Pepe the King Prawn
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|Pepé the King Prawn|
|The Muppets character|
|First appearance||Muppets Tonight (1996)|
|Performed by||Bill Barretta|
|Aliases||Pepé Rodrigo Serrano Gonzales|
|Species||Muppet king prawn|
|Occupation||Elevator operator, commissary cook|
Pepé is Spanish (his full name is Pepino Rodrigo Serrano Gonzales) and speaks with a heavy accent, punctuating his sentences with "Okay?" His character plays on many Latino stereotypes: he has a fiery temper (especially when referred to as a "shrimp"), and thinks of himself as a lothario, often making suggestive remarks.
Pepé is also a schemer, willing to betray or at least take advantage of his friends: he allied with Ms. Bitterman in It's a Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie and works with Rizzo to trick Gonzo into building a jacuzzi in Muppets from Space. His conscience usually wins out and makes him do what's right in the end.
Pepé has become one of the most popular Muppet characters, providing comedic relief in major supporting roles similar to Rizzo the Rat and appearing in most major Muppet productions since his introduction. He, Big Mean Carl, and Bobo the Bear are the only Muppet characters exclusively created for Muppets Tonight that are still prominent in The Muppets franchise.
Pepé appeared in fourteen episodes of Muppets Tonight, proved a hit with audiences and has returned many times since. (His partner Seymour has never been seen again.) He has major roles in Muppets from Space (1999), It's a Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie (2002), The Muppets' Wizard of Oz (2005) (where he co-stars as Toto), and A Muppets Christmas: Letters to Santa (2008). He also appears in 2011's The Muppets, though in keeping with that film's focus on the original Muppet Show cast, he has only a brief cameo role as Miss Piggy's dance partner. He appears in the 2014 film Muppets Most Wanted. Though he has more screen time than in The Muppets, his dialogue is limited. His most prominent scene in the film features him gambling on the tour train with hip-hop mogul Sean Combs. He is a regular on The Muppets as a comedy writer for the show-within-a-show, Up Late with Miss Piggy.
As well as frequent appearances in commercials, Muppet short films and videogames, Pepe was also as an occasional correspondent on Statler and Waldorf: From the Balcony, and hosts "Pepe's Profiles" featurettes produced by Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment for the Kermit's 50th Anniversary DVD re-releases of early Muppet movies. In 2002, he was the "spokesprawn" for restaurant chain Long John Silver's. He has also made many television appearances on shows including America's Funniest Home Videos, The Jay Leno Show, Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, and Dancing with the Stars.
The parody self-help book It's Hard Out Here for a Shrimp is attributed to Pepé and tells his life story.