Martha Stewart Living talks to Brendan Hurley, Prop Master for ‘The Colbert Report’

Brendan & Drinky Hurley | Photo: Kristopher Long

Jodie Levine: WHAT’S THE BEST THING ABOUT WORKING AT TCR?

Brendan Hurley: I love this job, I’m proud of it, it gives me purpose, and I feel I’m good at it, so that’s one of the best parts, but also the people I work with, I would say a lot of us are very, very close. And Stephen pushes the envelope in a way that makes us all realize that there’s stuff that we can do that we wouldn’t have thought we could do before that. He makes the group as a whole stronger, and he just brings out the best in the people that work here. He thinks anything is possible, and he hasn’t been wrong yet.

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Jodie Levine: AND HOW DID YOU END UP AT TCR?

Brendan Hurley: Someone I worked with heard they were looking for a prop master here. They’d interviewed four people before me and had already decided who to hire, but then I showed up and I guess they felt like they had to interview me. They hired me, and thank God they did because it just seemed like the perfect fit for me. Because every other show I’d worked on, I wouldn’t watch it. To work on a show where you get to create very childlike, fun items, it’s just the perfect job for me. I consider myself very lucky.

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Jodie Levine: HOW MANY PEOPLE PITCH IN TO HELP YOU GET STUFF DONE BY SHOWTIME?

Brendan Hurley: In the beginning, it was just me, and back then I would tell interns to go out and get whatever materials I needed. I’d make the phone calls, and try to find out if they had stuff, how many were in stock. But about a year and a half ago, I got a props assistant, Liz Migliaccio, and now I have her do that, so it takes a lot off my plate. She’s great. There’s a bunch of other people that, when there’s something to be done, people here just do it, other staffers including Kate Sunbury, our Production Manager, and Torey Strahl and James Kuo, our production assistants.

Jodie Levine: WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE PROP YOU’VE EVER MADE?

Brendan Hurley: Actually, it was when Stephen went over to do [Late Night with Jimmy Fallon]. He needed a huge pint of Ben & Jerry’s Late Night Snack ice cream. That was a crazy day. The first [ice cream container] we worked on was 5 feet high, and Stephen, Ben and Jerry were going to pop out of the top with spoons. But then there was a change of ideas and it needed to be more of a Trojan horse. We remade it so that it was 9 feet high, and Stephen, Ben and Jerry just walked out through a door I’d made in the pint, located where the nutritional facts are printed.

Full Interview: Martha Stewart Living.

  • Mariana312

    Click through for the whole article– it’s great! Now we know who was responsible for last night’s Doritos air mask.

    • CN Helper

      Not only that, everything else! I love all the props on the Report. I am glad to hear that Drinky has not gone gently into that good night. I always wondered who was in there. Thanks Brendan for all you do- the props are the finishing touch that make the show perfect.

  • llama

    LOVED reading that. Anything that goes behind the scenes, love it. Great interview.

  • jentaps

    What a great interview! Just another reason I wish I worked for TCR. It sounds like *such* an awesome place to work. Brendan is amazing, and it’s fun now to know where all the props come from. I did wonder how they made that gigantic Ben & Jerry’s pint. :-)
    And the security guys are former military, and can patch people up. Nice!

  • lockhart43

    I’m so glad I was finally able to read this! For as long as I have loved this show, I have loved the people who make the props, but I’ve never known who they were. And now that I do, Brendan Hurley (and the rest of his team, and the Graphics Department, whom I already love anyway) are a bunch of geniuses! That has got to be my dream job. I would love to be the person running around New York City to find a random prop at 4:30 in the afternoon. Though something I loved during the interview had absolutely nothing to do with Brendan’s job, but instead what he said about living in New York City; I grew up in a small town, like Brendan, and for the past three years have been seriously contemplating a move to NYC at some point in my future. And I loved his description about why he likes living there so much, because I agree with him and it makes me think that it really could become home for me.

    It’s also nice to know that it’s Brendan under the desk whenever Stephen has a complex prop to work with!