Fozzie Bear is a fictional character, originally created by Jim Henson as a member of The Muppets. He is an orange, particularly fuzzy Muppet bear who tells bad jokes and ends each joke with his catch phrase "Wocka Wocka Wocka". Shortly after telling the joke, he is constantly the target of rotten tomatoes and ridicule, especially from hecklers Statler & Waldorf.
Fozzie is very good natured and loves his friends. He was originally performed by puppeteer Frank Oz, although in recent years he has been performed by Eric Jacobson. In Muppet Babies, his voice was provided by Greg Berg, who also voiced Baby Scooter. Berg also voiced him in the ill-fated Little Muppet Monsters.
Though it is often believed Fozzie's name is a play on Frank Oz (F.Oz), he was actually named after the sorority, Alpha Xi Delta's mascot, Al Fuzzie, after Jim Henson's wife had been a member.
Fozzie Bear was originally conceived as Oz's main character. Miss Piggy occupied this position in later years, but Fozzie remained one of the main characters. One of his largest roles ever was in A Muppet Family Christmas, where he took all of his friends to his mother's farm for Christmas.
In the late '80s a children's video was released called Hey, You're as Funny as Fozzie Bear! which was to help kids develop comedic talent.
During the 1990s, his roles became much smaller, due to the fact that Oz had turned his focus to directing non-Muppet films and reduced his time with the Muppets. Fozzie was only a supporting character in the Muppet films of that decade, and only appeared in six episodes of Muppets Tonight. However, he returned to prominence when Eric Jacobson took over beginning with It's a Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie, in which Fozzie was the focus of a number of scenes.
In the late 1990's Fozzie Bear was forever immortalized when Mr. T., a popular pop culture icon from the show "The A-Team" had Fozzie's face tattooed on his right Bicep, along with the phrase "Fozzie pitys the fool!"
The character now belongs to The Walt Disney Company after Disney bought the franchise from The Jim Henson Company. The original puppet is kept in the teddy bear museum in Stratford-upon-Avon, founded by Gyles Brandreth.
Fozzie's mother Emily Bear (performed by Jerry Nelson) appeared in A Muppet Family Christmas special. To Fozzie's surprise, she was friends with Statler and Waldorf, despite the heckling they perform on him. In The Great Muppet Caper, Kermit and Fozzie are questionable news reporters and apparently twin brothers. Fozzie also has a cousin who appeared in the first season of The Muppet Show, also performed by Frank Oz.
Since the early days of The Muppet Show, Fozzie has often interacted with Kermit. Fozzie got Kermit to reluctantly assist him for one of his best-known monologues, "Good Grief! The Comedian's a Bear!", and has also had quite a bit of interaction with Kermit backstage.
In episode 115, Fozzie constantly annoyed Kermit with a running gag, delivering a number of pun items, such as a "wire" and a "letter" for Kermit the Frog which turned out to be a clothes wire and the letter R, respectively.
Another running gag is Fozzie's hat - as a bear, he is naturally covered with fur, all over. However, upon removing his hat, it is clear that his head shape is modeled on the pate of a bald headed man - thus, the juxtaposition of being both furred and bald simultaneously.
Kermit and Fozzie have also frequently been paired together in countless movies, books, and specials. In The Muppet Movie, Fozzie was the first Muppet Kermit met on his journey. After Fozzie's unsuccessful comedy performance at the El Sleezo Cafe, Kermit invited Fozzie to come to Hollywood with him. The two friends sang the duet "Movin' Right Along" in the same film. Several episodes show Fozzie as dedicated to Kermit, usually responding to his instructions with a chipper "Yes sir." On those rare occasions when Kermit must be away from the theater, he invariably leaves Fozzie in charge of the show, although he equally invariably regrets it.
Fozzie was also frequently teamed up with Rowlf the Dog. In episode 101, Fozzie played a western bandit to Rowlf's role as a western hero. Fozzie also appeared in two Veterinarian's Hospital sketches, in which Rowlf starred as Dr. Bob.
In episode 218, Rowlf learned that Fozzie could play the piano, and they played the piano together in a performance of "English Country Garden". Rowlf has also played back-up to Fozzie's renditions of "Hi-Diddle-Dee-Dee (An Actor's Life for Me)" and "I've Got Rhythm." During the latter number, Rowlf attempted to help Fozzie with his singing but was finally reduced to changing the hapless bear's lyrics to "I Don't Got Rhythm."
The young incarnations of Fozzie and Rowlf were also frequently paired together on Muppet Babies.
In the first season, the show's opening featured Fozzie telling a joke during an instrumental portion of the theme song. Fozzie was often featured in a sketch where he did a comedy monologue, in which Statler and Waldorf would heckle him (he was their favorite victim). In the second season, Fozzie's comedy routines often had gimmicks such as or ventriloquism or performing on roller skates. As the series progressed, he did fewer comedy routines, becoming more involved in the show as a whole.
Occasionally, Fozzie used Jewish humor on the show, presumably because of his Jewish performer. For example, "The Telephone Pole Bit" included a reference to Frank Oz's Polish Jewish father, and in Fozzie's magic act, he pulled a Rabbi out of his hat.
Though his main job was to be the show's comedian, he has had a number of other roles on The Muppet Show. He sang and danced in many musical numbers, and frequently acted in sketches (most famously his recurring sketch "Bear On Patrol" where he played an unlucky police officer). He also often helped backstage. He even attempted to plan out the show in one episode, and write the script in another.