Lew Zealand

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Lew Zealand
The Muppets character
First appearance The Muppet Show
Created by Jim Henson
Portrayed by Jerry Nelson (1978 - 2003)
Matt Vogel (2008 - present)
Bill Barretta (2002 and 2005)
Aliases Lew
Species Muppet
Gender Male

Lew Zealand is a Muppet character. Lew is a tan humanoid Muppet with dark hair, a mustache, a red knobby nose, a ruff and a red suit. His name is a play on the Pacific country of New Zealand as well as Lew Grade, the distributor of The Muppet Show.


Lew Zealand started out as a Whatnot before a permanent puppet was made of him. Lew has an obsession for throwing fish, which are unique in that they return to him once thrown - hence the term "boomerang fish". His catchphrase is: "I throw the fish away, and it comes back to me!"

Lew appears on The Muppet Show from the third season onwards trying to promote his Boomerang Fish act. He is also able to play a fish organ (a line of fish that, when squeezed, each gargle a different note). The sketches he appears in usually end with the entire stage in an uproar. In the "Marisa Berenson" episode, he played a major part in that episode by using his timely boomerang fish to prevent Kermit the Frog from being tricked into a real marriage during Miss Piggy's "wedding sketch." In the "Leslie Uggams" episode, Lew Zealand told Leslie how to be a great boomerang fish thrower by saying that "Well, you've got to have sole. And if you can't get sole, get halibut." In the "Lynn Redgrave" episode, he played a member of the Merry Men in the Robin Hood sketch.

In The Great Muppet Caper, Lew Zealand gave paper towels to the Muppets.

In the 1984 film The Muppets Take Manhattan, he appears at Scooter's job at a theater in Cleveland, Ohio. He shows Scooter his boomerang fish while the audience is watching Attack of The Killer Fish, a 3-D movie partly seen in the movie.

Lew Zealand makes a cameo in The Muppet Christmas Carol.

Lew Zealand appears in Muppet Treasure Island. He is among the pirates on Long John Silver's side and was seen knitting a Jolly Roger.

Lew Zealand appeared in Muppets from Space where he was seen as an inhabitant of the Muppet Boarding House.

Lew Zealand appears in The Muppets where he rejoins the group to help save the Muppet Theater where it is scheduled to be razed for oil by Tex Richman. Lew also played a part in helping Miss Piggy to capture Jack Black to be the telethon's celebrity host and also helped to encourage Kermit not to give up on the Muppet Theater.

Lew Zealand was among the Muppets that appeared in Lady Gaga and the Muppets' Holiday Spectacular. When helping to plan a finale, Lew Zealand suggested that he does his boomerang fish act.

Design team[edit]

The Whatnot head construction for Lew Zealand was done by Dave Goelz and Lew Zealand's character finishing was done by Amy van Gilder.

Casting history[edit]

Main performers

Other performers

Jerry Nelson on Lew Zealand[edit]

Jerry Nelson later spoke about Lew Zealand:[1]

I think Lew was my tribute to Frankie Fontaine. He had that dopey voice, but he could sing beautifully. We never did that part of it on the show, but just the idea of this guy who had a boomerang fish act. There were some really ridiculous acts on the show, and that was one of the all-time dopey ones.



  1. ^ "A Chat with Jerry Nelson, part 2 « Muppet Fans Who Grew Up – ToughPigs". Toughpigs.com. 2009-12-10. Retrieved 2014-04-23. 

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