TV puppet on Trump: “I know a Russian puppet when I see one!”
Since the mid-1950s, the iconic sock puppet Lamb Chop has said whatever’s on her six-year-old mind (as well as the mind of her creator Shari Lewis, and since Shari’s death in 1998, the mind of Shari’s daughter Mallory).
Now the sassy little sheep, who is proud of the fact that nobody’s ever pulled the wool over her eyes, is speaking out about Donald Trump. In her first-ever meme on social media, Lamb Chop states, “I know a Russian puppet when I see one!” followed by the hashtag “notmypresident.”
Lamb Chop is not unfamiliar with Washington. In 1993, she became the only hand puppet in history to testify before Congress. Shari, whose “Lamb Chop’s Play-Along” series was a huge hit at the time on PBS, addressed the House Telecommunications subcommittee about the lack of quality TV programming for children. After Shari’s allotted three minutes, Lamb Chop asked Senator Edward Markey for her own three minutes, which he immediately granted.
Mallory Lewis, who now tours the country performing with her “little sister,” said “It’s important that artists speak out against Donald Trump and the Republican Party, and Lamb Chop is nothing if not an artist.” As for the genesis of the meme, Lewis laughed. “I had already taken a picture of Lamb Chop with a safety pin on her, a symbol of solidarity with all the groups who feel threatened by Trump’s election, and after having a glass of wine last night, the thought struck me!”
Shari Lewis (whose father was Yeshiva University professor Abraham Hurwitz) and her husband, the late publisher Jeremy Tarcher, were lifelong Democratic activists, and their daughter insists the family never worried about the reaction among those on the other side of the aisle. “There comes a time when even if there is political backlash, you must stand for what is right.”
Given the positive response to the meme, Mallory Lewis said Lamb Chop will be coming out with a new one every week from now on. What will Ms. Chop be doing on Inauguration Day? “She’ll be crying,” replied Lewis. “And the next day, she’ll be with me at the Women’s March in Los Angeles. Lamb Chop stands for children and the future.”
Although her millions of fans over the last six decades might not have been aware of it, Lewis reveals that, “Lamb Chop has always been a liberal. Her theory is, first they came for the blacks, then they came for the Jews… and Lamb Chop, you should know, is Jewish… and if nobody stands up, one day they’ll come for the puppets.”
Steve North worked at NBC, CBS and ABC during 44 years in broadcast journalism. He’s a contributor to Jewish Journal, The Times of Israel, Jerusalem Post, The Daily Beast, and The Huffington Post, among other publications.