If you’ve visited me before, you know that over the years I have only truly been star struck twice. One, was Meryl Streep, cause well duh. The other? Was meeting, and interviewing, my childhood heroes- The Muppets. So, when they told me visiting the set of Up Late with Miss Piggy from The Muppets show currently on ABC was part of our press trip, I was pretty excited. Even more so, we got a chance to talk to the producers of the show, Randall Einhorn and Bill Barretta who gave us some behind the scenes info and screen the episode “Going, Going, Gonzo”.
Here are a few things that we learned.
How they decided on having a talk show be the show within the show.
Randall Einhorn: I suppose it could have been any number of Shows but I think a Talk Show kind of places them in the real world where Piggy plays a Celebrity who has a Talk Show, kind of like Ellen or whatever.
Bill Barretta: Yeah, and I think they like the idea of, you know, having a Female Late Night Talk that you know, the only person that’s doing a late night Talk Show, I think that was Female Character, and it gave Piggy I think a place to be a Diva, you know, to make everything about her and the Show is all about her and um, it just, I think something that they liked and felt it would be fun to kind of explore and see what we do.
Einhorn has a dream cameo list, and so does Pepe!
Einhorn: I have one. Well I mean, there’s people that I just, you know, I’ve always admired, would love to have come play. I mean over the years, honestly, I’ve worked with a lot of people so um, there are actually some Repeat people that I would love to have come and play like Jeffrey Tambor or um, maybe Ringo. How about you?
Barretta: I know who I don’t want to work with again. Pepe would love to work with Sophia Vergara.
How long one episode typically takes to make…longer than you think!
Einhorn: From a Director’s standpoint, we prep an episode for 5 days, and then we shoot for 6 days. We’re trying to do like four 10 hour days and two twelve hour days or two 14 hour days depending on if we go on location. A lot of that is just because of the time it takes in order for us to do the simplest thing, we need monitors and monitors and monitors, and floor removed.
Barretta: We use television monitors so that we can see what the camera sees. That’s the only way that we’ve able to see the Characters is to see what the camera sees. So the monitors are placed in very specific places, depending on what the action is in the scene and what we’re doing. So that’s a whole other level of logistics and where we are and how we find the space to do this.
The characters are still very much The Muppets we grew up with but they have also evolved.
Barretta: The Writers took it upon themselves to probably do as much research as they could but actually, coming into this, the other Performers and myself, created a Character Bible that we hoped would at least give people who really don’t have a real sense of who the Characters are some background, some history, possibly some places where the Characters could go, you know, in the future, some suggestions. That’s the other thing. We, we’re still learning, you know. Like, Gonzo is not the same guy he was 30 years ago. He’s evolved and I think that’s because we as Performers and people evolve and the relationships between the Muppets come from a lot of the relationships beneath the Puppets. So we’re always finding new things and new ways of dealing with each other.
The Muppets airs on ABC at 8pm EST on Tuesdays. Tune in TONIGHT!