Weekly Muppet Wednesdays: Lew Zealand


Written by Ryan Dosier.


Performed by…
Jerry Nelson (1978-2003)
Matt Vogel (2008-present)
Bill Barretta (2002-2005)

First appearance…
The Muppet Show Episode 310: Marisa Berenson (1978)

Most recent appearance…
Muppets Most Wanted (2014)

Best known role…
Boomerang fish thrower.

Memorable quote…
“I throw the fish a-way, and they come back to me!”

Lew is… Lew Zealand is… you know what? He’s a boomerang fish thrower. There’s not much that needs to be said beyond that, is there?

Lew first appeared in season three of The Muppet Show, hired on the fly by Kermit in order to interrupt Miss Piggy’s wedding sketch that would have ended in the frog legally bonded to the porcine bride. Since then, Lew has been on the payroll–but thankfully he usually just works for the halibut.

The boomerang fish thrower has since appeared in every major Muppet production–having speaking roles in most. In The Muppet Movie, Lew begged Kermit to watch his boomerang fish act, to which Kermit famously responded, “I told you Lew, not in the movie, nor at the screening.”

In The Great Muppet Caper, perhaps Lew Zealand’s most famous moment, the clownish looking fellow contributed greatly to the heist of the fabulous Baseball Diamond. When the Muppets wanted to make a chain to lower themselves down into the Mallory Gallery from the ceiling, Lew Zealand brought the paper towels. Lew’s brief stint as the Bounty spokesperson was famously terminated after the company couldn’t meet the high demands of his boomerang fish.

Lew also appeared briefly in The Muppets Take Manhattan, The Muppet Christmas Carol, Muppet Treasure Island, and Muppets From Space. When he appeared to once again pitch his boomerang fish act in It’s a Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie, he was performed for the first time by Bill Barretta. Lew has been performed by Bill in every subsequent appearance since then; including his appearance in A Muppets Christmas: Letters to Santa where he presented Claire’s Mom with a present–“It’s fishes!” Lew assisted in the kidnapping of a celebrity in The Muppets (2011) and continued throwing his fish in Muppets Most Wanted (2014)


  • Episode 314 – “Tea For Two” with Rowlf the Dog
  • Episode 317 – “The Intergalactic Brotherhood Of Man, Including Things” with Spike Milligan
  • Episode 318 – Boomerang Fish Act
  • Episode 321 – Boomerang Egg Act
  • Episode 521 – “Goodnight Sardine” with The Gills Brothers
  • Episode 524 – “You Light Up My Life” with his singing fish

Lew Zealand is a fan-favorite Muppet. He’s one of those Muppets that hardcore fans know and even a few general fans recognize. It seems to be an unspoken tradition to have Lew Zealand appear and speak in every Muppet film or big production. He was even made into an action figure and a bust by Palisades Toys and Sideshow Collectibles, respectively.

But why do the Muppets need a wacky, zany, off-the-wall boomerang fish thrower? Because they’re the Muppets, of course! A boomerang fish thrower is just the kind of irreverent, quirky personality type the Muppets are famous for. It’s obvious why Lew Zealand fits in.

So let us all sing the praises of Lew Zealand! And, as he always says, “Carpe carp!” meaning “Seize the carp!”

The Muppet Mindset by Ryan Dosier, muppetmindset@gmail.com

2 thoughts on “Weekly Muppet Wednesdays: Lew Zealand

  1. WHAT!!!!! Matt Vogel performs Lew. Bill Barretta only performed him for It's A Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie (2002) and The Muppets' Wizard of Oz (2005). Lew is AWESOME. And Lew Zealand had healthy screen time in The Muppets Take Manhattan (1984) much more than briefly

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