The Real Blue Man Group Was Horrified at How the ‘Arrested Development’ Cast Did Their Makeup

They blue the cast a little too much
The Real Blue Man Group Was Horrified at How the ‘Arrested Development’ Cast Did Their Makeup

One of the funniest storylines in all three seasons of Arrested Development (it was just the three seasons, right?) was when Tobias Fünke attempted to join the Blue Man Group, after encountering the mute performance artists while searching for a “support group for depressed men.” And really, is there any funnier line in the entire show than “I’m afraid I just blue myself”?

The man behind (or inside of) Tobias, David Cross, once revealed that donning the blue makeup for these scenes was “a huge pain in the ass” — although this revelation was slightly overshadowed by his story about doing cocaine at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, which came up in the same interview. “It took a long time to get completely made up, and then you couldn’t touch anything,” Cross told Playboy. “The paint is fairly greasy, and if you touched anything at all, even just a finger to your nose, it’d smudge and you’d have to go back to makeup. So I’d be sitting there for hours, trying not to touch anything.”

Worse, once the blue-ness was applied, it was tough to get off. “At the end of the day I’d have to take a minimum of two showers and quite often three before I’d get it all off and could go to bed. There was no jerking off without serious colorful repercussions,” Cross disclosed. Although his struggles still seem less onerous compared to what Tobias went through.

Cross later discovered that he endured blue hell for nothing. In the third season, George Sr. ends up joining the Blue Man Group while he’s on the run from the law. This scene required the participation of the actual Blue Man Group, and when they showed up to the set, they were horrified at how the Arrested Development team applied their signature blue makeup. 

Per Cross, as Jeffrey Tambor was being prepped for the scene, getting a coating of blue paint all over his body, the real Blue Men interjected, “No, no, no. What are you doing? We don’t do it that way.” That’s because they “wear a big blue unitard with an oval opening for the face, and their face is the only part they actually paint blue.” 

Cross conceded that this “makes sense if you think about it,” adding, “I wish I had fucking known that two years earlier. It would’ve saved me a lot of misery.”

But even though they use less of it, the blue paint can still be very annoying, as one Blue Man Group member admitted in an interview. When asked about Tobias’ habit of leaving blue smudges wherever he goes, veteran performer Russell Rinker said that the paint “does get everywhere. But we’re diligent about getting it off, otherwise you just brush up against something and it’s, ‘Oh, man!’” 

He even said that “sometimes you wake up in the morning and the little things in the corner of your eyes are blue.”

So despite over-estimating the amount of blue makeup that’s required, Tobias’ struggles were fairly true to the Blue Man Group experience. 

I’m guessing that the show was slightly less accurate in its portrayal of the never-nude community.

You (yes, you) should follow JM on Twitter (if it still exists by the time you’re reading this).


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