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Big laughs can be found inside of "It's Hard Out Here For a Shrimp"

Big laughs can be found inside of "It's Hard Out Here For a Shrimp"

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A word of warning before you head home for Thanksgiving: Be careful what you place in your mouth this holiday season. For that hors d'oeuvre might just be an author.

Don't believe me? Okay. Then let us consider Pepe the King Prawn. With the help of Jim Lewis, this Muppet just turned out his first tome; "It's Hard Out Here For a Shrimp: Life, Love & Living Large " (Hyperion, October 2008).


Copyright 2008 Hyperion. All Rights Reserved

"And what makes this 176-page hardcover different from all the other self-help books that are currently on the market?," you ask. Why don't I let Pepe himself explain the difference:

"Oh sure, lots of other books promise to change your life. But they are a lot of work, okay. First, you have to climb 12 steps, then find seven highly aggravating peoples and try to figure out which one stole your cheese. Dios mío! I don't have time for this nonsense, okay!"

And yet this King Prawn still found time to write "It's Hard Out Here for a Shrimp." As to Pepe's motives for writing this book... Again I'll let the author explain:

It's simple: I wrote this so that everyone who reads my book can enjoy life as much as I do. You see, in my life, I have been blessed with good looks and incredible talents, okay. Now, I cannot do much about your looks or your talents, but I can share good advice ... and make lots of monies for myself, okay.

Yeah, it's pretty clear that Pepe wrote this book for the bucks. Take -- for example -- this excerpt from the foreword, where the King Prawn unloads on those Borders and Barnes & Noble customers, who ...

... haven't paid for this book ... If right now you are standing in the bookstores, drinking a five-dollar venti-chocolata-poppa-frappachimichanga and reading my book for free, shame on you! I have many womens and a very pricey lifestyle to support, okay! You don't see me coming to your house and using your stuff! (Note to self: This is a very good idea, okay.) So I want you to put down your poppychino and go over to the cashier! Right now! Do it! Pay for this book. When you come back with a receipt, you can read some more.

I will wait, okay.


Pepe, Kermit and Gonzo appeared together earlier this month at the grand
opening of FAO Schwarz's new Muppet Whatnot Workshop.
Photo by Neilson Barnard of Getty Images. All Rights Reserved

So if you do fork over $16.95 for a copy of "It's Hard Out Here for a Shrimp," what will you get? The King Prawn's sage advice on issues like family. As in:

What Makes a Home

Home
is where they let you in not
because they know you, but
even though they know you
(Besides, you have the key anyways, okay.)

Or Pepe's philosophical musings on Optimism vs. Pessimism:

The optimist says the glass is half full.
The pessimist says the glass is half empty.
I say, if it ain't a mojito,
I'm not drinking it either way, okay.

Or the most valuable lesson that this Shrimp learned while attending school:

If it is served by
ladies wearing hairnets
don't eat it

Which -- now that I think about it -- is probably very good advice for all JHM readers who'll be dining out on Thanksgiving Day.


And speaking of Thanksgiving, check out the great
Pepe parade balloon that
Fabulous Inflatables created.
Photo copyright 2005 Fabulous Inflatables. All Rights Reserved

Okay. So "It's Hard Out Here for a Shrimp" isn't exactly great literature. But what this attractive little hardcover is is wildly funny. You'll find lots of big laughs scattered among its 176 pages. Not to mention some real bits of wisdom. Like:

Life Choices

Life is a party.
Don't be the piñata.

And:

Play to Your Strengths

If you don't have an invitation,
go as an appetizer.

So remember what I said about being careful over Thanksgiving and not accidentally eating any authors. And if you're looking for a fun book to give this holiday season, you might want to consider picking up a copy of "It's Hard Out Here for a Shrimp: Life, Love and Living Large." Because Pepe could really use the monies, okay?


Copyright 2005 Muppet Studios. All Rights Reserved

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  • Pepe the Prawn is a perfect example of how much the Muppets miss Jim Henson. Pepe is - sadly enough - the best character the new people behind the puppets have yet created. Which is not a compliment, okay? He couldn't sell fish at Long John Silver's and I bet he can't sell a book either. Speaking of sell, I wish Disney would just sell those characters off to some other sucker and use the money more wisely. If I want to watch a GOOD puppet act, I'll watch Jeff Dunham.

  • With all respect to gigglesock, this seems like it could be comedy gold.  I HATE the self-help industry and this seems like a decent enough response to it.  And I actually like the new direction Disney seems to be taking with the mop puppets.

  • Great gift idea Jim, just bought one on the strength of your review!

    UK people can find a reasonable price here with free shipping:

    http://www.bookdepository.co.uk/WEBSITE/WWW/WEBPAGES/showbook.php?id=1401323057

  • I own Kermit's book, but Piggy's and Pepe's hold no interest for me.  Pepe is a fantastic supporting character (his concept sounds lame but Bill Barretta creates comedy gold with this little guy), but he can't support a whole project on his own.  And writing down his vocal tics?  That's gonna get real annoying real fast.

  • I was always interested in gigglesock's unique opinion on the Muppets on this board...until I read this:

    "If I want to watch a GOOD puppet act, I'll watch Jeff Dunham."

  • ***I was always interested in gigglesock's unique opinion on the Muppets on this board...until I read this:

    "If I want to watch a GOOD puppet act, I'll watch Jeff Dunham."***

    Seems I'm not alone in my, um, unique opinions. Jeff's recent Christmas special came in second last week in the Nielsen basic cable ratings:

    http://tvbythenumbers.com/2008/11/18/football-though-not-nfl-network-jeff-dunham-and-icarly-lead-weekly-cable-viewing/8369

    6 million viewers are numbers a lot of network shows would kill for. In fact, it beats the 4.67 million viewers that tuned into "Elmo's Christmas Countdown" on ABC in 2007. Maybe that's why ABC took a pass on the upcoming Muppets Xmas special. Who needs another lump of coal in their Nielsen Christmas stocking? ;)

  • Gigglesock-

    You sir, are quite funny. As we all should know, we can twist numbers to support ANY sort of idea. If you wanted to make some numbers support the idea that most people think Larry the Cable Guy would make a good Sec. of State, it could be done. So to come in here and talk up nielsen numbers, which are known to be inaccurate in todays world of DVRs, streaming video, etc, is making my day. Thank you sir! My work day is sucking big time and you have put a smile on my face...

  • What, no reference to the the title's play on words? "It's Hard Out Here for a Pimp" was the main single from "Hustle & Flow" with Terrence Howard.

  • Oh, wow, it's so good for us shareholders to know that The Walt Disney Company spent good money to buy the Muppets and now uses them to satirize a song called "It's Tough Out Here for a Pimp."

    Wow.

    Really?

    Were financial terms of that deal ever disclosed?  I'd love to know just how much money Disney shelled out (hey, no pun intended!) to purchase the Muppets so they could mine this sort of comedy gold and reach such a great family audience with stuff like this.

    I'm not offended in any way, don't get me wrong.  But I'm shocked and disappointed that this is the best they could do.  The combined forces of Disney and Jim Henson result in ... "It's Hard Out Here for a Shrimp."

    Seriously?

    Speaking as a shareholder, I want my money back.

  • Priesman -

    **You sir, are quite funny. As we all should know, we can twist numbers to support ANY sort of idea. If you wanted to make some numbers support the idea that most people think Larry the Cable Guy would make a good Sec. of State, it could be done. So to come in here and talk up nielsen numbers, which are known to be inaccurate in todays world of DVRs, streaming video, etc, is making my day. Thank you sir! My work day is sucking big time and you have put a smile on my face...**

    And yet, both broadcast and cable networks still pay Nielsen big bucks to measure their viewership, which in turns allows them to charge advertisers similarly big bucks to place their commercials in their shows. These days, DVR viewership is included in those measurements. Advertisers accept the Nielsen numbers as a fair assessment of a given show's popularity. They wouldn't pay those big bucks if they didn't. So like it or not, by any *meaningful* measurement, little Elmo bombed out.  Laugh that off.

    IrvThal -

    **Speaking as a shareholder, I want my money back.**

    You and me both, brother.

  • Gigglesock-

    Since you seem to know soooo much about the Nielsen ratings, you obvioulsy know that timeshifting and DVR's aren't inlcuded in the initial ratings count. In fact, it can take several weeks for the final count to be released. Also, just because a show gets good ratings doesn't mean it's good- look at Pro Wrestling, Survivor and American Idol.

    And finally , Elmo IS NOT A DISNEY/HENSON MUPPET. He is owned/performed/produced by Sesame Workshop. So laugh that off...

    If it weren't Thanksgiving, I'd be muttering a word that's a little inappropriate.

  • I'd also like to add, in support of Priesman, that nobody has liked Elmo since the 90's, when they did that great Christmas special with him. Ever since that dumb "Elmo's World" show started, I haven't met anyone over the age of 3 who can even stand the character.

    So that might have something to do with it.

  • Priesman -

    Oh, the "good ratings don't mean good quality" excuse. I'm sure that's a comfort to those individuals in television who produce shows that flop. And to those viewers whose favorite shows get canned - whose tastes are *obviously* superior to those of the unwashed masses. Spare me.

    As for DVR/cable measurements, anyone can track them using websites like this:

    http://tvbythenumbers.com/category/ratings/nielsen-top-cable-tv-show-ratings

    Speaking of numbers, can you produce any that dispute my contention that the Elmo special flopped, and flopped spectacularly?

    And yes, I know Elmo, Big Bird, Snuffleupagus et al are not owned by Disney. (Too bad too - maybe Disney would actually be making a profit off Muppets for a change). So what? You think the general public knows - or cares - about that distinction? I see news stories quite often that state that Miss Piggy is one of the Sesame Street Muppets, when of course that's not the case. I'd bet that the general public doesn't care - to them, the Muppets are all aimed at preschoolers. No doubt that's why the current crew behind the non-Sesame Muppets is trying very hard to make them into adult entertainment - hence that regrettable Pepe book. That thing is like the nipple joke in Muppets Wizard of Oz - yet another pathetic misfire. Although maybe you enjoyed that, given your penchant for inappropriate words. ;)

    WestCOT -

    Well, maybe nobody can stand the character, but Elmo still rakes in big bucks from merchandising. Which is certainly more than you can say about Kermit. Go figure.

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