String ’em up!: Comedians become puppets for new talk show

Brooklyn Daily
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They’re making their presence felt!

Two comedians will transform into puppet versions of themselves in order to host “Puppets Presents: A Stand-Up Comedy Show” at Littlefield on Jan. 25. We spoke with Bushwick comedian Carmen Lagala and Manhattanite Kelsey Caine about their plan to interview a quartet of stand-up comedians while in the form of stuffed felt figures.

Julianne Cuba: So what exactly happens on stage? Are you guys humans or puppets?

Carmen Lagala: We turn into puppets at the beginning of the show. I didn’t think this could sound more silly. I already feel like a stupid dumb doll on stage, this will not be really different. They will see our faces for the first, like, three minutes of the show, and then literally it’s hosted by puppets.

Kelsey Caine: We’re puppeteering ourselves as puppets. This is the first time that we’ve ever put on a puppet show together — the idea is that it’s just a normal comedy show and at some point hijinx ensue and we contact the ghost of Jim Henson, the puppet god, and he turns us personally into puppets. We are grappling with the fact that we turned into puppets, we didn’t see this coming.

JC: Have you guys rehearsed the questions that you’ll ask the comedians (Jo Firestone, Aparna Nancherla, Joe Pera, Hari Kondabolu, and Janelle James)?

CL: We didn’t really think too much about that, we keep it very improvisational. I think it’ll depend on a little of their set, I want to see like what they were talking about and explore those topics. We are dabbling with the idea of taking audience suggestions to get more people involved.

JC: How do you expect the comedians to react?

KC: I will assume they will react by calling us very weird. Janelle James is a very no-nonsense kind of lady; I’m excited to get her next to a puppet.

CL: I think they will all have different reactions. Aparna and Joe could host a children’s show and be fine, but Janelle and Hari are more serious and political — to see how they play with something a little less serious, I think it’ll be very fun.

JC: Do you guys play with puppets in your free time?

CL: I own probably like seven puppets, but I use them an embarrassing amount, mostly by myself, which is creepy.

KC: Sometime we get together and just play around with puppets, and (Carmen’s) like a crazy creative person, it’s just so fun to get silly.

JC: Do your puppet characters look like your human selves?

CL: They are not done yet — we’re hoping they will look just like us, but chances are they will look really bad. But I won’t let us have something crappy on stage. Mine will look good, Kelsey’s will look terrible.

KC: That’s your sound bite, Carmen. We’re planning on wigging them and planning on them wearing little outfits like we are wearing. They will look scarily terrible.

“Puppets Presents: A Stand-Up Comedy Show” at Littlefield (635 Sackett St. between Third and Fourth avenues in Gowanus, Jan. 25 at 8:30 pm. $10 ($8 in advance).

Reach reporter Julianne Cuba at (718) 260–4577 or by e-mail at Follow her on Twitter @julcuba.
Updated 1:34 am, July 10, 2018
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