The SNL alum opens up about writing a children's book and working with Seinfeld on the upcoming film Unfrosted: The Pop-Tart Story.
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People have been counting sheep to fall asleep for hundreds of years, but former Saturday Night Live star Bobby Moynihan's delightful new picture book suggests that maybe these ovine animals have gotten a bad rap for being snooze-inducing. In Not All Sheep Are Boring!, Moynihan introduces young readers to a herd of unique characters who will have them giggling before bedtime, from the jetpack-flying Alice to the secret-keeping Pierre. 

Moynihan, 45, recently sat down with EW for a hilarious Q&A over Zoom to talk about the process of creating the book, whether sought advice from his fellow SNL castmates, and how surreal it was to be directed by Jerry Seinfeld in the upcoming film Unfrosted: The Pop-Tart Story.

How did you come up with the idea for the book? Have you always wanted to write a children's book?

I love the idea. I have very fond memories of being read books as a child. And now that I have a 5-year-old, it has become a staple in our house, and because she's mine and my wife's daughter, she's very playful and imaginative and dramatic. That precious, wonderful time right before bed of just reading books. I'm more on the silly side, and we were just thinking about books and said, "Why do people count sheep to fall asleep? Are they boring?" And then just came up with the idea of this little toad trying to prove that they're not boring, but he might be wrong. And even he falls asleep.

Has being a parent changed what you look for in a kids' book?

I mean, of course there's books that you get sick of after a while. And there's also the interactive books now, like any time buttons get involved and I have to follow a complicated storyline, it's not as fun to me.

It's a weird thing for me because I am an excited person, so I like to be entertained, so right before bed my daughter really loves B.J. Novak's book, but every time we get to badooongyface in the book, she starts screaming and calling me badooongyface. So I get her more riled up before bed than I should reading books because we have so much fun playing around. But there are some books I don't mind reading over and over again. Seth Meyer's book is a big one in our house. It's really great. Creepy Pair of Underwear! we enjoy in this house.

I feel like I wrote a book that is very performance-heavy on the parent side, but it's also fun to make up silly voices for different sheep, and then hopefully kids will make up their own sheep.

Bobby Moynihan and his new children's book 'Not all Sheep are Boring'
Bobby Moynihan and his new children's book 'Not all Sheep are Boring'
| Credit: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers (2)

I assume since you have done so much voice-over work that your bedtime voices are probably excellent.

You would think I would be better. I should be.

You've done voice work for We Bear Bears and DuckTales. Did that work influence writing the book, or when you perform at night when you're reading to your kid?

That's really funny that you say that. I just started having to read the book. I wrote the book and it's a long, long process, and now it's a year later and now I'm finally reading the book a lot, either to kids or for videos — for those story-time reads. It's funny to me how much I get into it. I didn't realize I wrote myself a 20-minute performance monologue to go perform at Barnes and Nobles across America.

Do you have a favorite kids' book?

I have a very distinct memory. I wish I knew the name [ed. note: Richard Scarry's Please and Thank You Book], but I have a very distinct memory of reading Richard Scarry with my mom, and the last line in the book was the worm with the hat. And he went through the whole book and then the last line in the book was "Just a minute. I have to get a glass of water," and every single night I couldn't go to bed without reading that book. And then saying to my mom, "Wait a minute, I gotta go get a glass of water." And then I would go pour a glass of water. I don't even think I would drink it. It was just this thing that that's what we did. 

You are not the only SNL alum to write a book. Did you talk to Seth Meyers, Jimmy Fallon or any of the others when you were beginning this process?

Nope, I don't like them. [Laughs] No, I'm just kidding. They're the best.

I kind of wanted to learn on my own a little bit. It was not something I was expecting, so when it came across it was very interesting. I'm sure they would've had many wonderful things to say about the process and more the business side of it. That's what I really needed help with. But making silly sheep names, that's what I'm good at. I'm sure they would've given me amazing advice. They're all amazing authors and comedians.

How was it working with Julie Rowan-Zoch, who did the illustrations? Was she someone you knew beforehand?

No, I originally was going to illustrate the book myself. I enjoy drawing and I want to try that at some point, but then I came across her drawings, or they were presented to me as "just in case this is too much for you right now." And I saw her drawings and I kind of fell in love with them. I just went, "Oh, this is like the perfect amount of sweet and silly and fun." I love it. I absolutely love her art and how it turned out. And she gave so much character and wonderful stuff to the sheep. And I fell in love with her work and I'm really glad she did it, because it came out fantastic. 

I hid a lot of secret things in the drawings. I'm a big Lost fan. The Lost numbers are hidden in the book. if you look on the first page, all of the sheep are the Lost numbers. 

Do you have a favorite sheep in the story?

Pierre. Pierre has never changed since the beginning. Pierre has always been the sneaky sheep with secrets. But I think Julie is still my favorite. Always. Julie, I just love Julie. She's happy and dancing and drinking coffee.

You are doing Unfrosted: The Pop-Tart Story with Jerry Seinfeld. Can you tell us anything about it?

It was awesome. I don't think I can. All I'm going to say is I feel like I'm involved in a new Cannonball Run for 2022 and I couldn't be happier. And I got to meet Tom Lennon and become friends with him and we have a lot of stuff to do in the movie together. And that was quite possibly the best part of it. And of course, working with Jerry. 

How did you find him as a director?

It's so strange to hear him talk because you know his voice so well. So when he just talks to you casually and asks you how your day is, you kind of have to choke back that smirk of like, "Okay, Jerry Seinfeld," and you have to get past yourself and just go, "I'm a human working on a job," and then he is great. And then he is wonderful and a very, very, very intelligent comedian.

The other project I wanted to ask you about is If with John Krasinski. Is there anything you can tell us about about that?

No, I can't say a word. Yeah, I wish I could. I'm really happy. That's all I can say.

Do you plan to write another book after this?

That's funny. I think like right after I wrote the first one, it was so fun and I was so happy and I hope it does well and I hope I get to write more sheep books. Then I started thinking of other ideas. The process made me realize, "Oh, I do enjoy this." And this is something that I would like to do. As long as they'll allow me.

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