In the movie Death To Smoochy, producers calls the guy who wears a fluffy character suit “a foamy – a fabric stuffer.” A star is snared in a payola scandal. There’s excessive drinking, backstabbing and swearing, as well as the involvement of the Irish mob and a female producer / “kiddie host groupie.” It’s just like that, right?
Uh . . . I haven’t seen that movie . . . But we are all real people, and we all have our fair share of drama. There are definitely couplings on tours. The couples change and people have their drama or people meet someone in a city. But our tour is pretty low-key right now.
So no one pulls off the Big Bird head and starts smoking cigarettes and drinking whiskey?
[Laughs] No. That doesn’t happen.
What is it like to be in that auditorium full of hundreds of screaming kids who are jacked up on sugar? Were you a little intimidated the first time?
It is a little intimidating. All the characters go into the audience at some point and that can be a little scary. Sometimes I have this image that it’s like being attacked, like out of a horror film. You’re so big in those suits – you don’t want to take any of them down. You think “Okay, if I just shuffle along slowly I’ll be okay.”
Live performance always carries the risk that something can go wrong . . .
Oh yeah, we’ve definitely had Muppets falling. I have face-planted on the stage as a Care Bear.
How exactly do you get in character for a Care Bear?
Actually it can be a challenge. Our director kept saying “We need you to be more sleepy but more energetic in the show.” I was like “Uh, oh – okay.” I loved playing Bedtime Bear because so many people knew him and loved him as a kid. He sort of came with this affection that people had for him. It’s like Elmo. He’s so cute and lovable, it doesn’t matter. You can try to be a tough guy and think he’s annoying, but deep down you really do love him.
What does your family think? Are they saying “Oh, she could have been a doctor or a lawyer, and now she’s a Care Bear?”
No, my family thinks it’s great. I’m so grateful to my parents who said, “If this is what you love, go for it.”
It sounds like a lot of fun. But a little weird too.
You definitely have those moments where you’re walking around in half a Muppet costume and you’re like,”This is my life?”