“This exciting! You got questions? Lay it on me.” So says the little blue monster at the beginning of the interview. Just a few hours before, the air felt biting as Romper arrived from Manhattan, but here on Sesame Street, it’s sunny and warm. The clouds have clearly been chased away, and Cookie Monster is about to give us the scoop on his new show.
Somewhat starstruck, I start with a rookie mistake and ask him what it’s like hosting the Not-Too-Late-Show. “Me co-host,” Cookie reminds me cheerfully. “It’s the Not-Too-Late-Show With Elmo,” he emphasizes. “He does most of the heavy lifting! Me just kinda sit back, enjoy the guests, you know, offer up a little comedy nugget every once in a while. It’s a good gig!”
The original series starts streaming May 27 on HBO Max, and I believe I speak for every parent in America when I say that’s not a moment too soon. What could be better right now than giving our kids 15-minute screen time dates with Elmo, Cookie Monster, and their guests? “It’s called the 'not too late' show because Elmo’s bedtime is 7:30,” everyone’s favorite little red monster tells the audience in the show’s trailer, which features celebrity guests aplenty, from Jimmy Fallon (there to provide hosting tips) to Kacey Musgraves singing "Rubber Ducky" (truly the content the entire world needs right now).
Here's what Cookie Monster had to say about working with Elmo, celebs on set, and his favorite ways to unwind.
Romper: Who have been some of your favorite guests so far?
Cookie Monster: It’s hard to pick favorites! We had Jason Sudeikis — he terrific. John Mulaney. Oh and you know Ben Platt? Me got to sing with Ben Platt.
Do you have a good singing voice?
Do me have good singing voice? Well not as good as Ben Platt! Me just try to keep up. Me just let him go and try to stay out of the way!
What’s the toughest part of the job?
Um… refraining from eating the set! Yeah, the couch looked delicious…
What’s the best part?
Probably hanging out with me buddy Elmo. We get to spend some quality time together.
Speaking of snacks, do they have good snacks at the show?
Snacks? Of course!
Well YOU KNOW! You know what me always go for. Me not going to say it… because if me say it, me going to have to get one…
Me looking for one. Anyone got a cookie? … Maybe later.
Just a few more questions.
Do you ever have to stay up late to do the show?
Well, not toooo late! Wait a minute… not… too… late. OHHHH! That why it called the "not too late" show! Me just get that now! Thank you for helping me clarify! Got it.
Do you ever get nervous?
Nervous? Why would me get nervous? Me just hanging out with me friends.
Do you ever get hangry?
Well you know me always have cookies standing by. ME SAID COOKIES!!! Me need to get a cookie. Whenever me say cookie me pretty much need to eat a cookie.
[Editor's note: Same.]
Is that your favorite way to unwind after a long show?
Have a cookie? Yeah. That and knitting.
Thank you! It was so great to meet you!
Terrific interview! Me got to run! COOKIE!!!
This interview has been lightly edited for clarity.