Neil's Puppet Dreams
If you’ve been watching Neil Patrick Harris’ YouTube series Neil’s Puppet Dreams — made in partnership with Nerdist and Henson Alternative — it’s already abundantly clear that this is not exactly a show for kids. Harris has already had his (puppet) trouser weasel examined, been interrogated for being a (puppet) predator, and fended off a (puppet) beaver hungry to eat his (non-puppet) wood.
And then there’s this week’s episode (embedded below), in which NPH finds himself abducted by (puppet) aliens and begs them to give him a good probing. He-yo!
As Harris makes clear in our Q&A with him below, it’s all in the spirit of good, kinda dirty fun.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: There’s no gentle way to ask about the alien probe sequence.
NEIL PATRICK HARRIS: You think it’s hard to ask about it — try filming it! And having to pick which probe is the most appropriate. That gets a little personal, if you know what I mean.
I actually thought that was one of my safer questions: How did you come up with the look of the probe?
[Laughs] How to answer these specific questions? I always think it’s funny when people claim they’ve been abducted by aliens, that there’s probing involved, and they seem like the most normal of people discussing the details of being probed by aliens. I thought that was kind of funny. That being said, I didn’t want it to turn into some super-potentially-sexual joke. So in looking at probes, I didn’t want it to be too gross and phallic and weird looking, lest it become a different punchline. So we chose something that seemed very Muppet and very silly.
It looks like it was an egg-beater that’d been replaced with pipe-cleaners.
How dare you figure out our secret! [Laughs] Have you ever been probed by one of those? Good times! You don’t know what you’re missing.
With this show, you’ve made it pretty clear you’re playing in an adult playground.
Definitely, yeah. We don’t want it to seem like we’re doing a children’s television show. That will be later. Right now, we’re toying with fun senses of humor, and I think probing comedy is funny for various factions for different reasons.
So between this show, How I Met Your Mother, your work with the Magic Castle in Los Angeles, the magic show you directed last fall, and your in-the-works memoir, I just want to get a sense of when you became able to bend space and time to your will.
[Laughs] I wish I had a proper doppelgänger. It would allow me more naps. I don’t know. My life has become a bit like Tetris. We notice a project coming down slowly; we rotate it until it fits in the right hole; and then goes into the schedule. And as I said that, it sounds like I was talking about [alien] abduction again. [Chuckles] I’m very fortunate in being so busy, not only with the number of projects, but with all these random things that I’m actually loving. I can actually find time even if it makes me sleepy to create short puppet films. And I’d say the same thing about circus acts or magic shows. I’m a busker. I can’t help it.
Neil's Puppet Dreams