Interviews DLHandpuppet*

Published on October 22nd, 2012 | by Jessica Mickey


David Liebe Hart is No One’s Puppet

If there’s anything to be said about David Liebe Hart, it’s that the man is 100 percent genuine. Most famous for his puppetry work and musical hymns about beings beyond our galaxy on Adult Swim’s Tim and Eric, Awesome Show, Great Job!, it is fair to say that none of his onscreen or onstage persona is a bit. He is the real deal. And maybe that’s why I feel so strangely protective of him.

Preparing for our interview, I pulled up a video of one particular song he’s taking on tour, entitled, “La Rent Doesn’t Want Me To Look At Porn.” Hart stands stoically as three young white kids subtly bounce their way through the song. With touches of SoCal punk and ’80s theatrical prog moments, coupled with vibrato not unlike Danny Elfman’s in his early work with Oingo Boingo, I was actually pleasantly surprised. And relieved.

Hart has recently taken up with a punk band. No, really. The lovable Christian oddball with the bulky puppets has gone all punk rock on us. And though part of him is doing this to pay his bills, my hope is that he finds joy in it and isn’t just doing it to appeal to snarky, irony-loving hipsters — the demographic that initially embraced him through late-night programming and a case of the munchies. One has to imagine that he’s gone in this musical direction to appease them in one form or another, and though that assumption is partially correct, trying to figure out Hart and his agenda is ridiculous. Which, all in all, is pretty damn punk rock of him.

David Liebe Hart

David Liebe Hart

Metronome: So, why did you decide to front a punk band? Is this something you always wanted to do, or did it seem like a good fit considering that you’re popular with Tim and Eric crowd?

David Liebe Hart: I’ve always been interested in all types of music. I used to do country music with my friend Eric Seagal in a band called Western Horses, and I auditioned for Styx when I was in high school. I’ve also been doing religious music for years. I’ve released albums in all different styles but the young people really seem to like it when I do punk rock.

Metronome: When you decided to go punk, what bands/artists did you draw inspiration from?

David Liebe Hart: I like that bunny rabbit band, Blink 182. I saw them when they performed at the Hollywood Bowl where I do street entertaining, and they were really good. My cousin Linda McKennan also played punk rock for me. She’s dead now, but her favorite band was Bad Religion.

Metronome: Did you approach your back-up band to play with you, or did they come to you with the idea?

David Liebe Hart: I’ve been doing music with Adam [Papagan] for something like five years. When we started writing punk rock music, he got his friends to play in back of me. They’re very dedicated and a talented group of guys.

Metronome: How does Adam Papagan play into all of this? What is his role?

David Liebe Hart: I met Adam when we were both doing Public Access shows in Los Angeles. I was doing the Junior Christian Science Bible Lesson Program and he was doing his Del Talk Show. His parents drove him to be on my show, and that was in 2004 when he was just a kid. A few years later, he asked me if I wanted to start doing songs together, and he brought a bunch of recording equipment over to my apartment.

Metronome: You’ve toured around a lot since 2008. Since you’ve sung about your experience with alien abduction, have you met other people across the country at shows who have shared a similar experience? Or are most people rather shy to approach you about it?

David Liebe Hart: I’ve met a lot of people who are into the UFO Phenomenon. Sometimes Korendiands and Omegans even come to my concerts. Unfortunately, the aliens are mad at me for telling everyone all their secrets, and they recently cut off contact with me.

Metronome: Performing in bars while abstaining from alcohol and cigarettes, how have you found the balance to be in these environments and not be negatively affected by it? It must be difficult, or at least a little annoying.

David Liebe Hart: I don’t smoke or drink or take drugs since I’m Christian Science. I don’t mind if other people do, but I try to lead by example and encourage them not to. I know my fans aren’t going to look as young as me if they keep taking drugs.

Metronome: When back home in Cali, do you still find the time to perform with one of your puppets outside the Hollywood Bowl?

David Liebe Hart: Unfortunately, I still have to work as a street entertainer since being laid off of Cartoon Network. People always want to stop and take pictures with me, but I tell them I can’t stop singing because I have to make my rent money.

Metronome: Have you ever received any odd gifts from fans?

David Liebe Hart: Sometimes, kids draw me pictures, and one time, somebody brought a goat to my concert, but they said I couldn’t have it.

Metronome: Even though you’ve been embraced by the comedy community, do you consider what you do to be comedy? Because it seems that your work all comes from a very genuine place, not exactly meant to elicit laughter all the time.

David Liebe Hart: I used to do comedy at the Comedy Store and the audience warm-ups for Happy Days and Laverne and Shirley until Gary Marshall picked Robin Williams to play Mork instead of me. Sometimes I write songs that are comical, and sometimes I write serious songs. If people want to laugh, that is up to them.

Metronome: Do you enjoy being on the road or do you prefer to be in familiar surroundings?

David Liebe Hart: I like touring with these guys, but sometimes it gets tiring. I’m grateful for the opportunity to travel around, but it’s like being in the military. There’s no women — it’s all men!

Metronome: So what can the audience on Saturday, Oct. 26 expect to see? Perhaps a guest appearance by one of your puppets?

David Liebe Hart: I’m going to be performing rock music with my band, then I’m going to do rap music and songs by myself and with a puppet. Warner Brothers won’t let me do my songs from Tim and Eric, but I have some parallels that are even better.

Metronome: Speaking of that, where did the puppets come from? They always gave me such a strong Rock-afire Explosion a la Showbiz Pizza vibe.

David Liebe Hart: Jim Henson used to be my Sunday School teacher, and he told me he wanted me to do a show for kids teaching them about Christian Science. He gave me some puppets that were only used once for a commercial. I also have puppets that belonged to The Friendly Giant and Kukla, Fran and Ollie.

Metronome: So now that you’ve conquered punk, what’s next on the agenda?

David Liebe Hart: I want to do an album of country music; it’s very popular in the south. I also want to do a rhythm and blues album and some more rap music.

Metronome: What advice can you offer the human race as a whole?

David Liebe Hart: Just that everyone needs to love each other and have peace.

David Liebe Hart and his band share the stage with local band Boring Portals at the Tin Roof on Fri. Oct. 26 at 9 p.m. Admission is $10 ($8 in advance). Visit for more. 



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About the Author

Jessica Mickey

has considered Charleston home since she first moved here in 2001. She regularly performs improv at Theatre 99 and dabbles in stand-up comedy in various venues around the Lowcountry. Jessica has also cohosted morning radio shows on 96Wave and 98X, as well as wrote the weekly column "The Chase is On" for the Charleston City Paper. She can barely play the ukulele Ballard bought her for Christmas last year, but after a couple of drinks, she can sing the shit out of some karaoke.

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