These days, our knowledge of celebrities too often originates with paparazzi images and snarky quotes by anonymous "insiders." After a while, it's easy to forget that stars are real people. That's why HuffPost Celebrity decided to launch its all-new #nofilter quick-fire question and answer series. Because how well do you know someone until they've shared their guiltiest pleasures?
Nerdist's delightfully trippy web series "Neil's Puppet Dreams" has seen Neil Patrick Harris get probed by fuzzy aliens, come face to face with a puppet version of Chris Hansen and have his "trouser weasel" examined by the aptly named Dr. Feltman. And the series' final installment, released today, gets the Bollywood treatment (rapping cow included). "You can never have enough puppets in your life, whether they’re for your children or for singing musical numbers," Harris tells The Huffington Post. Truer words have never been spoken. In honor of the finale, we talked to Harris about the hazards of puppet dreaming as well as his non-puppet viewing habits.
Have you always wanted to work with puppets?
I’m a little obsessed with puppets. Jim Henson was my idol growing up, the only person I wrote a fan letter to when I was a kid. I try to make them; I have a whole puppet workshop in my garage and got to tour the New York Jim Henson studio there and collect all the books. So, when Chris Hardwick of Nerdist asked if I wanted to have a show on his channel, his way to grab me was to say, maybe it could be in collaboration with the Jim Henson puppets. I leapt.
Where did you come up with the concept?
It was a core group of friends who are also comedy writers, David [Burtka], myself and Janet Varney were the three co-exec producers. And Michael Serrato and Brian Clark, two of our very close frends, wrote a lot of them. We didn't even know whether they should all be music videos or a linear story. Janet came up with the thought, what if they were all dreams, and that got us thinking that they could be radically different in style as dreams would be, but could also be as lo-fi and budget-looking as we needed. From there, we started looking at classic dreams that people have, of falling, or death or loving cows, and we tried to figure out what was shootable and what was dark and funny but not offensive.
In the episode "To Catch a Puppeteer,” you spoof "To Catch a Predator." What else deserves a puppet parody?
We liked the idea of doing Madonna’s "Papa Don't Preach" and calling it "Puppet Don't Preach" with a shot-for-shot reenactment with puppets, but I'm not sure we can afford the rights to Madge’s music.
Any advice for others who "dream in puppet"?
I encourage as much puppet dreaming as possible. Just be careful of arm rods. They can hurt.
What’s your guiltiest pleasure?
Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups.
What’s the silliest thing you’ve ever lied about?
If you were on a reality show what would it be called?
“Celebrity Survivor 1.”
If you were on death row, what would your last meal be?
Spaghetti bolognese and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups.
How did you get on death row?
What shows are always on your DVR?
“The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills,” “Wipe Out” and “Homeland,” which I have yet to watch. And “Property Brothers.”
What’s your go-to-excuse?
I’ve been super-busy.
What’s one thing you do alone that you wouldn’t do in front of someone else?
What’s one thing from your childhood wardrobe you wish you could wear now?
I’m a big fan of the onesie.
What’s on your nightstand?
A glass of water, an iPhone charger, and the new Jim Henson book, “Imagination Illustrated.”
Have you ever stolen anything?
No, my brother did and got caught for it and I was an observer of that.
What would people be surprised to know you’ve never done?
I’ve never taken taken any sort of dance class.
What’s one item that’s always in your refrigerator?
Pace Picante sauce, medium.
Who’s your ideal drinking buddy, living or dead?
What happens in your recurring dream?
I have a recurring dream that I’m in school, but I’m a new student there and I’m lost and can’t find where I’m supposed to go.
If you were undead, would you be a vampire, zombie or ghost?
A vampire -- they’re much more sexual, aren’t they? Zombies eat brains and ghosts can’t touch people.
What did you have for dinner last night?
We ordered in Thai food.
If you were on an online dating site, what would your profile name be?