Rizzo the Rat is a sly Muppet rat who loves to eat and play tricks on others. He speaks with a Brooklyn accent and is often paired with Gonzo and the two have been best friends ever since.
Rizzo the Rat is a rat who has a tendency to crack mocking jokes at others or make fun of them. Sometimes, as seen in The Muppets Take Manhattan, he tries to cheat people into getting something he wants. However, he also has a sensitive side (according to Tim Hill and Gonzo during an audio commentary for Muppets from Space) and is good friends with a couple of characters. He was created by Steve Whitmire after he took a fascination to a bunch of old rat puppets made from bottles by Don Sahlin for The Muppet Musicians of Bremen. Whitmire made costumes for Rizzo, and the Muppet Show Fan Club newsletter (vol. 2, no. 4, 1980) claimed that "It is Rizzo's greatest ambition to wear a different costume every time he appears in a shot! Watch out for this well-dressed rodent -- he has every intention of succeeding. Rat on, Rizzo!"
Since The Muppet Christmas Carol, Rizzo and Gonzo have been best pals. However, that wasn't their first pairing together. They had previously interacted in The Muppets Celebrate Jim Henson, and appeared in a sketch together on Good Morning America, broadcast March 10, 1992. Rizzo and Pepe the King Prawn also seem to have a strong friendship in Muppets from Space. Although Rizzo has no lines in the 2011 film The Muppets, he and Gonzo were interviewed together behind the scenes. In an interview, Nick Stoller explained that they tried to include as many characters as possible, but couldn't find a spot for him (or Bean Bunny) in the movie. His absence is referenced in Muppets Most Wanted, in a scene where he and Robin point out that the previous film replaced older characters such as themselves with the new character Walter.
Rizzo has not had any speaking appearances since Whitmire’s departure from the Muppets in 2016, although it is unclear whether the character has been officially retired. Since 2020, Pepé has often been paired with Gonzo in Rizzo’s place.
Rizzo the Rat's film appearances in The Muppets Take Manhattan and Muppets from Space are both owned by Sony Pictures, It's a Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie is owned by NBCUniversal, the other Muppet movies are owned by Disney (along with the rest of the Muppet franchise).
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