Counting Sheep With Bobby Moynihan

by Jennifer Clare

People count sheep to fall asleep. But … why sheep? For Bobby Moynihan, a moment with his daughter had him wondering the same thing. “I realized sheep are VERY boring,” he says.

Luckily, the former Saturday Night Live star’s delightful new picture book, Not All Sheep Are Boring!, proves that sheep don’t have to be dull. They can be silly, secretive, coffee addicts, pickle lovers, and so much more!

We caught up with Moynihan to talk about his new book, bedtime, and the book character he’d love to voice.

Brightly: Reframing the idea of counting sheep is so clever! Did the idea arrive from a moment in your childhood? Or a moment with your daughter?

Bobby Moynihan: A moment with my daughter before bed. Counting sheep was not something I really did as a kid, so when my daughter brought it up I was surprised. It made me start to think, “Why sheep?” And then I realized sheep are VERY boring. Well, some. Not all. Hence the title.

Walk us through your daughter’s bedtime routine. When not counting not-boring sheep, how do you help her wind down for the night?

Bath and clean up time. Brushing teeth time. Reading time. Get too loud with Dada and have to start calming down time. 10 minutes of giggling. Dead asleep out of nowhere.

What about yourself?

I haven’t slept in 16 years.

The sheep are so fun and Julie Rowan-Zoch’s adorably, goofy illustrations make them that much more lovable! Do you have a favorite?

I have many! They change. Right now [my favorites are] Julie, Alice, Mike H, Quinn, and Pierre. Ask me again in a week. Julie Rowan-Zoch is super talented and knocked it out of the park.


You’ve been the voice for several animated kids’ characters for film and TV. If you could voice one children’s book character, who would it be?

Easy. Lowly Worm in Richard Scarry’s Please and Thank You Book.

Or … the Toad Boy in Not All Sheep Are Boring! I know the author. He’s fun and kind.

I love the way you write comedy that appeals to adults, and I’m wondering if you could talk a little bit about how that differs from what kids may find funny. I have a feeling that’s not an easy thing to do — to find that in-between that appeals to both — but I’m curious about what your process is like!

Thanks! Kids are smart and they WILL tell you “that’s not funny.” Even if they are wrong! I think growing up on the Muppets set that tone in my head where it’s technically for kids but adults love it too. No one is talking down to anyone. I like to live in that world.