MPZ’s “CJ and PEANUT” for MTV
MTV came to me and decided they wanted hosts for the On Demand channel instead of just a menu. The hosts would have story lines and give navigational directives to the viewer through bits and gags. It was the exec’s hope that eventually the characters would be branded into a show of their own as a part of the network.
The characters created were CJ and PEANUT, two hipsters who live in the MTV vault underneath the Viacom building, home to every video, prop and Kurt Loder.
I REALLLLY wanted to perform Peanut! But he wasn’t ready in time for the first days of shooting.
While many said he was “hot”, CJ was really built too big for our needs. He was heavy and awkward which was NO fault of the builder, MIKE QUINN. We had no idea what the set up was going to be. No one did.
So I ended up doing CJ and the hilarious and extremely cool JAMES GODWIN performed PEANUT. I’d right hand when I could (that’s me peeling the banana in the dream sequence). James also performed an angry sock puppet. I forget his name.
On a shoe string budget, once a month we would go to the MTV offices or vault and shoot 30 interstitials. It was grueling. 90% of the time I couldn’t even watch the monitors for good manipulation because I was reading so much copy. Once in a while we’d go on location and have celeb guests.
What was meant to be a 3 month test, ended up being somewhere around 2 years or more of work. Then the network changed branding and formats. The puppets were sitting in a tupperware case at Viacom for years. I tried to break them out, but to no avail.