Live Puppetry

Adam Savage goes behind the scenes of “Puppet Up!”

By November 11, 2023 January 10th, 2024 No Comments
Adam Savage (right) poses with Puppet Up! Co-Creator and Director Patrick Bristow (left) pose with a puppet doppleganger backstage on the Jim Henson Studio lot in Hollywood (photo via Adam Savage on X).

Tested describes itself as a “content platform and community playground for makers and curious minds”. Led by artist, model maker and (among many other things) former Mythbusters co-host Adam Savage, Tested celebrates the culture of making, and explores a fascinating intersection of science, pop culture, prop and costume making and emerging technology.

The Tested team has a deep love of puppetry, and past segments have explored the work of Rick Baker, Rick Lyon, Barnaby Dixon, Broadway’s The Lion King and many others. Most recently, the Tested team has been spending a lot of time with the Jim Henson Company, going behind the scenes at the Jim Henson’s Creature Shop in New York and Los Angeles, and doing a deep dive in to the Henson Company’s live puppet improv show, Puppet Up!

Weeks before the show, at Jim Henson’s Creature Shop’s New York studio, Adam got a look at the process of recreating puppets from classic Jim Henson sketches like Inchworm and Business, Business:

Finally, back in California on the Henson lot, Adam got to see the finished puppets and discussed how they’re performed with puppeteer John Tartaglia and puppet wrangler Kathryn Malloy:

Adam also had an in depth chat with Puppet Up! co-creator and Patrick Bristow about his journey with the show, and the unique aspects of directing puppet improv:

The Jim Henson Company has always been known for its remarkable technical innovation in puppetry, and that’s on full display in Puppet Up! In addition to The Usher, a remarkable little sketch that involves live video looping, the show also combined practical and digital puppets together, live, in real-time.

For more of Tested’s behind-the-scenes adventures in the world of puppetry, check out their Puppets! playlist, and subscribe to their YouTube Channel.