Interview: Puppet Dreamin’ with Neil Patrick Harris
By Dan Casey on November 27, 2012
Neil Patrick Harris. Puppets. Off-color humor. These are a few of our favorite things at the Nerdist Channel and now, at long last, they’ve been combined into one glorious potpourri of pure awesome in Neil’s Puppet Dreams. A co-production with the Jim Henson Company, Neil’s Puppet Dreams explores the little-known affliction of America’s sweetheart, NPH: Not only is he narcoleptic, but he dreams entirely in puppets. Thank goodness for that Inception technology, huh? While the show takes you inside NPH’s seriously awesome head, I sat down with the man himself to find out the inspiration for the show, which puppets made the cut, and what goes into the burrito of his dreams.
Nerdist: So, tell us about Neil’s Puppet Dreams. What can viewers expect?
Neil Patrick Harris: Each episode revolves around one of my puppet-laden dreams – as it turns out, I’m a bit of a narcoleptic, and, unfortunately, all of my dreams involve creatures of the felt persuasion, ranging from lullabies to documentaries, from fantasies to music videos.
N: These aren’t the Henson puppets we’re used to seeing. Will we encounter any familiar faces or are they all original characters?
NPH: We opted to go with the Henson Alternative Miscreant Puppets because while they are a new breed to most, they may be familiar to hardcore Henson fans.
N: How many episodes do you guys have planned?
NPH: The first batch will have 7 life changing episodes. If there’s enough enthusiasm to make more… that’d be dope.
NPH: Indeed I have! I’ve actually turned part of my garage into a puppet workshop. Jim Henson was my childhood idol growing up, and getting to have some creative involvement with the Henson world was high up on my bucket list.
N: Where did your interest in puppetry start?
NPH: I was lucky enough to grow up in the days of Sesame Street/The Muppet Show/Fraggle Rock/The Dark Crystal/Labyrinth, so the concept of puppetry was ever present and is now part of my DNA.
N: Many of the Henson Company puppeteers are talented improvisers too. How much did you stick to the scripts and how much did you folks improvise while shooting?
NPH: I felt very happy with the scripts that were written by Michael Serrato and Brian Clark, so no real improv was necessary. That being said, and given the remarkable talent level of the puppeteers, a bit of off-the-cuff comedy was inevitable and, I hope, successful.
NPH: You have no idea.
N: I’m contractually obligated to ask, especially after a certain cameo appearance: Is there any news on Doctor Horrible or Harold & Kumar sequels?
NPH: They’ve made two Harold & Kumar sequels, each less successful than the last, so I doubt there will be a fourth. As for Dr. Horrible, all signs point to yes.
N: Kind of a hardball question, but the people want to know: What is in your ideal burrito?
NPH: Ooh, that’s a great question. Ground beef, pinto beans, rice, cheese, hatch green chili, tomatoes, sour cream, guacamole. Boom.