UPDATE: With Melissa McCarthy set to host Saturday Night Live on May 13, she was spotted dressed as Sean Spicer riding a podium on New York City streets Friday morning.
Saturday Night Live's latest run of political satire is being fueled by a Montgomery County company.
When actress Melissa McCarthy returned to SNL to play White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer last weekend, she pummeled through the press corps behind a podium made by Monkey Boy Productions, a prop, puppet and costume shop based in Wyncote, Pennsylvania.
Michael Latini, a graduate of Archbishop Wood High School and co-founder of Monkey Boy Productions, and fellow co-founder Marc Petrosino, were the brains behind the stage McCarthy first appeared on as Spicer.
On February 1 they got a call from SNL asking them to create McCarthy’s podium by February 3. After the success of the first sketch, which tallied over 23 million views on YouTube, they got the call to up the ante. This time, the show needed a mobile unit that would allow McCarthy to barrel into the crowd. They had 36 hours to make it.
“We're running around in the snow trying to find an electric wheelchair. We get back here, we're pulling it apart, pulling the seat off, trying to make an extra platform,” said Petrosino.
They built the new rig out of isolation foam which is sturdy but also light.
While McCarthy had a blast during the sketch, Petrosino says it took her a little while to get used to the mobile podium.
“In the first rehearsal, she got on it and was initially a little tentative and then she realized how fast it could go and was whipping around the rehearsal space, running people over for like 15, 20 minutes, just having a blast," he said.
Petrosino and Latini started the production company with Scott Hitz and Russell Tucker in 2006 after meeting at the Eugene O'Neill National Puppetry Conference in Waterford, Connecticut. The company has made props for smaller scale productions, and even Broadway shows.
While this is the first time one of their props has helped make a sketch go viral, this isn’t their first time working for SNL. Two years ago, they crafted “Little Shop of Horrors” puppets for a sketch featuring Bobby Moynihan and host Scarlett Johansson. While the sketch didn’t make it to air, their work caught the attention of the producers.
Fast forward to Season 42, and they’re getting called in for almost every episode. Seeing their work used in front of millions of people has them in awe.
“It’s amazing production," Petrosino said. "To hear the audience live in studio 8H is overpowering. They're so loud.”