The Happytime Murders is not for the faint-hearted.
Packed with sex, drugs and murder, most of which involves puppets, who co-exist with humans, the Melissa McCarthy and Phil Philips led comedy revolves around the pair trying to track down a serial killer that is murdering the cast of the 1980s television series “The Happytime Gang.”
I know what you’re thinking: how does a puppet pull the trigger on a gun? Do they have opposable thumbs? Aren’t their hands just full of fluff?
But what you should be asking is: who is Phil Philips? Well, I recently had the chance to interview the disgraced ex-cop who is now a private investigator, and he talked me through “The Happytime Murders,” his career and life as a puppet.
Did you always want to be a police officer?
Oh yeah. Ever since I was a little blue puppet running around the schoolyard, I knew I wanted to be a cop. I used to catch kids cutting in the lunch line and arrest them with a pair of plastic handcuffs I got out of a cereal box. But then I had to let most of them go because I never read them their Miranda rights, which I didn’t even know were a thing. And also I couldn’t read. But back then the idea of a puppet being an actual cop with the LAPD was absurd. They’d never let a puppet join the force before. I was the first, and it was historic. Of course, I was also then the first puppet cop thrown off the force, so really I’m a trailblazer in two ways.
Who were your biggest influences as a detective growing up?
Well since there were no actual puppet cops – as I mentioned before, I was the first, it was a pretty big deal – I had to look at TV detectives that kinda looked and acted like puppets. My favorite was Kojak. Telly Savalas totally looked like a puppet, and he was always chomping on lollipops. As you know, sugar is like crack to puppets. Literally, they’re a drug for us like crack. So seeing a detective always getting a sugar fix was pretty exciting.
What’s the main difference between puppets and humans?
Huh. It’s probably the anatomy placement. With humans, you always know where everything is. An arm is always where an arm is supposed to be and boobs are always where boobs are supposed to be and what not. But with puppets, you never know what you’re gonna get, sometimes with arms and boobs all over the place. This one time I went to frisk a puppet and reached under his armpit and bam – grabbed his weiner. Who knew?
If you could have one human body part, what would it be?
I guess it’d be a liver. We puppets are easily addicted to sugar, it’s a real problem for us. I eat two twizzlers and next thing you know I’m on a week long sugar bender to Tijuana. I’d love to be able to just sit back and enjoy candy like the humans do. Maybe finally have one of those cronuts everyone is always raving about.
How many takes was needed for the sex scene?
Needed. 1. How many did I ask to do? 69. ha. Get it. 69? It’s a joke because of the sexual position. You get it, right? I have a book back at my office, I’ll show you. The Puppet Sutra. It’s got some pretty wild stuff in it.
“The Happytime Murders” is released on August 24.