympathy to whoever the joke is on, some sort of empathy, a feeling of acceptance if you will, which still flocks people to muppet fan sites. It is largely lost elsewhere lately, as you will likely get easier laughs at unsympathetic characters — but imagine Homer Simpson or Family Guy in Fozzie’s place, with the same jokes… the whole point of it is lost once the sympathy’s not there. This kind of humor, very special in nature, is in my opinion what makes Muppets the Muppets… this is what i’d hate to see them loose.

        Liked by 2 people

  2. I’m late to the party by agree with your conversation. I’m chilled by this,and it’s definitely under-baked. Somehow, it’s like they forgot to finish the script. The Weasel is annoying. I have friends in Disney so I’ll say little else.


  3. Omigoodness, I couldn’t disagree more. I have friends who are intellectual property lawyers and they (and me) find him HILARIOUS. He’s funny cause he finds his own jokes funny. That’s the most human thing ever. He’s funny cause that’s basically a lawyer’s version of a dad-joke.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Well, it’s still too early to tell, but I think he may be funnier in certain contexts than in others. Like, he was considerably funnier, in my opinion, when his obstructive bureaucracy was frustrating Kermit than when he just showed up randomly in the middle of otherwise trademark Muppet silliness.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Interesting how looking at things at slightly different angle can change the whole perception — simply by bringing in a new set of connotations 🙂 Elizabeta, I must admit, your post just had shaken my view of “who” Joe might be, inside — Indeed, let’s wait and see where it all goes next!

        Liked by 1 person

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