You wouldn’t think of Modesto as a Hollywood hotspot — but, then again, you’re not movie buffs Deb and Wade.
They’re the puppet duo hosting “The Movie Show,” a spoofy new Syfy series set at a local access TV station in the Central California city located over 300 miles north of LA.
The 12-episode series is the brainchild of comedy writers Alex Stone and Adam Dubowsky and follows earnest fangirl Deb (Dubowsky) and her dimwit sidekick, Wade (Stone). They discuss filmdom’s biggest sci-fi blockbusters aided by human crew members Gary (David Theune) and Randy (Rory Scovel).
Dubowsky, 37, and Stone, 34, spoke to The Post about “The Movie Show” and what went into creating their off-kilter series.
How did this come about?
Dubowsky: The network came to us about doing a potential movie-review type of show, and this was our spin on that. Alex and I have the same sense of humor and the same likes, and it evolved from there.
Stone: They said, ‘We probably can’t get A-list movie stars to come on a show and talk to you guys and we’re not going to be able to show any exclusive clips.’ We always knew we wanted it to be funny — we’re both comedy writers — and the puppet portion of the idea was borne of, ‘How do you talk about real things while everything around it is fake and fantasy and silly and fun?’ Our thought was that, if you see puppets the moment you turn on your TV, logic goes out the window and you can do anything you want.
Dubowsky: When we first started brainstorming about the show my girlfriend at the time was from Modesto. I’d been there a bunch of times and witnessed what kind of place it is. We wanted the show to be near where movies are made but not really where movies are made — so [Deb and Wade] can pretend to be insiders but not really insiders.
How did you decide on Deb and Wade as the co-hosts?
Stone: We had a few different versions we kicked around for a while. At the beginning, it was going to be a fan and a washed-up sci-fi movie star; in another version, it was kind of an “Inside the Actors Studio” show with a buttoned-up critic.
Dubowsky: One version was going to be a Charlie Rose-kind of show; his ratings were really bad so they hire a new young host who everyone hates and there would be inherent conflict between the two.
“The Movie Show” mentions upcoming movies including “Voyagers” and “Batman.” Was it tough keeping the show topical during production?
Dubowsky: We finished shooting last week! So it was very recent. [The movies mentioned] were a huge consideration; we started writing the show in January and it was scheduled to premiere over the summer with all the summer blockbuster movies that don’t exist anymore.
Stone: We were writing to movie release dates that all got pushed [because of COVID]. We were writing up through production in some regard because things are so fluid right now. It was a bit of a puzzle to put together and to figure out what we were talking about.
How did the puppetry work?
Stone: There were two puppeteers for each puppet, so four people hiding behind [Deb and Wade’s] desk. They’re very accomplished puppeteers who’ve worked on “Crank Yankers.” One of the puppeteers, Artie Esposito, did Kermit the Frog for a bit.
Dubowsky: We use the whole show as a living, breathing cartoon where we can kind of do anything. The rules of the real world don’t exist — but we can talk about real things.
“The Movie Show” will preview Sunday at 11:35 p.m. before moving into its regular timeslot on Thursday, Dec. 3 (11 p.m.)