Fusion’s Paul F. Tompkins spills puppet secrets in Reddit AMA

Giving fans some insight into the method behind his madness, Paul F. Tompkins, host of Fusion’s No, You Shut Up!, got serious about the funny business during a two-hour Reddit AMA on Thursday. The comedian talked about discovering puppet sidekicks in desk drawers, working with fellow comedian Bob Odenkirk (also known as Saul Goodman from Breaking Bad), and his weekly show on Fusion—recently named by Rolling Stone as a must-watch for 2015.

Here are a few of our favorite answers.

How much of [No, You Shut Up!] is improvised?

A good chunk! It was much more improvised in the first two seasons. But since we expanded, there’s a solidly funny script that we embroider around the edges. And we keep ourselves open to changing things on the fly, no matter what the script says.

Who would be your dream interview?

I’d love to interview Stephen Colbert.

What was your first suit?

I think it might have been this one:

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Do you have any input on the [No, You Shut Up!] puppets that are used in the show?

I do not have input on the puppets– we mostly use existing puppets from the Henson Creature Shop. Some of them have been discovered, literally, in desk drawers. But our amazing puppeteers are able to take these misfit toys and create characters and voices for them that are perfect for our show. It starts with the writers having need of a character. They look around the shop to see what we haven’t used, then collaborate with the puppeteers on what the character will sound and act like. It’s a really great team.

What advice would you give to a young, aspiring astronaut?

Invest in one of those helmets, they are VERY important.

Your interviews on Speakeasy on YouTube have been great. What do you think makes for a better interview?

I am lucky on Speakeasy because I can listen in a way that late night hosts can’t; they have to be looking for jokes and keep the comedy going. I can listen to what my guest is saying with no agenda other than, what more can I find out? In either case though, being present is the key.

Paul had this strange pick for “app of the peek” in a recent episode.

What celebrity over 40 are you most afraid of?

Robert Durst.

What podcasts do you listen to regularly?

I listen to a lot of Earwolf stuff, one of my absolute faves being Hollywood Handbook. I also love Stop Podcasting Yourself and Judge John Hodgman. Baby Geniuses. Too many to mention them all!

Who is the funniest person you know?

My wife.

What is your favorite memory of working with Bob Odenkirk?

One time Bob despised a sketch of mine so much at a readthru, he told me what was wrong with it for a full ten minutes before concluding, “So I guess I’m saying I hate this sketch and it’s trying to kill me,” as he dropped it on the ground.

Growing up, did you realize that growing a mustache and having excellent taste in clothing would help define you as a person?

Yes.

No, You Shut Up! airs Thursdays at 10pm EST on Fusion. Watch the latest episode below.

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