I became friends with comedian Nick Kroll back in high school through my buddy Andrew Goldberg. He was always a hilarious kid, cracking jokes and living it up. Currently, his voice can be heard co-starring in the new HBO animated series The Life and Times of Tim (which he also writes for), and you might have seen him making witty remarks about your favorite celebrities on Best Week Ever. But that’s not all Nick’s got going for him. He’s working on a new animated project, and continues to develop his stand-up act and various live stage and web shows, which include all sorts of crazy characters (see pic above LOL). Check out this exclusive Westcheddar interview with Rye, New York’s own comedy sensation…
IP: So Nick, you looked alot like McLovin from Superbad back in high school, you know, a skinny kid with glasses. Any similarities to him other than the striking resemblance? Ever hang out with cops or bang chicks at parties back in the day? Did you have a fake ID?
NK: Its so funny to think that I looked like McLovin growing up. I had no idea that’s what I looked like. I had a very different sense of how the world saw me. I hung out with cops when I was six when I took a self defense karate class with a bunch of Rye cops. They would break cinderblocks with their head and I would rush to the bathroom to unsuccessfully take my karate pants off before having some good ol’ kid diarrhea. I did have a fake ID, it was my brothers and said I was 25. The fact that it ever worked still amazes me.
IP: My bad dude. I didn’t mean the McLovin comparison as a diss. You were the man back in the day. Very handsome…
NK: I appreciate it. I know who I was and what I am…Luke Perry from Beverly Hills 90210!!
IP: Ha! You were in an improv group at Georgetown University. Tell us about that. Your shows used to be packed when I would come see you perform.
NK: Being in G-PIG (Georgetown Players Improv Group) was the best thing I got out of college. I had never done sketch or improv comedy before and it opened my eyes to the possibility of saying whatever I wanted however I wanted. It definitely gave me the confidence and experience to pursue a career in comedy. I also met a bunch of people I’m still close friends with and regularly collaborate with: Mike Birbiglia, John Mulaney, Ed Herro, Brian Donovan, Jacqueline Novak, Conrad Mulcahy, Alison Becker and a few others. I only mention their names so it will come up in their google alerts and they’ll be mildly happy that I name checked them. They’re all doing quite well in the biz of show and it’s amazing that we all used to sit in classrooms, rehearsing ridiculous scenes for no one’s amusement but ourselves.
IP: The first time I ever saw you on TV was in a commercial for American Express where you played Andy Roddick’s “mojo”, and then shortly after that you were in a very well known Verizon commercial. How did you get those gigs?
NK: I auditioned for these and all other commercials I’ve had the genuine pleasure of being in. The AMEX campaign was an amazing experience because it was the first time that I was a part of something quite big in scale. They closed down blocks on Park Ave and the Brooklyn Bridge to film sequences. And then Roddick lost in the first round. It was an amazingly bizarre turn of events. The Verizon commercial was super cool because we flew down to Argentina to shoot it. Got to hang out with the Verizon guy and see that he was an actual human being.
IP: How often were you recognized on the street during the time those commercials aired? I mean, they were on all the time.
NK: I’m almost never recognized on the street for anything I’ve done over the years. Mojo for sure, because they dyed my hair blonde and i was wearing a cowboy hat.
IP: Were you in any other commercials I might not have seen?
NK: I did a few other fun spots along the way. A really fun one was with Anderson Cooper for CNN.com. I think its on youtube somewhere. He was very pleasant, good comedic timing and very cool to me even though I was a little green when I shot it. There’s a fun FEDEX spot out there too. I got to play a guy named Barry which has always been a dream.
IP: Being on Best Week Ever must be fun, popping wisecracks at the expense of the rich and famous. Any one in particular you really enjoy making fun of?
NK: I don’t really enjoy making fun of people who are famous because of something impressive they’ve done, like being quality actors or athletes. I much prefer making fun of people who are famous for the sake of being famous like people who lack discernible skills like reality show personalities or president elect Obama.
IP: Ha! OK, describe your personal dream Best Week Ever. What would you do?
NK: Eat fried chicken all day, every day.
IP: That Cavemen show you were in was off the air before I ever even got to see it. Was it any good?
NK: I thought Cavemen had some very funny moments. It was an experiment that had its ups and downs but I think for the people who actually watched the show, it provided some good, quality laughs. We shot 12 epsiodes and they aired 6 or 7 of them. They definitely got better as the show progressed. It was my first job in TV and I felt lucky to have it. The makeup took four hours every morning so I was not unhappy that it didn’t last 6 seasons.
IP: You’ve done some straight stand up comedy in your day. How does that compare to your other comedic work?
NK: I honestly love it all. The character stuff, sketch, videos. I fucking love comedy. I’ve been doing more and more standup recently, crafting an act, tweaking, adding bits, taking stuff out. I’m finding a lot of joy in making small changes. It’s like writing a song or a poem, you wanna get that shit to its essence.
IP: Ever bombed horribly?
NK: Bombed many a time. Makes you stronger. Never fun, though.
IP: You’re a voice actor on the new HBO animated series The Life and Times of Tim. I caught an episode of it last week, it was pretty funny. Your character is kind of a dork on the show though, what’s up with that?
NK: Its a blast. I encourage you to go back and watch the show on demand or whatevs. I play Stu and he’s a little less attractive than me both physically and emotionally. I try to love and simultaneously despise all the characters I play. The response from people about the show has been really, really awesome.
IP: Maybe dork isn’t the right adjective for Stu. I gotta check out some more episodes. Glad it’s getting a good response. I’ve heard a few friends talking it up recently. Anyway, you write for the show too, right? How did that all come about?
NK: The show has a strong improvisational side and I found that myself and Steve Dildarian, the super funny gent who created the show, got a long quite well comedically. Steve was nice enough to ask me to come in a bunch of times to help come up with episode ideas. One in particular is where my character Stu, Tim and Marie the HR lady have a terrible threesome. Classy stuff.
IP: Do you like doing just the voice stuff or is this just another stepping stone towards a bigger goal? What’s your dream gig? Your own show? Movie roles? A writer behind the scenes?
NK: I want to do it all. Write, act, maybe direct. Im really enjoying animation right now. I’m also voicing a character on a FOX show coming out in April called Sit Down, Shut Up, created by Mitch Hurwitz who also created Arrested Development. Josh Weinstein, who ran The Simpsons for many years, is running the show and the cast is ridiculous: Jason Bateman, WIll Arnett, Cheri Oteri, Keenan Thompson, Will Forte, Tom Kenney, Henry Winkler. It’s so much fucking fun.
IP: Sounds sick. You once played a Scandinavian Meth addict at one of my rap concerts at Joe’s Pub, doing bits in the opening of the show and in between sets. What was his name again?
NK: Ah yes, Yorgen Burnsen. Haven’t done him in quite some time. He was the fifth member of Ace of Base who was kicked out for being addicted to Meth. A real class act.
IP: You should bring him back out. As I recall he was a crowd favorite. What else do you have cooking right now with your comedic career?
NK: My friend Rob Corddry (watch out google alerts: Rob Corddry!!) wrote, directed, and stars in a hilarious web series called Children’s Hospital which is a parody of Grey’s Anatomy and all those shows. I play a 6 year old with aging disease. That series is gonna be hilarious.
IP: You’re living in L.A. now right? What do you miss most about New York?
NK: I miss so much about NYC. Mainly my family and friends who are all basically here. I miss classy NYC ladies. They are as beautiful as actresses or models but they’re teachers or social workers or artists. Getting a bone just thinking about them.
IP: How are the women in L.A. treating you? Do comedians have groupies?
NK: We dont really have groupies and i’m just fine with that.
THANKS NICK!!!! HERE’S A COUPLE BONUS CLIPS…
Nick Kroll “Drunk Packing”
Keep your eyes glued to the boob tube for Nick Kroll, and if you missed it, check out his buddy Andrew Goldberg’s interview with Westcheddar here…