What the ‘David S Pumpkins’ Writers Learned From ‘Beetlejuice’

“SNL” scribes borrowed from Michael Keaton’s character to go all-in on Tom Hanks creation

David S. Pumpkins on 'SNL'
David S. Pumpkins on 'SNL'

Tom Hanks’ David S. Pumpkins “SNL” character returns this weekend for a new family-friendly animated Halloween special — any questions? TheWrap had plenty for writers Mikey Day and Streeter Seidell.

For starters, how much dialogue will the bizarre star of “Saturday Night Live’s” “Haunted Elevator” sketch have in his half-hour cartoon version? After all, the jack-o-lantern-suited freak really only said a few things in the original 2016 All Hallows’ Eve skit — and even those lines were mostly just Pumpkins speaking his own name.

“We had a rule that he could never speak more than three lines consecutively because he’s kind of annoying,” Seidell said of the upcoming NBC special. “Like, he’s an annoying dude.”

“We sort of applied a ‘Beetlejuice’-esque formula to it,” Day added. “Beetlejuice (Michael Keaton) isn’t in the ‘Beetlejuice’ film that much, but you definitely remember him and you don’t want to get sick of him.”

“Because he’s a lot,” “Wild ‘N Out” alum Day continued. “David Pumpkins is a lot. If he’s at your party, he’s a lot to take in. So we tried to carefully weigh out doses of putting him in there.”

“It’s also just not funny if in the original sketch, he [was] behind every door, talking the whole time,” Seidell said. “You need a break from it.”

Still, “He’s in there a good amount,” Seidell promised of this weekend’s 11:30 p.m. premiere, which will include a live-action, in-character intro from Hanks’ Pumpkins.

Yes, 11:30, just like “SNL” — but keep your kids up, Day and Seidell say. After all, watching kids respond to the original viral sketch online is what inspired their cartoon special, “which makes sense, because it’s not really a cerebral sketch,” Day said of reaching the unusual (for late-night) demo.

“All ages can enjoy a loud crazy man and dancing skeletons,” he added.

“We both have kids, and they act like David Pumpkins,” Seidell explained, citing a child’s fancy for weirdly dancing in the middle of a room, making oddball faces and loudly saying their own name on repeat.

Set in a small suburban town, the special centers on David S. Pumpkins and his skeleton sidekicks who show a young boy and his sister the true meaning of Halloween, answering none of their questions along the way.

Bento Box Entertainment will provide the animation. Day, Seidell and Bobby Moynihan will write and produce. Lorne Michaels and his Broadway Video will executive produce.

Watch the original “Haunted Elevator” sketch above.

“The David S. Pumpkins Halloween Special” airs Saturday at 11:30 p.m. on NBC. An hour re-running the best “SNL” Halloween sketches throughout the years will follow.