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Muppet Wiki
Muppet Wiki
for other uses, see Pepe (disambiguation)
PERFORMER Bill Barretta
DEBUT 1996
DESIGN Eric Engelhardt original builder
Pepe long john silver ad

Pepe shilling for Long John Silver's.


Pepe the King Prawn, whose full name is Pepino Rodrigo Serrano Gonzales, hails from Málaga, Spain.[1][2] According to a 1999 interview, he started out as a chef in Madrid, before moving to Hollywood and following his true calling in show business. Pepe remarked, "There were one too many close calls in the kitchen. I was mistaken for an appetizer, okay."

The four-armed Pepe is very proud of being a king prawn and takes great offense if anyone refers to him as a shrimp ("I am not a shrimp! I am a king prawn, okay?"). He speaks with a heavy Spanish accent, often punctuating his sentences with "...okay?" Due to his sometimes impenetrable accent, Pepe calls the Muppets "Muffins" or "Muppens", and he regularly calls Kermit "Kermin", Fozzie Bear "Fotzie", Animal "Animals", Rizzo "Ritzo," Miss Piggy "Miss Picky," and Scooter "Scooper." He doesn't even pronounce Walter correctly, and instead calls him "Howard." He also calls Sam the Eagle "Stan" as shown at the 2009 D23 Expo. He refers to marketing guru Pizza (pronounced Pache) as "Poncho".

Pepe is in love with Hollywood and expects he will earn several Oscar nominations (for good looks, acting and choreography. And foley.). His influences include Dick van Dyke, Marlon Brando, Ruth Buzzi, Topo Gigio, and Mighty Mouse.[3] He has also referred to Ricky Martin on at least two separate occasions. In his chat, he challenged the pop star to a sing-off, and in It's a Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie, he was invited to shake his "bon bons" at Ricky Martin's South Beach Christmas party.

Pepe is the author of the book It's Hard Out Here for a Shrimp.

Early development[]

During the initial development for Muppets Tonight, the Muppet performers worked with the creative staff to create new characters for the show. Puppeteer Bill Barretta was discussing with Kirk Thatcher a character based on his wife's aunt, mistakenly calling her "a little shellfish" instead of "selfish." From there, they began developing the character as a crustacean.[4] Barretta took further inspiration from his aunt, known in the family as "Maria Teresa Okay," by applying her accent and habit of ending all her sentences with "okay."[5]

At MuppetFest, Barretta noted that Pepe was originally going to be a mouse, opposite his elephant partner Seymour, but added "We decided an elephant and a mouse was too easy."[6]

In a character workshop prior to Muppets Tonight, Barretta used a wire-framed puppet topped with eyeballs and some feathers to demonstrate his idea for the character.[7] Twelve prototype puppets for Pepe were built before his finalized design was made.[8] The final design was partly inspired by a kitchen worker that builder Eric Engelhardt knew, particularly having a single tooth on his bottom jaw.[9]

Muppets Tonight[]


Pepe in his elevator operator outfit during his Muppets Tonight days.

Pepe's first appearance was on Muppets Tonight in 1996, as a companion to Seymour the Elephant. The pair worked at the KMUP studios, as elevator operators in the first season and as commissary chefs in the second season, but they always aspired to onscreen singing stardom. These dreams never came true, however, because their performances were dire. They would always sing the same song, with slightly altered lyrics:

I'm Seymour...
'I'm Pepe...
We're two of a kind.
'I'm a little bit forward,
And I've got a big behind.

The pair only appeared on stage twice -- in the Pierce Brosnan episode, when they were taken hostage by an army of lobsters in a bid to take over the studio, and in the Sandra Bullock episode, when Clifford and Rizzo were desperate for an act to keep the show's ratings above 50.

When Muppets Tonight went off the air, Pepe no longer worked with Seymour for unknown reasons; Seymour has never appeared again.

Pepe goes solo[]

FTB episode3bonus

Pepe as seen in Statler & Waldorf: From the Balcony


Pepe as seen in a video from


Pepe sports a sweater on America's Funniest Home Videos.

Pepe and piggy

Pepe as seen in The Muppets.

Pepe salsa
King Prawn

From Spy Muppets: License to Croak.

Pepe established himself as a "solo act" in the 1999 film Muppets from Space, in which he connives with Rizzo to convince Gonzo that the aliens want him to build a jacuzzi.

In 2002, he became the official spokesprawn for Long John Silver's, starring in several commercials and appearing on their website. These commercials brought Pepe nationwide attention, and Long John Silver's was deluged with e-mails asking for Pepe merchandise, especially plush dolls.[10]

Pepe served as a correspondent in the early installments of the web series From the Balcony, where - among other things - he interviewed Jodie Foster and other actors on the red carpet of Flightplan. He was performed by Drew Massey for the "test pilot" of the show.

Pepe's popularity and irreverence, along with Bill Barretta's improvisational skills, have resulted in Pepe's becoming a frequent host of DVD extra features. Pepe hosts much of the behind-the-scenes material on the DVDs for It's A Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie (Inside Pepe's Studio), The Muppets' Wizard of Oz (Pepe's Exclusive Making Of and an interview with Quentin Tarantino), and Studio DC: Almost Live! (Pepe's Travels); while "Pepe's Profiles" of various Muppet characters were featured on the 'Kermit's 50th Anniversary Edition' releases of The Muppet Movie, The Great Muppet Caper, The Muppet Christmas Carol and Muppet Treasure Island.

Pepe has a brief speaking cameo in the 2011 film, The Muppets, rehearsing a dance number with Miss Piggy.

Pepe has a larger presence in 2014's Muppets Most Wanted, appearing in a cameo with Sean Combs (Puff Daddy), and as a backup singer during the song "Something So Right." He also had a solo in the El Muppet Show version of "The Muppet Show Theme"; though the solo was deleted from the film, it still appears on the soundtrack. He was also featured on Scooter's performance of "Moves Like Jagger."

In the TV series, The Muppets, Pepe serves as one of the writers for Up Late with Miss Piggy alongside Gonzo and Rizzo. The three eventually become roommates.

On Muppets Now, Pepe hosts a series of segments titled "Pepe's Unbelievable Game Show." He changes the format of the show on a whim, much to the dismay of his assistant Scooter.

Barretta reflected on the change in Pepe's character after Muppets Tonight, saying:

Pepe was written at first — he was supposed to be this guy who just wanted to be in show business but had a language barrier. But then over time, I don’t know how it happened, he just became this kind of ladies’ prawn, you know? He was very much into the women. And then women seemed to respond to him for whatever reason.[11]


Pepe has always had an attraction to the ladies and developed into a smooth-talking crustacean Casanova—flirting with such women as Rachel Bitterman, Ashanti, Jodie Foster, Bonnie Hunt, Joy, Whoopi Goldberg, and Lady Gaga. His efforts are sometimes less than successful, as exemplified by Rachel Bitterman's treatment of him in It's a Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie.

In a 2008 interview, Pepe announced that he is a father; sharing that he and his long-time girlfriend, Christine, have a 2-year-old baby.[12] In a later television appearance on CBS's The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson, Pepe revealed that he and Cristina have since become engaged, and stated that he has a total of about 1,300 children all over the world. When asked what he looks for in a fiancé, Pepe responded: "breasts." (YouTube)

In a 2012 Ask Pepe video, Pepe said he usually likes to make the first move with a woman, but with co-star Amy Adams, it was hard for her not to make the first move on him.

In a 2013 appearance on ABC's The View, Pepe proposed to Whoopi Goldberg (with Goldberg claiming the two have been a couple for "twenty some odd years"); Pepe appeared in a tux and presented Goldberg with an engagement ring (saying "if you like it, you better put a ring on it") to which Whoopi enthusiastically said "yes!"

Across various appearances on Good Morning America, Pepe made assorted overtures to host Lara Spencer. Their flirtations were referenced in The Muppets episode "Little Green Lie," where she ultimately rejects him for not making a formal move.

His romantic side plays a big part in the special Muppets Haunted Mansion, where he immediately falls for the ghostly widow, Constance Hatchaway. She puts him under a love spell with the intention of marrying him, then disposing of him.

His interest isn't solely in humans; he has dated at least one catfish.[13]

Pepe's Tutu[]

Pepe has an affinity to cross-dressing—often wearing a pink tutu. Pepe was first caught wearing his tutu in Muppets from Space; Pepe is caught off-guard when Muppet Lab's invisibility spray wears off and he becomes visible while wearing the tutu and dancing ballet. He wore the tutu again in a 2008 video performing "Prawn Lake" and on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon singing the "nine ladies dancing" line of "The Twelve Days of Christmas."

Additionally, Pepe wore a sequined dress as Seymour's assistant in episode 202 of Muppets Tonight, donned a "see-through nighty" in a V-Chip commercial, and put on a blonde wig to impersonate Miss Piggy in episode 109 of Muppets Tonight.

Book appearances[]


The Muppet Show Comic Book

Character Merchandise[]


See Also[]