We first discovered out-and-proud puppeteer Jonathan Kidder from his work on the Michelle Obama produced show for Netflix, “Waffles and Mochi.” Now, in an exclusive interview with Instinct Magazine, Jonathan talks about his background and his new show on Fox-TV, “Let’s Be Real.”
Originally from Oakland, California, Jonathan talks about where he got his love for puppetry at an early age, inspired by his public school art teacher and other kids in his community with whom he has grown to work with as an adult.
These days Mr. Kidder is involved with a new project developed by comedy writer Robert Smigel (you probably are familiar with his work if you are a fan of Conan O’Brien; he developed “Triumph, the insult comic dog”). Airing on Fox-TV later this spring, the show is called “Let’s Be Real” which is an American interpretation of the highly popular and long-running French series “Les Guignols.” In the original episode (available for streaming on Hulu), Kidder plays the Trump puppet who is conducting a Zoom call with Stormy Daniels. He also does Biden in another sketch, so this show is a great opportunity for Kidder to exhibit his many talents.
Kidder makes the case that puppets are a form of drag, and also talks about the influence “Wayland Flowers & Madame” had on him. He recounts how this pioneering gay puppeteer from the 1980s performed on many television shows of the era and helped break down the internal barriers we all carry between our masculine and feminine sides. Ultimately, puppets are a way for all of us, especially with children, to give us a sense of affirmation, “to see the world through the puppet’s eyes … to be confident in their development and to give us that spark of joy.”
To watch this amazing performer at work, tune into Netflix and check him out on “Waffles + Mochi.” He plays opposite Michelle Obama as the bee that always has a funny opinion about where her entourage is going and what they are eating.
For our interview with Jonathan, watch the video below: