Transcription provided by Katilyn Miller.
The Muppets Mayhem: Backstage Pass – Track 9: Drift Away
JOE HENNES: Hello and welcome to The Muppets Mayhem: Backstage Pass, the unofficial companion podcast to The Muppets Mayhem presented by Toughpigs.com. This is the podcast where we tour through every episode of The Muppets Mayhem to uncover behind the scenes stories, Easter eggs and more with the talented cast and crew who helped put the series together. I’m your host, dedicated Mayhead, Joe Hennes.
JOE: Today we are talking about the penultimate track 9: Drift Away, in which the Electric Mayhem get addicted to their electronic devices and go their separate ways. This week, we’re excited to welcome some very special guests. First up, he’s the co-creator and executive producer of The Muppets Mayhem. Please welcome Jeff Yorkes back to the podcast. Hey, Jeff.
JEFF YORKES: Thank you. Thank you so much for having me back. A pleasure.
JOE: Thank you for being back. Always good to hear you. Next up, he’s another co-creator and executive producer as well as the performer responsible for keeping Dr. Teeth’s gold tooth nice and shiny. Please welcome Bill Barretta back to the podcast. Hey, Bill.
BILL BARRETTA: Oh, hello. Hi. How are you? Nice to see you. Hear you.
JOE: Nice to hear you. And to hear you. Both of them. Our final guest is the Muppet performer who gives life to the Electric Mayhem’s lead guitarist and space age moon child, Janice. Please welcome David Rudman to the podcast. Hey, David.
DAVID RUDMAN: Hello, Joe. Nice to be here.
[Bill claps, whistles and cheers]
JOE: So glad you’re here to talk about this episode. What a joy. What a treat.
DAVID: Thank you.
JOE: So before we get into it, we haven’t been talking about the episode titles on this show. Some of them are songs that we hear in the episode but some of them, like this one, Drift Away, is not.
I just wanted to point out that this has an unintentional Muppet connection. Because many people don’t know “Drift Away,” which was recorded by Dobie Gray originally was written by Mentor Williams, brother of Paul Williams. How about that?
JOE: Did you guys know that?
DAVID: That’s incredible.
JEFF: Oh, you thought that was unintentional.
JOE: [laughs] Was that intentional?
JEFF: No. That was not intentional.
JOE: I just assumed.
JOE: Yeah yeah.
DAVID: I didn’t know Paul Williams had a brother who was a songwriter. That’s incredible.
JOE: Yeah. This is definitely Mentor Williams’s most famous song.
BILL: It’s a great one.
JOE: And as Paul put it, it’s the only song he wishes that he had written which, I think, is very sweet.
BILL: It’s a great song.
JOE: It is. I love this song. We should hear the Mayhem sing it someday.
JOE: Yeah, think about it. So David, this is probably Janice’s biggest spotlight in probably her entire career. How did it feel to give so much life to her so many years after her original heyday in The Muppet Show?
DAVID: It was really fun to spend four months playing Janice and really developing her as a fully well-defined character. And I think having this incredible team of writers and creators, it was in really good hands. And I think everything felt really, really solid and it was fun to play with Janice and do more than just say, “for sure,” all the time and play.
DAVID: Although the “for sures” were there. But it was nice to develop her more than just the LA girl saying, “For sure. Really?” It was nice to kind of develop her more and I think it was fun finding her personality and finding more about her.
BILL: Joe, can I ask David a question?
JOE: You can ask whatever you want.
BILL: We’ve never spoken about it. I’m just curious because you were so close to Richard. How does it feel? Are there things about him that you think maybe you knew that he put into Janice? Or was it just kind of him doing this fun, weird character and then you’re taking that on and like you said, you’ve got to add new things. But do you think about Richard and how he performed her?
BILL: What feeds that?
DAVID: Yeah, I definitely think about Richard a lot when I’m performing. Especially when I was singing “True Colors.”
DAVID: For some reason like Richard just kept coming into my mind when I was recording that. And I know he would have loved to have a chance to do that song. I’m sure. But I think he inherited Janice from somebody else so he was like maybe the second person to play Janice and he really was the one to set the tone for her and give her that kind of valley girl personality.
And I know that sort of came from different things. I think it came from when he was on SNL the first season, doing Muppets, it was something that Laraine Newman had kind of this valley girl character that she was doing.
BILL: Oh yeah.
DAVID: And I think that they may have influenced him in bringing that to Janice. I think when I took over Janice, whenever that was, 2008-9, I, of course, didn’t want to change the whole valley girl vibe and keep that going. But I always wanted to elevate her. And I think, now, I had the chance to do it. But Richard’s always on my mind. Every time I put my hand in the puppet, I think of him. And it’s the way he moved her and he. Especially when she played the guitar when he always had her head back.
BILL: Right. Right.
DAVID: You know her long neck, and her head’s bent, her hair is going. So I tried to definitely bring some of that to Janice, some of the technical puppeteering that Richard did.
JOE: That’s a nice touch.
JEFF: Did I tell you what happened? Bill, I think I told you the story. I was out in Jersey. This was a couple of months ago.
BILL: Yeah. Oh my god.
JEFF: And this is sort of nuts. And I was hanging out with a friend, just catching up before I had to go somewhere in the middle of Jersey and his kid’s babysitter came over. And my friend’s all proud of me and I wish I could remember her name. I don’t remember her name but he said, “Hey, I want you to meet my friend, Jeff. Do you know who the Muppets are?”
And she’s like, “Yeah.”
He said, “Well, Jeff has this new Muppet show.”
And she’s like, “Well, yeah, well my uncle was a Muppet.”
I was like, “What does that even mean?”
She’s like, “Well, he was one of the original performers.”
I said, “What does that mean?”
She’s like, “He was a Beaker. He was Janice. He was Sweetums.”
I’m like, “What what what kind of practical joke are you pulling on me? Your uncle was Richard Hunt?”
And she’s like, “Yeah.”
So her mother’s brother was Richard Hunt.
DAVID: Was it Rachel? Was it Rachel’s daughter?
JEFF: Is her mom? Yes.
BILL: Rachel’s daughter.
DAVID: Was her mom Rachel?
DAVID: Rachel’s daughter.
JEFF: And that’s how small the world is. And I was just like, “Umm…”
DAVID: Oh my god. That’s incredible.
JEFF: “Yeah, our show focuses on Janice and the rest of the band.” And she’s like, “That’s awesome. Yeah, I have pictures of Frank holding me as a baby and Dave Goelz dropping me as a baby.”
[Bill, David and Joe laugh]
JEFF: I just could not believe it. I left just sort of like shook. I called Bill. Bill wasn’t picking up. I just kept calling him. Like I have to tell this to someone who…It was a really nuts kind of…
DAVID: That’s incredible.
JEFF: Small world.
DAVID: No, it’s yeah. I know Rachel well and haven’t talked to her in a while. But, yeah, I know Richard’s whole family.
JOE: This is the thing about the Muppet world is I feel like we all cross paths whether it’s the puppeteers and like people in the industry and the fans. And we just, at least in my experience, we just run into each other in the world, as if the universe wants us to magnetically connect somehow.
DAVID: I was actually the first person to recognize Richard Hunt.
DAVID: When I was, I think I’ve told the story before, but when I was 17, I was in… You probably heard this, Joe. But when I was 17, I was in DC, there was a puppeteering UNIMA convention 1980. And the Muppets were performing at the Kennedy Center and I went to it. And before the show, there was like a reception in front and Jim was there and Frank was there and Richard was there.
And I’d just seen the Muppets on 60 Minutes. They did a story right around that time and so Richard was all over that interview and he was so funny and I couldn’t help but look at that guy and go, “I’d love to meet that guy someday.” So like, a few months later, I’m at the Kennedy Center. I’m just walking around. I see Jim and Frank. And I walked past this guy who’s wearing this orange University of New Jersey t-shirt. Which there isn’t such a place, but it’s Richard.
DAVID: He didn’t go to college, but he went to the University of New Jersey. And I’m like, “That’s the guy from the Muppets. That’s Richard Hunt.” So I went up to him and I said, “Are you Richard Hunt?” He was, “Yeah. How do you know me?” I said, “I just recognize you.” He goes, “Wait, you recognize me?” I go, “Yeah. You’re one of the Muppet guys.” He goes, “Come here.” And he grabbed me.
DAVID: Dragged me over to Jim and Frank and he said, “This guy recognized me.”
DAVID: “For the first time.” And so it was incredible and so then we talked a little bit. And then they went to do the show. And then I didn’t see him again for like another year once I started working for the Muppets at the workshop. I ran into him again. He’s like, “Hey, you’re that so and so from Chicago.” Yeah. I go, “Yeah.” He goes, “How’d you get in here?”
JEFF: That’s cosmic.
BILL: That’s great. Yeah.
JOE: I love that.
BILL: Who was the character? Didn’t he used to do? The only time I ever talked to him and met him, was at Brian’s wedding in Tortola.
BILL: And he came through the crowd.
DAVID: [laughs] His reverend character?
BILL: Right. Reverend Richey. Yeah.
DAVID: [laughs] Reverence Richey.
BILL: And he came through.
BILL: Giving the gospel and the crowd like it was just, everybody was just waiting for something like for the wedding to start and from the back of this crowd he came. “Ayah” He’s calling out.
DAVID: Oh yeah.
BILL: And he was doing his sermon through the crowd. And people separated. And he came forward. I was like, “Oh man, this guy is unbelievable. Unbelievable” Yeah,
JOE: So we’re talking about how great Richard Hunt was, and was just such a unique, a singular human being. What do you think, if he were still around and if he were performing Janice for a project like this, what do you think he would have brought to the character that we’re just unable to comprehend? Do you think that there’s like that missing element that’s just very specifically Richard?
DAVID: That’s an interesting question.
BILL: I don’t know how you would know. How you would.
JOE: I guess that’s true.
JEFF: I will say this. Coming from being a Muppet fan, Richard was my Janice and even as we were writing, we were just writing for the character. And there was always that just slight hesitation. “Okay, we’re gonna…David does Janice.” And I remember Adam [Goldberg] and I turning at some point just being like, “No, he’s Janice.” You absolutely are Janice. You’re your Janice. But now our Janice. Does that make sense?
BILL: But he was developing her further even over the years.
JEFF: Absolutely, absolutely. Yeah.
BILL: From two thousand and…And got an opportunity, at least on the last series to play a bit more with her.
BILL: Not a lot, right? But at least you had some more time with her there.
BILL: Yeah. It’s kind of been your Janice for a while. It’s never ours. Right?
BILL: When we take over somebody’s characters of ours anyway but yeah.
DAVID: It’s ours and we have to make it our own.
BILL: We grow into it. Yeah.
DAVID: Yeah, right. And you have to keep a little bit of the original character because that’s in the DNA of the character.
BILL: Sure. Yeah.
DAVID: But then you have to bring something new to it or else it’s just not authentic.
BILL: Yeah, and they can’t grow. It’s like we maintain the integrity of who they are and what the originators created.
BILL: And then hopefully we can add a little bit in there along the way until…
DAVID: Yeah. They have to stay relevant. In order to stay relevant, they have to be able to evolve and change.
BILL: This was a great opportunity to do that. This was really fun. Yeah.
JOE: And speaking of changes, how did you feel about the revelation that Janice has an identical twin sister?
DAVID: I love that story. And I know, I think I’d heard Bill mentioned it to me like way back, that they’re thinking of doing that. And I love getting her backstory. And I love how that connected to the story. The sisters in the show, their story, and it really helps them with their situation. So, it just came together really nicely, I thought.
JEFF: Yeah, dovetails.
DAVID: Really, it really did. And Saara [Chaudry] was fantastic.
BILL: She was talking about your performance with her at the door and how amazing you were with Janice revealing that photo of the sisters to her. And, yeah, she just loved that scene. That was her favorite like most…I guess she felt…What did she say? It just felt like real emotion. It wasn’t the Muppets comedy thing, but it was just a real scene that she got to play with a Muppet and she loved it.
I didn’t think it was very good but she liked it.
DAVID: [laughs] I know. What does she know?
BILL: Yeah. [makes rude noise] Actress.
[Bill and David laugh]
DAVID: No, that was, I mean just being able to work with Saara and Lilly [Singh] and Tahj [Mowry] and Anders [Holm], they’re just so great and just being able to play those real scenes with them, where it wasn’t just comedy. It’s like some nice emotion, really helped define the characters, too. Just giving more levels again, like I was saying, just playing stuff for real. I loved that. You know, some of the scenes with Lilly too is just it’s just fun to explore that.
JEFF: Billy, tell the Lilly story.
BILL: The sleepover when you guys are laying next to–not the sleepover but the well, sorry, what was that, Jeff?
DAVID: Oh, yeah.
JEFF: Lilly’s favorite moment. Oh now we’re gonna quote one of the previous podcasts.
BILL: Yeah. Yeah.
JEFF: She just said one of her greatest moments on the show and it just felt, again, super real but I guess in a different way, was when she walks in for the first time to find you in your pillow palace, pillow nest. And you’re underground. You’re under the floorboards and you’re performing Janice so Lilly is just walking into a room where just Janice is right there. There’s no sign of any performers or anything. And she’s just having this conversation. And she just felt it was just such a great scene for her. And Bill pointed out…
BILL: Probably your worst experience. [laughs]
BILL: Like the complete opposite of enjoying the moment.
DAVID: Because I had to stretch.
BILL: Your shoulder was against the floor.
DAVID: Yeah, not only stretch up to get Janice in full but she was on a pillow or a couple pillows.
DAVID: My head was literally pressed against the bottom of the floor.
BILL: [laughs] Yeah.
DAVID: I had to stretch all the way up and kind of deliver somewhat of a performance. [laughs]
BILL: And that’s why I said to her.
DAVID: I think we did it.
BILL: Yours was the complete opposite.
DAVID: I think we did it a couple times that way and then we took the floor out and we just shot her head.
JEFF: Right. Medium shots.
JOE: We also talked about the scene where Janice is in the hospital bed and you’re basically.
DAVID: Oh yeah.
JOE: …in this coffin performing Janice.
DAVID: Oh yeah. [laughs]
JOE: I could be wrong. You all tell me if this is accurate but Janice may have been in the worst positions for a puppeteer in this entire series. Do you think that you had it the worst?
BILL: There were some good ones. Everybody got a little taste.
DAVID: There were some good ones.
DAVID: I think there was one when she sneezed and passed out and then she was laying down and you guys were all around her. That was another one where it was like. I don’t even know how I was able to get my arm to do that.
JEFF: How far can we push Rudman before he snaps?
JOE: Before your arms snaps.
JEFF: Yeah, emotionally.
DAVID: Yeah, there were some fun like the yoga pose scene, which I think it was in this episode that we’re gonna start to talk about that. Unless we’ve already run out of time.
JEFF: Roll credits.
DAVID: That was really fun but that was just posing Janice and I think I was in blue or had a blue sleeve on so they just removed me from it.
DAVID: So that was fun to pose her and it was just sort of me and Alice [Dinnean] just coming up with these really funny like ridiculous poses to go along with what these guys wrote. [laughs]
JOE: Well, let’s talk about this episode and we’ll get to that yoga scene in just a second. But we start with a cold open. Nora is driving the band around in her car because the van has been stolen by the Beliebers. But they’re all on their phones and they’re not really paying attention to her. Nora wonders how they can all be on their phones without getting car sick. And so, of course, they all immediately get carsick.
JEFF: We had written ourselves into a corner because the van was stolen and all of our episodes start with the van cold open. So we had to figure out how to make that work.
JEFF: And I think they had to buy a car. Right?
BILL: Talk about being in some positions.
BILL: In that car. Getting six of us in there plus Lilly. That was a tight one.
JOE: Did that car have a false bottom or are you just crammed into the back seat.
JEFF: It was just the top.
BILL: It had no bottom but still it was a small little car.
JOE: Sure. Yeah.
BILL: So we still with our monitors and everything we need, it was still, everybody’s all scrunched up.
DAVID: Yeah, and the projection screens were all around the car so we could see driving down Sunset Boulevard or wherever we were, we can kind of see the backgrounds moving as we were going. It was really cool.
JEFF: You guys were just in a fit of giggles.
BILL: Yeah, I was very proud of my burps. I was proud of my burp thing. I don’t know what happened, but it was an authentic one. I can’t remember how it went.
DAVID: It was some nice regurgitation. Sounded wet. It was like a gag and like [makes various noises].
BILL: Like a gurgle burp or something.
DAVID: I remember we were cracking up when we were doing that like the gagging. Starting a line and like, “Oh well [makes noises]” And like having it interrupt the line.
JOE: I’m very grateful that there’s a lot of heaving and a little bit of burping, but like you don’t take it too far. As someone who, I am a sympathetic vomiter, I don’t like seeing, I don’t like thinking about vomit. Like it just, it puts me over the edge. And I think if you took it a little bit further, I would have been like, “Oh, I don’t know. I gotta fast forward through this scene next time. Like I can’t deal with it.” Heaving was okay. The “huuuuuhh.” You know.
[David makes heaving sounds]
BILL: Oh yeah, that was Janice.
BILL: I think my favorite thing was Animal going, “Uh oh!” Like every time. And then there was a take we didn’t use which was then Animal just wanted to be like everybody else. So he stuck his hands in his mouth.
BILL: To gag himself and then he throws up.
JEFF: Disney Plus is gonna hate this.
JOE: So our episode begins. Janice is leaving with– Excuse me, Janice is leading a yoga livestream on Instagram and we see her doing all these poses: the downward dog, downward facing upside, reclining donkey, three-legged rooster, the flirty mermaid, the drowsy dreidel, the nauseous narwhal, and the magician’s assistant. Which that last one is her levitating, somehow.
JOE: And going, “Whee!” That was very fun. So you were making these up on the spot.
DAVID: No, the names were written. They were in the script and they were hilarious. But the poses, I remember just working with Alice. We just had Janice. We had the Janice puppet that I went in through the back of her head and she was all armatured. Like, her arms, legs were all armatured. So we would just come up with, like, funny poses. And like ridiculous poses. I think, Billy, you were there. I think you were there for it.
BILL: In and out. I went back and forth a little bit.
DAVID: Yeah, but it was just, like, coming up with these ridiculous poses and being able to bend her in any direction we wanted. And then I think, yeah, it ended with the magician’s assistant. So we just had, Alice was holding her legs. I think I was holding her head and just did that little, “Whee!”
BILL: Whee. Whee.
JOE: That’s the best.
DAVID: So much fun.
JOE: There’s an interesting amount of levitation happening on this show, but it mostly comes from Zoot. I feel like this is the one where Janice kind of joins in on the magic.
BILL: That’s true. Yes. Yeah.
JOE: And Janice has gotten over a million Instagram followers in just a week because she’s got all these followers that just blindly follow everything she says.
DAVID: Yeah. Yeah. It’s all new to her. It’s like, wow.
JEFF: She’s a natural. Natural born leader.
JOE: Yeah, not surprised. Lips is meeting with speech writers in his quest to save the world. The one sitting right next to him is a guy named Ben Zevelansky–
JEFF: Zelevansky. He is one of my college buddies.
JOE: Oh, he is?
JEFF: Yep. And Adam. We all went to school together. He’s also on a ton of The Goldbergs.
JOE: Yeah, I noticed that.
BILL: I love his reading for, “You’re in…”
DAVID: “You’re in a band?” [laughing] That is really good.
BILL: Great. Great reading.
JOE: There’s also a whiteboard behind them and I paused and try to get as much of the whiteboard as I could to see if there was any jokes in there. And there were, of course. Things that you would expect to see: save the whales, plant trees, go green. There’s one thing that says, find out who let the dogs out. There’s higher pay, lower expectations. No white shoes after Labor Day. Feed the homeless; home the foodless. And my favorite was stop cyber bullying, and also regular bullying. [laughs] Jeff, you are nodding. I’m guessing this was all you. Is that correct?
JEFF: No, no. But we did spend a good 20 minutes just coming up with a bunch of issues for him to tackle.
JOE: Great. Yeah.
JEFF: It’s a blast just being sent off to do. Like that’s the distraction for the day.
BILL: [laughing] Right. There’s the job.
JOE: Oh, life is so hard. Yeah.
DAVID: I just want to go back to one thing that Janice said in an earlier scene where she said, like, “Breathe in peace and breathe out love.”
BILL: Oh, yeah.
DAVID: It was at the end and I heard that when I was driving into the studio on the radio, like a week before.
DAVID: I just heard it and I was like, “That’s a Janice saying, if I’ve ever heard one.”
BILL: Oh, wow.
DAVID: So I just wrote it down and it was the perfect time to say it.
BILL: Oh, wow. That’s great.
JOE: I just assumed that that was a scripted thing. That didn’t even clock for me.
DAVID: I don’t think it was. It wasn’t. I just threw that in. And it stayed in somehow.
BILL: Tried some things.
DAVID: Yeah, yeah.
DAVID: What was so much fun about the show is that we could try lots of things.
DAVID: Do alt takes. It was such a surprise to see all the episodes because there was so many, there was lots of versions. So much coverage. It really could have been edited together so many different ways. So it’s fun to see how it all turned out.
JOE: That’s why we need to see outtakes. We need to see deleted scene compilations, extended scenes.
DAVID: There are probably some great ones.
JOE: If anyone from Disney Plus is listening, that’s what we want. We want more. More, more, more. Hannah is helping Animal with his TikTok dances. He’s got almost four million followers on TikTok. And we get to see like a little compilation of all these full body Animal dances which is super fun. And we had David Bizarro on the podcast earlier and he was talking a little bit about performing Animal’s feet for these. And yeah, it turns out, Animal has killer rhythm. Who would have known for a drummer?
JOE: That he had good rhythm.
JOE: But Hannah’s working him to the bone and he collapses in exhaustion. That’s going to be his runner throughout this episode is that he is tired. Did either of you guys work on this Animal stuff or were you just kind of watching from the sidelines?
JOE: No? That’s alright.
BILL: Our hands in it? No.
BILL: No, not hands-on. But, there.
JOE: All right.
DAVID: It’s always surprising to see how long Animal’s legs are and how short his torso is.
BILL: So tall.
JOE: You know, this is something we’re talking about. Muppet height is a thing that goes up and down.
JOE: Well, “up.” But thing’s change, obviously. And Janice is obviously always, especially when we see her on merchandise, she’s very tall and she’s very thin. But one thing that I’ve always wondered, when we see Zoot specifically, he seems to have these tiny little legs.
BILL: He does.
JOE: But not always. Do you try to keep it consistent when we see these full-bodied Muppets? Or is it like I don’t know, whatever legs are attached to them just move on?
BILL: Well, no, I think we have to address his legs, because he is considerably shorter than everybody else. And you see it in the opening, the concert that they do in the opening of the show. You normally don’t see them all standing next to each other. Normally, if they are full-body, Zoot’s usually sitting on a stool, right?
BILL: Playing something or just we try to find those heights for everyone so it feels balanced more. So it’s rare that… I’m trying to think of another time when we saw Zoot standing next to Lips full-body. I don’t know if there is one.
BILL: Normally it’s half-body, the frame cuts you off, or they’re inside of something or sitting on something. Just like out in the back when they’re playing at the pool. Janice is sitting on some thing. Zoot’s kind of in the back sitting. We’re trying to create this composition or this look that feels like it’s balanced. And unfortunately, yes, Zoot has very small legs and he probably needs a good five inches added to his legs. He would still be the shortest.
JEFF: I need that too.
JOE: Oh, okay. We got shoes. We can put puppeteer shoes on Zoot.
JOE: Oh yeah. Just give him some platforms.
BILL: All right, yeah.
JOE: A little lift.
JOE: Dr. Teeth is posting videos on his Youtube channel of Penny eating hot foods. We see her in the video eating a Satan’s Blowout chip. And apparently this hashtag, the one chip challenge, is a real thing. I looked it up. There’s a company called Paqui. I don’t know if I’m pronouncing that right. And they sell, just like this, they sell individual chips that are so spicy. It comes in a tiny little coffin-shaped box. Apparently, they’re so spicy, they turn your tongue blue. I don’t know how that science works.
JOE: That’s what they claim on their website.
DAVID: That’s scary.
JOE: But we get to see Dr. Teeth eat one and like steam comes out of his ears. And he goes blind in the video which is hysterical. And Penny feels nothing. She’s fine.
BILL: For me, and I think…I’m trying to remember, but I think I suggested that she eats hot things. I can’t remember, Jeff, how it played out. Because my wife loves hot, hot peppers and that’s kind of our dynamic. Like she’ll eat super hot stuff and I can eat hot but not like her.
So to me, [laughs] my wife and I are Teeth and Penny to a certain degree when it comes to the hot stuff. The spicy stuff.
JEFF: I was gonna say, Adam seems to know all these random internet challenges.
JEFF: There were like three others that he suggested. And I was just like, that’s just too weird.
JEFF: I feel like I’ve been around the internet, but that’s too weird. And this one seemed about right. Having a couple of kids myself who are obsessed with Youtube, I’m very aware of the style with which these videos are edited. So I thought that was an important thing to capture. So I sent a couple links to our editors for them to sort of mimic the amount of cuts, the terrible edits, the terrible graphics of it all and then just take that and even go further until the point of distraction.
But at a certain point we were sitting with the VFX guys and they’re like, “Do you want us to fix the steam coming out of his ears?”
[Bill and David laugh]
JEFF: No, no. No, absolutely not. The worse, the better. And yeah, it works.
DAVID: [laughs] Yeah.
JEFF: I think.
JOE: It really does. Yeah. It’s exactly how Dr. Teeth would edit a video.
JOE: He doesn’t have the skills. Floyd has a hit song on the internet. It’s his soup jingle. His Soup di Doup song. It’s being played in Youtube ads which seems like a big win for him.
JEFF: Yeah, that’s the best part.
JOE: I love the soup song. I wish it was on the soundtrack.
BILL: I do too. Jeff wrote it.
JEFF: Oh yeah, the basement tapes.
BILL: And it starts off as “my soup” but he changed it to “Ma’s soup” because it had to become a jingle, right? Proper jingle.
JOE: I was kind of hoping it would just be like a generic ad for soup. Like how we have an ad for milk or beef.
JOE: You know, “It’s what’s for dinner,” kind of thing.
BILL: That’s not specific enough. It’s Ma’s Soup.
JOE: That’s specific enough but I like the idea just in general of we’re just promoting soup.
JOE: The soup council got together to promote soup. Yeah.
JEFF: I think we also had like 12 different tags that Matt recorded.
BILL: Oh yeah, right.
JEFF: I don’t remember what we even ended up with. “Ma’s Soup. It’s better than dad’s.”
BILL: Yeah. There’s like a bunch of them. Yeah.
JEFF: “Ma’s Soup. Now more than ever.
BILL: Yeah. What was it? I can’t remember what it is, actually. You’re right.
JOE: I didn’t write it down. It was something that was… it was relatively generic.
BILL: Come get a bowl.
JEFF: It’s not bad. It’s not that bad.
BILL and JOE: It’s not that bad.
JOE: That was it. It’s not that bad.
JOE: And you know what? He’s right, it’s not.
JEFF: But I think that was an argument on this episode. Which one do we use? There were enough that were really good, that it had to be a five-minute discussion.
BILL: Too many options.
JOE: Moog seems to be the only one who recognizes that the band is starting to divide. Now that the album is finished, he is packing up and leaving. Because his favorite band that he’s been following for all this time is over. So he’s a little rudderless. But Nora still has to tell the band that she’s booked the Hollywood Bowl. And JJ suggests, well, why don’t we just tell the whole world. He’ll just call his friend, God. Which is a segway to meet Charlamagne tha God. He is hosting the Electric Mayhem as guests on his podcast. I assume this is a podcast. It seems like it’s going out live. So is it a radio show? Is it a podcast?
JEFF: I think it’s a radio show.
JOE: A radio show.
BILL: It’s his actual radio show, right? He normally has that show, right?
JEFF: I believe we added with visual effects, there’s a sign that says “on air” in the background of the booth behind Nora.
BILL: That’s right. In the studio. In the booth. Yeah.
JOE: Great. I was gonna say, if there’s going to be a podcast on Muppets Mayhem then I would like to volunteer to host that podcast. Since I’m here hosting.
JEFF: Well it has to be live because Penny has to hear it.
JOE: Right. Of course. Also, there’s no editing. There’s no like, “Hang on. I know we said X, Y and Z but let’s not tell the world. Let’s convince Charlamagne to not release that information.” But it’s too late. It’s out there. Everyone knows. The Mayhem is splitting up.
JEFF: Yeah, I think really stupidly, if you listen carefully, you could hear Dr. Teeth’s phone get an alert from Penny.
JOE: Yeah, I noticed on this watch-along in preparation for this podcast. And I looked at my phone, because I was like, “Oh shoot. I didn’t mute my thing.” And then I realized about 30 seconds later, “Oh, he just got the message from Penny.” Yeah.
DAVID: I love, Bill, I love Dr. Teeth in there giving the website. So funny.
BILL: So funny.
JOE: That was hysterical.
DAVID: Taking your time. And then I think you did it a second time? Didn’t you do it twice?
BILL: [laughs] Yeah, I started to.
JEFF: Yeah, Floyd’s like, “What’s that address again?
DAVID: What’s that again?
BILL: [in voice of Dr. Teeth] W-W-W. [in normal voice] then what’s his name cuts him off.
JEFF: Put a slow push on it.
DAVID: I love how you just took your time.
BILL: I had to explain it.
JOE: And it would have been enough to just say the letters. You could have said, “It’s H-T-T-P.” But no, you’re like, “Okay, there’s the two dots, one on top of the other. It’s the two lazy lines that are leaning to the side.”
DAVID: Yeah. That’s so funny.
JOE: You have to use the W. It’s not two U’s. There’s a W.
BILL: Two U’s.
JOE: You have to be very clear.
BILL: And then you hear them, I think he’s still going when there’s a shot of Nora and Hannah in the booth. And he’s still going, [in voice of Dr. Teeth] “Let me just explain. It wasn’t clear.” [in normal voice] Just a little fill in there I stuck in.
DAVID: And I think I had the next line after that. Janice had a line. So I just was like I just said it really fast with a lot of energy.
BILL: Just to contrast it all.
DAVID: I just remember saying it really fast just to contrast it. [laughs]
JOE: Janice gives a shout out to her followers, which is the first time we hear what they’re called. They’re the Forsureleans, which is pretty good. That’s a thing that she says.
DAVID: Great. Unbelievable.
JOE: It seems like something that people would pick up on. Especially as like in a previous episode of Muppets Mayhem, we talk about the Beliebers and the Beyhive and we have the Mayheads for the Muppets but Janice needed something that felt like something that the fans would have come up with on their own and that nailed it. Forsureleans is exactly right.
DAVID: It’s Incredible. I don’t know where that came from.
BILL: Created by a fan. He’s sitting right in front of you.
JEFF: Is that true? I want to say…
BILL: Wasn’t that you?
JEFF: I think that was Adam, actually.
BILL: Oh, Adam came up with Forsureleans?
JEFF: I think so. I’ll take credit for it. Absolutely.
BILL: Why did I think it was you? I guess it feels like you to me but maybe it wasn’t. Maybe it was somebody else.
JEFF: Because it’s a dumb pun.
BILL: No, no. Because it’s funny.
DAVID: It’s so good. Yeah.
JOE: Charlamagne tha God asks if all these solo projects means the band’s taking a break and they all kind of agree. We should explore these other avenues. So yeah, let’s break up. Janice says, “As her goopy pal Gwyneth would say, ‘We’re consciously unbanding.’” Which also, I like the fact that Janice would be friends with Gwyneth Paltrow specifically bonding over the goop stuff.
DAVID: Goopy pal.
DAVID: That made sense. Yeah.
JOE: I also really appreciate that the breakup is like they’re also supportive of each other in this breakup. Because it would have been so easy for you guys as the writers to create a rift, or have them do like some infighting or whatever. And we wouldn’t have blinked at it. Like, I say easy but like we wouldn’t have been like, “Oh that was a simple fix.” But I just really appreciate that like they are still kind of a family and they still love each other but they’re just gonna go off their separate ways.
JEFF: We also had it.
BILL: We did. We had something more intense. I think I pushed back maybe too, Jeff. I don’t know.
JEFF: But also we did it in previous episodes. Like, Floyd and Teeth just got into a fight. Animal left the band already and it was out of anger. So it just felt like in a way you’re treading the same ground.
BILL: But I think we did have them get upset in a draft. But then we realized where we were headed too. And it was like we just don’t need them to be upset. It’s actually better if they’re embracing each other’s separations.
JEFF: Yeah. It’s just a weird, weird breakup, you know?
JEFF: The intent was that, that was the worst thing that could happen to a band is that they break up. But to do it like this is so weird. And Nora’s like, I thought I understood you guys and just when I thought I did, I don’t at all. What is happening?
JOE: Right. Yeah.
BILL: And we dumped the breakup on her, which helps us with the story.
JOE: Yes. But also in a positive way. They’re all like, “Oh, thanks, Nora. You’re the one who introduced us to all this new stuff.” It’s still very positive. And I have to point out in Muppets take Manhattan, when all the Muppets decided to go their separate ways, the Mayhem still decides to stay as a collective unit. Like this is just…they just can’t. They can’t break up. They’re too close in a way that like very few other Muppet characters are.
We’re going to check in with Janice. She is packing. And she explains to Nora, “True family never really says goodbye.” Zoot immediately pops in and says, “Hey, Janice. Bye.”
BILL: I love that. Bye! And you’re like, bye!
DAVID: [in voice of Janice] Bye.
JEFF: Can you explain what Janice is wearing in this scene?
JOE: I didn’t clock it. What is Janice wearing in the scene?
JEFF: I don’t even know. It’s something Victorian. It seems almost out of character for her.
JOE: Can you describe it for those of us who don’t remember?
JEFF: It’s like near-Renaissance faire. Like threaded lattice-work.
BILL: It’s like a crocheted top or something, right?
JEFF: Is it?
BILL: Isn’t it like a pale crocheted something?
JEFF: It’s not like Anthropologie boho chic.
BILL: Right. I dunno.
JOE: I could see Janice wandering into a Renaissance faire. And fully dressed like someone who would belong but also not clocking that she’s at a Renaissance faire. Like not clocking that anything is weird or wrong.
DAVID: [laughs] Yeah. I can see that.
JOE: Janice gives Nora her family album and tells Nora that she will always be an honorary Forsurelean who shall be spared during the reckoning. [laughs] I love that line. I love how quickly these Forsureleans are becoming an obvious cult.
JEFF: Yeah, there’s a dark edge to this that we’re not so subtly hinting.
JEFF: Truly. Janice has that throughout the show. Just behind the sweetness is this antagonism and something just a little nasty. [laughs]
BILL: And there were notes coming from the top saying, “How culty is this cult?” [laughs] Like, what’s gonna happen here?
DAVID: I remember, we had a conversation about that too.
DAVID: Bill, I remember you called me. And I think you called me on like a weekend.
BILL: Because we were getting notes about cults.
JEFF: Yeah. We had to ADR it.
DAVID: But I think it just rode the line.
JEFF: But we did have to ADR stuff. It was Nora saying, “And I think Janice is almost started a cult. But I think–” What is the line that she says earlier?
BILL: Right. That’s right.
JOE: Right. She doesn’t call it a cult but she doesn’t insinuate it is getting very culty. Whatever that word is.
BILL: Oh yeah.
JEFF: Yeah. Almost.
DAVID: And then you see it in the next episode and you see. All these people. All the Forsureleans. [laughs]
BILL: Yeah. I love how Janice grabs her face. That’s my favorite.
BILL: Close talking.
DAVID: What did I say? Oh, that’s right. Because I ADR’d that. I don’t know what was there originally.
DAVID: But it wasn’t that originally. It was something else and we added that in one of the ADR sessions. [whispers]You have soft skin.
JEFF: You have soft skin.
BILL: Yeah. You have soft skin.
DAVID: I think that was added later.
DAVID: I don’t know what was there originally.
JOE: David, since you’re not going to be here with us next week, do you have any memories of being on the compound that you want to share, with the other Forsureleans?
DAVID: Oh man.
JOE: Like was it fun being a cult leader for a few minutes?
DAVID: [laughs] Yeah. Yeah, I think the way that it was shot I really wasn’t with them that much. I think there’s maybe one scene where I was actually there. I think there was the one scene where she’s by herself in the tent that was just Janice armatured so I wasn’t even in the puppet for that I don’t think. And I think some of the other stuff that we shot, when Animal comes through, that was shot in the studio. I don’t think that was even on location.
JEFF: I think it was. I feel like I got a frantic call that day that you were trying to work out the green screen tearing.
DAVID: Yeah. But it didn’t work. Something didn’t work so we wound up shooting it at the studio.
BILL: We did two different things.
DAVID: Yeah. Maybe we shot it there and at the studio.
BILL: Yeah, we tried it. We had the plate for it and all that.
JOE: Have you ever been in a cult? You don’t have to answer that. That’s not a real question. [laughs]
JEFF: Called the Muppets.
JOE: Yeah, oh the Muppets. Sure. Right. Being a Mayhead is like being in a cult.
JOE: Yeah. Can confirm. At Wax Town records, we see Penny using a vibrating belt machine. I had to Google this because I was hoping there’d be a fun name for it, but they are just called vibrating belt machines. Like you see in the cartoons.
JOE: I know, right?
BILL: It looks so good.
JOE: It really does.
BILL: It looks really good.
JOE: You get a real sense of how huge that puppet is.
BILL: And Leslie [Carrara-Rudolph] did a great job keeping her moving.
DAVID: Leslie inside of there.
JEFF: Vibrating and her voice is doing it at the same time because that also had to be ADR’d.
DAVID: So was that actually moving?
DAVID: Was that moving or she was just moving it?
BILL: No, the belt was. We had a bar behind her that the belt went to.
DAVID: Oh, okay.
BILL: So that could still be going but then Leslie had to move her as well. So it was kind of a combo of both.
JOE: Is the belt controlled by a person? Or is it like you flip a switch and it actually vibrates?
BILL: No, it’s a switch. Yeah, it’s a real thing.
JEFF: Yeah. I feel like the puppet lost six pounds that day.
JOE: It’s all that water weight.
JOE: Penny is ecstatic about the fact that the band is breaking up because that means she and Teeth can go on a worldwide, spicy pepper cruise, which is a thing. And she’s leaving Nora in charge of Wax Town records, which is pretty exciting for Nora. But she seems pretty down about the whole thing because it means that her friends are breaking up. She cares a little bit more about that than her job. JJ is also there.
JEFF: She got everything she wanted, but it turns out it’s not what she wanted at all.
JOE: Exactly. Yeah, and what’s interesting about this, we have JJ here as well, who has been this almost antagonistic character. But really it’s just that he’s smarmy and he’s got, I don’t know, that finance bro style to him that makes us just assume that he’s going to be an antagonist. But he’s making it clear here, he wants to work with Nora. He wants to be a power couple. He wants his app to support her dream of being CEO of a record label. So he’s not so bad in the end. Like I kind of have mixed feelings now.
BILL: But then he basically says, “We should be shooting higher here. This is nothing right now. These guys aren’t worth you giving up a whole business for.”
BILL: And that’s where she goes, “Oh well.” [laughs]
BILL: You were so close, JJ. You were so close. You were so close.
DAVID: Yeah. He said they’re not relevant.
JOE: Do you, David, do you have any memories of working with Anders Holm on this show? Because he is not a guest on this podcast series. We didn’t get a chance to ask him. So we’re gonna ask you.
DAVID: He was really funny. He was hilarious. And I loved when he would just go off. Like he’d do the written line. But then he also would improvise a bunch of stuff.
JEFF: There’s amazing stuff.
DAVID: It’s just amazing. Like really funny.
BILL: Did he come up with Zedd dancing? Sorry, I just have to ask.
DAVID: [laughs] Oh did he?
BILL: Zedd dancing.
JEFF: Zeddy Krueger. Cheers.
BILL: So good.
DAVID: So good. I think I remember because he came in later than everyone else, right? He joined us after we had already been there for a while. I think you could just see him walking into this environment and seeing all the holes in the floor. And I think he was trying to figure out how am I gonna walk into a room with holes. It was all new to him like it was everybody else. But he jumped right in and he was great from day one. So funny.
BILL: There’s the one thing it was really scary. In the documentary episode, when Animal throws the bongos at his head, it just misses him. It was really close. Perfect timing. He just got out of the way. Really good. Great timing.
DAVID: He’s from Evanston, Illinois.
JOE: Was he really?
DAVID: From right near where I live. Yeah.
BILL: Oh really? And another improv bit that cracked me up was also in the documentary episode, the Beatles episode. When he’s talking about, when he’s saying to Nora, like how he did all this for her. And he talks about the things that he did, where he shaved his or what was it? Waxed his chest.
BILL: And he said hand gesturing classes.
JEFF: It’s amazing.
BILL: So good.
DAVID: So good.
JEFF: Here’s a random Anders bit. So he showed up late, but he also had to leave early because he had another gig. And the ironic thing was, I think I mentioned before, I cut trailers to help people sell their shows. And I’ve done it for different studios and one of those studios was Legendary. And one of the shows that I helped them sell a pitch for was for this Godzilla show.
And so I’m like, “Oh wait, Anders now has to leave a week. What is Anders leaving for? What is this show?” And they’re like, “It’s a Godzilla show.” And I’m like, “Wait a second. So I helped…?”
BILL: Get rid of him. Take our guy away.
JEFF: I made the thing the reason he’s leaving?
JEFF: Yeah, yeah you did.
BILL: That’s so funny.
JOE: Wow. The butterfly effect. That’s what that is.
JEFF: Mothra. I believe it is. I believe it’s Mothra.
JOE: It’s the Mothra effect. Right. Well done. So Animal’s TikTok is getting so popular, he’s starting to get corporate sponsors. So of course, Hannah is getting jealous. The TikTok that they previously shared, Hanimal, is dropping the H. It’s just Animal now. And she’s jealous because she’s been working her butt off making content for her whole career but Animal scratches himself and it goes viral which is actually what we see. We see him scratching himself and the likes are climbing. They get up over 400,000 in just a few seconds.
And I just have to point out, this is exactly what it’s like working making content for the internet. I feel like the more I spend time on a project for Toughpigs or whatever it is, the less likely it’s going to catch on. But if I just post a picture of Fozzie Bear, then that’s gonna get retweeted by Mark Hamill and suddenly it goes viral. So I really hope people are listening to this podcast that we’re also spending a lot of time on. I guess we’ll see.
BILL: Maybe you just have to cut it into little smaller sentences.
BILL: For all of us. Just really quick. [snaps fingers]
JOE: So I should talk less. Is that what you’re saying?
BILL: . I think the problem is time. Not you. No, no, no. Just in general like [snaps fingers] everybody’s moving so fast. They want that quick bite.
JOE: Yeah, we got to be peppier. Yeah.
JOE: [laughs] Faster and funnier as they say. Hannah takes away Animal’s phone and he’s going through withdrawal. We get a couple of good shots of Animal here, where he’s on the couch shivering. And there’s a good shot in the second where he’s inside of a drum and he’s on his phone and the light from the phone is shining on his face. It’s a really good visual.
JOE: Who directed this episode? I didn’t clock it.
DAVID: Kimmy [Gatewood].
JOE: Was this Kimmy?
DAVID: I think it was Kimmy.
JEFF: Who did eight?
DAVID: Rob [Cohen]?
JEFF: No, Rob did six and ten.
BILL: This is Matt, I think.
JOE: Whoever composed that shot of Animal did a terrific job because that is really great.
DAVID: And all those great cuts from him to the clock.
JOE: I’m looking it up. It was Kimmy.
DAVID: Oh, it was Kimmy.
BILL: Was it Kimmy?
JOE: Yeah, Kimmy Gatewood directed this episode.
JEFF: That’s from another episode.
DAVID: Yeah, and it’s those great shots of pushing in Animal’s face, cutting to the clock. Back and forth.
JEFF: Tick tock, tick tock, tick tock.
DAVID: Yeah. So great.
JEFF: But it was from a different episode and an extended thing. I think it was actually from 10 when Nora’s leaving and she realizes that she’s destroyed the band. And she’s like, “Look at Animal.” And you just see Animal on the couch and he’s just a shiver. And yeah. So finally we were just like I don’t know. It’s so sad. It’s really depressing to see him like that. What if we took that and just made it more of a comedic beat and put it in nine. And then even cutting it in a sort of funny way. Again the tick tock of TikTok. Just kind of fun.
JOE: Oh, that’s the connection.
JOE: Tick tock of TikTok. I get it now. They discover that Zoot has thrown away his camera and all his Polaroids because he’s gone digital, which is, I think, the saddest thing. As someone who likes to collect things, especially Muppet history, it’s like, “Oh my god, why would you throw away all those great photos, Zoot?” So I’m glad Nora saved those.
They’re gonna take a little break from social media and they–
BILL: [whispering] Joe, Joe, Joe.
JOE: Yes, Bill.
BILL: [whispering] It’s not, it’s not, it’s not real.
JOE: See, this isn’t…this isn’t a documentary?
BILL: [whispering] No, no. She didn’t actually save them. That was part of the, it was part of the scene. You know, where she’s playing the character.
JOE: I don’t understand. This is, this is real, Bill. Bill, this is real. I saw it on my screen. It happened.
BILL: [whispering] This is in the show. It’s in the show.
JOE: I don’t know what you’re saying.
BILL: You don’t. I’m sorry.
JOE: I don’t get it. I don’t get it at all.
JOE: [laughs] The group is going to take a little break from social media. They’re going to put a VHS tape in the TV. It’s the Electric Mayhem and Elton John from The Muppet Show, singing “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road.” We notice that the audio here, although the video’s from The Muppet Show, the audio is the album version of “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road.” Is there a reason that you didn’t use the audio from The Muppet Show for this sequence?
BILL: I don’t know.
BILL: I don’t know where that choice happened.
JOE: Thank you for the information. That’s all right.
BILL: I don’t know.
DAVID: Yeah, that’s such a nice choice. That song and that moment from The Muppet Show is really nice.
BILL: It could have had to do with the fact that it becomes a montage. And maybe we needed a longer score or something.
JEFF: Right, because I don’t think they do the full version of it on The Muppet Show.
JOE: That could be. Yeah.
JEFF: I’m not entirely sure. But yeah, we hit upon that in the room and it’s the absolute right sentiment. It’s a strange thing because at one point she was going to hear it from upstairs. And we loved the idea that was the song. But it seemed weird that it was going to be Elton John. She would hear Elton John and that would draw her. And not necessarily something of the band. But when we rejiggered what this scene could be, she watches him. And so you still have the song and the band is playing. That is really, really nice.
DAVID: And I love the cassette tape going in and just the old VCR.
DAVID: It’s really nice. Right.
JOE: Yeah, that’s good nostalgia for us.
DAVID: Very emotional.
DAVID: Really was.
JEFF: Yeah, we were in the editing room and I was like, “I just want to try something. I could describe it, but I don’t think anyone will go for it. Let’s just try it.” And so we laid the double image. The second layer of video on top, so it’s playing over the rest of the scene at a certain point. And it’s just, I think it’s really sweet. I think it works out nicely.
JOE: It is.
JOE: Absolutely. Yeah. It’s also nice, as you said, it’s the Elton John version. It’s not necessarily something that’s, at least audio speaking, something that’s Mayhem. And I think this might be the only episode where we don’t hear the Mayhem sing a song. So I kind of feel like it was nice that you found a way in that it’s still technically the Mayhem because we can presume that they’re playing back up for Elton John.
JEFF: That’s what we’re presuming. Yeah.
JOE: Yeah. But yeah, since they’re broken up, it wouldn’t make any sense for them to play something together.
JEFF: Well, I think that’s also part of it, is that they’re not making music.
BILL: They’re not together.
JEFF: So she has to go back to a time when they did.
DAVID: And I love when those songs extend to like two scenes after. You can still hear that same song through that whole Nora scene.
JEFF: Yeah. Source becomes score.
DAVID: Yeah. And then it just kind of ends. The song ends. That scene ends.
JEFF: Yeah, you could ride that emotion of that song. That’s so nice.
DAVID: Yeah. But I think you did that a lot in the show. That happened a lot. And it was so nice how the song would start and it just kind of continued through the scenes, the next few scenes.
BILL: That’s what I remember early on. Adam insisted. That’s what he really felt strongly about was that we did these ending kind of montages that would take us emotionally wherever we needed to go. And It’s great. Works great.
JEFF: Also as Nora’s putting together the photo album that was another thing that Bill and I labored over for quite a few weeks in post-production. Going through all of our collective pictures, photographs we took throughout the show, to just pick the right ones to make them look like they were Zoot’s Polaroids.
BILL: All the Photoshopping you did.
JEFF: I did a lot of Photoshopping. But yeah, we mapped it out. Bill mapped it out. Here’s what this shot is because it was all edited, with these blank Polaroids.
BILL: Oh right.
JEFF: This is Polaroid one. This is Polaroid two. Rode this one. Here’s a stack and then we would give a list. We’d make the pictures and then send them over to VFX to comp in. This is going to go to one. This is going to go to two for this shot. In this shot, we’re tighter. So that still one. That’s still two. But now we have the… it was fun.
BILL: [laughs] Yeah.
JOE: Speaking of photo albums, we also see some pictures of Nora and Hannah together. Younger versions of them. Are those actually Lilly and Saara in all those?
BILL: Yeah. I believe so.
JOE: Lilly you can tell. But Saara as a baby was that actually her?
JOE: That’s great. Nice little touch.
JEFF: The photo album. The family photo album.
JOE: Yes, right. Not the Electric Mayhem album. This is a photo album. Two albums.
JEFF: But again, that was clearly the point we’re trying to make.
JOE: Yeah. Absolutely.
JEFF: That’s the album she should have been working on, focused on.
JOE: Yeah. But yeah, as you said, the song continues to play over the next couple of scenes. Hannah and Nora and Animal find Moog. He’s on top of his trailer, looking out over Los Angeles. As I said, he’s questioning his life choices now that his favorite band has split up.
I get how this feels when something that you love as a fan goes away. What do you do? How do you define yourself if you are really just, that’s your number one thing, you’re just a fan? And Nora tells him that the band needs him. But more importantly, she needs him. And that convinces him to help get the band back together. And that’s our cliffhanger. Disney Plus is gonna love this.
JEFF: Yep. Disney Plus is gonna love this. Two things. I think this is the one time we see Hannah’s car. It originally made an appearance in the first episode and that’s why, in the opening titles, there’s the hashtag license plate. Because that is her license plate on her car.
JEFF: Just making sure everyone saw that. And then the other thing that just cracked us up in the editing room is that Moog has to come down from the roof of that trailer. And it is so high.
DAVID: I was just gonna bring that up. I was just gonna bring that up.
DAVID: That’s an incredible leap down. [laughs]
JEFF: To like really soften it because it is a huge jump. It’s like a stunt. It’s a full-on stunt that had to be done.
BILL: Well, he had to be tethered up there when he was sitting on top. And then we had a great stunt guy who looked just like him to do the job. And he did the land. But we were up there too.
JEFF: But we never wanted it to be a stunt and so I think we took time out of the jump. So he turns to go off it and then there’s not a lot of time. There’s not four, six feet of jump for him to land. And then we softened the land sound effect so it does sound like he lands kind of light. It’s not an epic stunt spectacular.
DAVID: So what did Tahj do? Did he just jump in place for the landing or did he actually jump from something.
BILL: I think he just jumped up.
DAVID: Just jumped in the air and just landed?
BILL: Or maybe he was on the back bumper or something and he jumped off of that.
DAVID: Oh. Okay.
JOE: Well it looked very real.
DAVID: It’s a big jump.
JEFF: Anyway you looked at it, he did that little jump and stood up like it’s no big thing. And it just felt so silly.
JEFF: That’s still 20 feet.
BILL: That was a beautiful location, too.
DAVID: Was that Griffith Park?
BILL: Well it was further over. You could see Griffith Park if you were looking out the way Moog and Lilly are looking, to the left is the Griffith Observatory. And then behind us is the Hollywood sign, just over these mountains. It’s like a turn that you come to and it’s open on both sides. And we were right there where this joins. So you have the Hollywood sign over there. Griffith Park over there. LA down there.
BILL: And then we had a problem. We had to finish because there was some problem up. I can’t remember. Was it a fire or something where they had to make everybody come down. So, we actually just barely finished the shoot there.
JOE: Someone was complaining that some guy was jumping off of car trailers.
BILL: [laughs] Yeah.
JOE: Well, that brings us to the end of this episode of Muppets Mayhem. But David do you have any other memories that you want to share? Any other stories about the performing Janice on the show? Anything like that? Any favorite or least favorite moments?
DAVID: Well, playing all the band scenes are always the most fun, I think, still. Anytime we were doing the musical number on the rooftop that was really fun. The camera move going up to the top of the roof was amazing.
And also Alice Dinnean pretty much always does Janice’s hands on the guitar. So she’s always incredible. She learns the guitar parts. I love working with Alice.
JEFF: Was there any cameo, any guest star that showed up that you were like, “Oh my god.”
DAVID: Yeah, there was…oh so many people. Ziggy Marley was really cool, working with him.
JEFF: You guys had a love affair.
DAVID: [laughs] We did. Yeah. That was fun.
JOE: Yeah, you broke his heart.
DAVID: Yeah, that was a nice little backstory moment.
BILL: Morgan Freeman.
DAVID: There’s so many people. I wasn’t around for that.
BILL: You weren’t around for Morgan Freeman?
DAVID: I wasn’t there. I didn’t see him.
JEFF: That was mostly him and just Zoot.
BILL: Okay. That’s right.
DAVID: Billy Corgan was great. He’s another guy who lives in my hometown. So it was fun to kind of see him there. I see him around town here all the time. And I finally was able to talk to him there on the set.
JEFF: That’s crazy.
DAVID: Because I wouldn’t dare go near him in town here. I don’t know. There’s so many. I can’t. It’s like a blur of celebrities.
JEFF: Bill Barretta.
BILL: Oh yeah, you worked with me.
JOE: Heard of him.
DAVID: Yes, we did.
BILL: Burt Reynolds.
JOE: Burt Reynolds?
BILL: He was on this.
JEFF: Yeah. Burt was on this show.
JOE: Did you have to cut him?
BILL: Yeah. He wasn’t very good.
JOE: Yeah, he wasn’t pulling his weight. I get it. Great. Well, David Rudman, thank you so much for being here. This was such a treat. Such a joy to get to talk about Janice with you. And thank you for all you did on the show as well.
DAVID: Thank you. Thanks for having me. Thank you.
JOE: Having such a great spotlight on Janice in this show and to give her that third dimension, like with the rest of the Mayhem, has been such a treat. I’ve mentioned on the show before, it has been a fear of mine that maybe we don’t want to know too much about the Mayhem. But seeing it all actually happen and seeing the work that you all put into it, all my fears are completely abated and now I want to see more.
JOE: So hopefully we’ll get that chance.
DAVID: Yeah. Well, like I said before, it’s because the team was amazing. It really was the right people involved. And having Bill in a leadership role was really important, I think to keeping the characters true to who they are. And nobody knows his characters more than we do. So it was nice having one of us.
DAVID: [laughs] Again?
JOE: Well, thank you, again, David. Bill and Jeff, thank you both for being here.
JEFF: Thank you.
JOE: Always a treat. Very excited to talk with you next week about the season finale of Muppets Mayhem.
JEFF: Oh my goodness.
JOE: And we’ll see you all then. Thanks, everybody.
BILL: See you then. Thanks.
[Outro music plays]
JOE: The Muppets Mayhem: Backstage Pass is brought to you by Toughpigs.com. Produced, written and hosted by Joe Hennes. Logo art by Dave Hulteen Jr. The Muppets Mayhem mark and logo, characters and elements are trademarks of The Muppets Studio. All rights reserved. Transcriptions provided by Katilyn Miller. The Muppets Mayhem end credits, written by Mick Giacchino, is used with permission. Special thanks to The Muppets Studio, Disney Plus and the entire Muppets Mayhem family.
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Thanks for listening and until next time, rock on!