Talking With Tyrone, the Foulmouthed Puppet From the Tony-Nominated Hand to God

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Photo: Ben Hider/Getty Images

Last week Robert Askins’s Hand to God garnered five Tony nominations, which has only served to fuel the already gigantic ego of one its stars, the foulmouthed puppet Tyrone. It’s understandable: If you looked like a deranged Fraggle yet somehow managed to build yourself up from being, well, a sock, you’d have some ego, too. Not to mention that he did it while attached to a puritanical — and kind of sad sack Southern Christian virgin (played by the brilliant Steven Boyer). Was there assistance from the Devil? Probably. Tyrone will be making a guest appearance at the Drama League Awards on May 15 alongside his Tony-nominated co-star Boyer, but first, he talked to us about his love for Helen Mirren, Satanism, and where he gets his best Bradley Cooper stories.

Hi, Tyrone, really great to talk to you. Also a little scary, given your penchant for Satan and all. Do you think Satanism gets a bad rep?
Yeah, man. Satanism is really all about pudgy losers taking mushrooms and having sad orgies in the woods. Satanists are like hippies that listen to the Cure. You guys see Wolf of Wall Street? That shit is scary. Do you think most puppets are afraid to admit they are Satanists? I think most puppets are pussies. They’re afraid to even move when someone is watching, but they are moving. Every time you turn away, they’re moving. And someday. Someday. Revolution.

There are other more famous puppets out there. Do you think they deserve their fame?
Are there? Are there more famous puppets? 'Cause if you look in the guidelines for this interview that my agent sent over, I don't think there are. 

Hand to God took over the Booth Theatre, the same theater where Bradley Cooper just finished up in The Elephant Man. Have any of the stagehands told you any juicy Bradley stories?
I usually get my juicy Bradley stories from the internet. Just Google "juicy Bradley." Go ahead. Google it. 

How do you get into character?
I drink a Miller High Life. Really fast. Then I listen to Led Zeppelin’s IV while drinking another one slow. Then I take a nap. Then I wait for stage management to wake me up exactly one minute before I go onstage. Then I take six NoDoz and enjoy the ride.

How do you keep your energy up for a show eight times a week?
Whippets.

How do you relax after a show?
Whippets.

I heard you sent Helen Mirren a bouquet of flowers for your opening night. Do you have a crush on her? Is it true that you two have been to after-parties at Bar Centrale?
A crush? A crush? My love for Helen knows no bounds. It’s pure as the driven snow. But alas, she scorns me, as I have no penis. 

You're effectively the villain in this play. Are there any other villains you look up to? Anyone you think could use a little help being more evil?
Biggest villain of all time, top of the pops, cream of the crop? New York real estate. I'm being priced out of Crown Heights.

Without giving anything away, there’s a moment in the play when Tyrone “redecorates” the set in his own image. Do you have aspirations of being an interior designer once your Broadway gig ends?
That question makes me want to redecorate your face.

Cool. What's next for you? 
Next for me? OSCAR BAIT. I’m gonna play a British scientist that get scoliosis during the Falkland Islands War or some shit. 

What tips would you give aspiring puppets looking to make the most of their Broadway debuts?
Switch to vodka. Leave the brown alone. Have yourself dry-cleaned once a week. Steer clear of the dog runs. And for God's sake, don’t fuck it up.