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Hello, Jack: The Kindness Show | Jack McBrayer Interview

Hello, Jack: The Kindness Show is hosted and created by the talented Jack McBrayer. In this interview we touch on the inspiration behind the series, and so much more.

hello jack jack mcbrayer interview

Jack McBrayer noticed something recently. The world is lacking kindness. Why? We aren’t exactly sure, but there is certainly a lack of children’s programming like Mr. Rogers Neighborhood and others that many adults now grew up watching, and he wanted to correct that. This is how Hello, Jack! The Kindness Show was born. 

This show is geared towards Preschoolers, however my 8 year old daughter really had a fun time with it as well. The best part about this show is that it does truly inspire simple acts of kindness, which in turn inspire other acts of kindness. Something this world truly needs more of.

hello jack jack mcbrayer interview

Jack McBrayer Interview

I love that Hello, Jack! really resonates with younger kids, but older kids as well.

I was very curious to hear how you responded to it. I was worried that it was going to be too babyish for maybe an eight year old.

She loved it. I’ll tell you the animal one, the furever home episode. She was just in. She’s a big animal person, like she wants to be a vet. So she loved that episode.

Oh, good, good, good, good. It takes a village to get a job like this made. Pet adoption was early pitch. And so we’re like, let’s do it.

I love that you included that. Because I think that’s such an important thing, too. And to start kids off young with adopting animals. Can you talk a little bit about working with all those animals?

Wranglers. They were not only very good at the job, but just very gentle people. Because we also had a bunch of children that were working also. And this was early in our production schedule. So in a way, we’re also still kind of getting to know each other.

But between everybody just being on top of their game, pros, and also just fun, adorable animals. We got something, especially when we had to have all the animals together. But the dog was very, very, very interested in the fuzzy rabbit. So we made sure we save some distance. Let us not traumatize children.

Can you talk a little bit about how the idea for this show came about?

Absolutely. It came from a very personal place just in my life. Where as I just started paying more attention to how people were treating each other. And I just can’t help but notice a lack of compassion and a lack of civility and a lack of kindness.

And so that got me thinking about some of the children’s programs that I grew up with, and how that was kind of my early inspiration and learning about these social emotional messages, these lessons of empathy and tolerance and patience and cooperation and all these positive things, and how they were instilled at a very early age.

And like, Ah, what a shame that we really don’t have too much of that programming happening right now. And, you know, based on how much I loved shows like Mr. Rogers Neighborhood from back in the day. I was like let me try a version of this. Let me see if I can invoke that spirit and that message. A Preschool show for 2020.

hello jack the kindness show interview

I think a lot of social media, I don’t know if it’s people just feel like they can type things behind a screen and nobody sees them. But we are lacking that, that just being nice to each other.

I agree. It feels like a lost art. But I’m curious to see if we can just help each other remind each other of the benefits of it. In a way I’m just like, well, what’s it gonna hurt to try?

It’s funny you mentioned Mr. Rogers. Within 10 minutes, I was like this feels different but it really reminds me of Mr. Rogers. I don’t know if it’s the whole like coming out of the house at the beginning or what but how big of an inspiration did that show have on Hello, Jack!?

Mr. Rogers Neighborhood was a huge inspiration for this show. When I would watch that program, that individual was speaking directly to me through the screen. And, you know, no matter what you felt about it, I felt that I was being seen and cared for and understood. And I wanted to really, truly capture that feeling for this show.

Now, I make no pretense I am no Fred Rogers, but I wanted to pay homage or really just borrow some of my favorite aspects of his show. Also, creatively, I was always a huge fan of animation and cartoons growing up.

Mr. Rogers had the land of make believe, which was an element of whimsy and fantasy. So I didn’t want to completely copy Mr. Rogers, but also I am drawn to animation so I wanted to use that as my version of whimsy and fantasy on this program.

I love the hummingbird. How the hummingbird always just kind of thrown out there as a theme. And it’s definitely something that I noticed, but I’m not sure if the kids noticed it. Maybe it’s just a subconscious thing for them. But can you talk about bringing in the hummingbird for that?

I am glad you brought that up because we’ve had so many conversations about the hummingbird. And how prevalent do we have to make it in every episode? My hope is that over the course of episodes, they will see the pattern of the hummingbird appearing, and they will finally start clicking that oh, it’s when an act of kindness occurs.

The hummingbird kind of became our unofficial mascot because I love hummingbirds. I’m staring at them right now. I have a feeder right outside my window. And I must be near a nesting place for them. They’re just wonders of science. They’re like little, they’re nature’s drones.

hello jack the kindness show interview

I know we sort of touched on it, but what takeaways do you hope that kids either consciously or subconsciously get from the show overall?

Well, there’s a couple things. One, I really do just want to demonstrate that it doesn’t take a huge amount of effort to do an act of kindness. It can be the tiniest gesture, or word or anything.

And so I would hope that when we see it as such an accessible thing, and so easy to do that it kind of becomes second nature for people and just baked into the day to day interactions with people.

And then also, I like the idea of the creativity that we use in finding kindness. It doesn’t just have to be making a card for our neighbor, it can be in any single thing.

One of the reasons I was so happy to call it Hello, Jack, the kind of show Hello, Jack is the really the most fundamental act of kindness that you can do a warm, sincere greeting to someone is the simplest thing.

Children are familiar with it. They have been the recipients of it and hopefully the givers of it. I really want them to just see how easy and accessible and fun it is. It’s cool to be kind.

Were there any challenges that the pandemic created trying to make this show?

Well, logistically, absolutely. We were actually able to benefit with having the time to write our episodes during most of 2020. And we can do that via zoom. Just technologically speaking, it was a little bit more easier.

We started filming production, the live action portion in February of 2021. And that, of course, did take a bit more passion. You know, fortunately, between Apple and the COVID team that we brought in, we got it done.

I’m personally quite proud as someone kind of in charge of this, that we got through it scot free, pretty seamlessly.

So were there challenges. Absolutely. Did we meet those challenges? Absolutely.

The last thing I want to talk about is I know that you guys have a kindness consultant on board. And can you talk about that?

Oh, happily. I’ll be honest, I’m pretty star struck by Doctor Junlei Li from Harvard. I happen to have been taking a deep dive as I worked on this project. I was going to conferences for Early Childhood Education and Development.

Dr. Li was a speaker at one of the conventions I went to in 2018. And I was just taken by him. I was just smitten by everything he had to say.

He had his entire audience captivated. Dr. Li was just so inspiring. I loved everything he had to say. He has been working with the Fred Rogers programming, all those programs, and so he was a tremendous asset for us.

A wonderful resource in looking at our scripts and talking to him about our stories, watching our episodes, he was just invaluable.

I honestly cannot say enough good things about Dr. Li. I mean, I’m star struck by this guy. I could just listen to him talk for hours. He’s very commanding in the gentlest way.

hello jack the kindness show poster

About Hello Jack! The Kindness Show

Jack is one of Clover Grove’s most thoughtful and caring residents, greeting everyone with kindness and humor. His ability to spread compassion, creativity, and imagination inspires everyone in town to do the same.

Hello Jack! The Kindness Show is streaming now on Apple TV+.