Late Night Buffet was an in-development television series produced by The Jim Henson Company for TBS. Plans for the program were first announced in in June 2006, two pilots were taped in July, and the show was originally considered for a possible debut in early 2007.
Like many late night talk shows, Late Night Buffet would feature celebrity guests, sketches, a house band and other comedy bits. The twist however was that the show would star puppets as the hosts and other supporting cast.
Two pilot episodes were taped before a live audience at the Jim Henson Company studios on July 22, 2006. A promotional message from the hosts, Augie and Del, was played at Comic-Con 2006 promoting the then-upcoming show.
The show, part of the Henson Alternative brand of comedy, was not intended as a "children's show", and members of the live studio audience were required to be over 18.
Michael Wright (TBS senior vice president of original programming) commented on the show's development, saying "it's a different way to approach the late-night talk show...It takes the Henson brand's intelligence and warmth and mixes it with a little wickedness and fun."
The show's production did not move forward and there has been no mention of the pilots or the series in any of Henson's or TBS' literature or press materials since November 2006. However, in November, lead character Del surfaced as the host of a web series, Del's Vegas Comedy Binge, and a few clips from it appear in Julianne Buescher's puppeteer demo. A clip from one of the sketches from the show appears on the Henson Company YouTube Channel.
- Augustus Pfiffle, also known as Augie, is the host of Late Night Buffet. Augie was performed by Brian Henson, with Leslie Carrara-Rudolph assisting.
- Delbert Kastle, also known as Del, is Augie's co-host. Del was performed by Bill Barretta, with Michelan Sisti assisting. Del also headlined the Del's Vegas Comedy Binge webisodes.
- Louisa Cappellini and her Four Course Band is the house band on Late Night Buffet. Louisa plays the keyboards and sings. She was performed by Julianne Buescher, with Sean Johnson assisting. A 2006 New York Times article gave an inside look at the building of Cappellini, citing Angelina Jolie as a reference for some of the character's features: "Inside a converted farmhouse on the grounds, an employee creates a new female character, Gina Cappellini, meant for one of the resident puppeteers, Julianne Buescher, who slides the puppet-in-progress over her hand. Gina’s eyes have yet to be glued on; they’re still trying to perfect her sloe-eyed expression with the help of an Angelina Jolie photo pinned to the wall."
- Bongo, one of Louisa's pet monkeys, plays the drums in the Four Course Band. Bongo was performed by Tyler Bunch, with James Murray assisting.
- Joey, another monkey, plays guitar. Joey was performed by Kevin Carlson, and was named after Julianne Buescher's brother Joe, who is an accomplished guitar player and singer.
- Spank, Louisa's third monkey, plays bass guitar. Spank was performed by Karen Prell. The puppet created for Spank was later used as Yeager in the Henson series S.U.D.S.
- Brian Henson as Augie
- Leslie Carrara-Rudolph as Augie (assistant)
- Bill Barretta as Del
- Michelan Sisti as Del (assistant)
- Julianne Buescher as Lousia Cappellini
- Sean Johnson as Lousia Cappellini (assistant)
- Karen Prell as Spank
- Kevin Carlson as Joey
- Tyler Bunch as Bongo
- James Murray as Bongo (assistant)
- Executive producers: Brian Henson, Bill Barretta,
- Production designer: Andy Walmsley
- Character designer: Gene Barretta
- Directed by: Greg V. Fera
- Pilot #1 (filmed July 22, 2006 at 6:00pm)
- Guests: Kathy Najimy and Hal Sparks
- Pilot #2 (filmed July 22, 2006 at 8:30pm)
- Guests: Fred Willard and Kaitlin Olson
Del's Vegas Comedy Binge
Del's Vegas Comedy Binge was a series of webisodes produced in 2007 for TBS.com starring Delbert Kastle, as he explored The Comedy Festival in Las Vegas. The show was released on TBS.com in the last week of November 2007, and features appearances by Wayne Newton, Frank Caliendo, Bill Engvall and others.
- Day 1: Del gets inside The Comedy Festival, and meets up with Wayne Newton in the bathroom.
- Day 2: Frank Caliendo and Del practice their impressions.
- Day 3: Bill Engvall takes a seat right next to Del and talks about Blue Collar Comedy.
- Day 4: After four days of The Comedy Festival, Del's in need of a sandwich and explores Vegas' kitchens.
- Day 5: On the last day of The Comedy Festival, Del takes a trip down memory lane and explore the Vegas strip.
- Wallenstein, Andrew. "Jokes That Kermit Wouldn’t Dare Tell", The New York Times. November 12, 2006.