Nick Kroll: Character assassination

By | January 27, 2011 at 10:28 pm | One comment | Features | Tags: , , ,

Nick KrollNick Kroll is a master at taking a stereotype, exaggerating it to the end of the Earth, and transforming it into characters that dynamically stand on their own as individual voices and points of view. He is an engineer designing ultimate vehicles of comedy. This weekend, Kroll is pooling together his self-created band of comedy misfits to give the world one hour of the best he has to offer. He did not miss the mark.

Kroll is a regular on ever-growing comedy podcast circuit, can be seen in some of the funniest videos Funny or Die has to offer, and costars in the hit FX show The League. His first one hour special Nick Kroll: Thank You Very Cool airs on Comedy Central Jan. 29 at 10 pm EST.

We caught up with Nick recently while he was away at the Sundance Film Festival to chat about ‘Thank You Very Cool,’ his panache for creating personalities and a bit more. Check it out.

How many of these calls have you done today so far?
You’re the second one. I’m eating a terrible BBQ chicken sandwich at a sports bar in Sundance.

Are you there promoting ‘Thank You Very Cool’ or is there another project in the works?
No, I’m here as arm candy to my girlfriend. I’m just a pretty face here. This is my weekend off from promotion. I get back at it starting tomorrow night when I take the red eye to do the appearance at The Hundreds store in New York, and then Vegas.

That’s right. I just saw on Twitter a few minutes ago that Bobby Bottleservice is going to be hosting a party at the Palm Casino in Vegas. Is that flier for real?
Totally real. Like, it’s FUCKING real. They made that flier. It’s all really happening.

Do you think they’re in on the gag here or is there maybe some hotel exec over there who thought they were getting a legitimate ‘Jersey Shore’ personality?
I think some of them are in on it, but to be honest, I don’t really care – and I don’t mean that in a bad way. Hang on, I’m going to find a place where I can talk a little bit clearer. . .

(a few shuffling sounds later)

Sorry about that. I just got an influx of people who are in movies being loud and I just wanted to walk away from them.
Nick Kroll – The Texties

Ugh. . . assholes. So you’re hosting a real party at a real Vegas club as Bobby Bottleservice?
I think most of the people know what they’re getting. All you have to do is Google ‘Bobby Bottleservice’ and see the videos and get a taste of what’s going on. What I like is that I am not trying to trick anybody, you know what I mean? That’s not the game plan. But for that night I will be Bobby Bottleservice. It’s a dream come true.

I caught a glimpse of you as Chupacabra backstage at Bumbershoot this past September and it was the first time during that entire festival that I had legitimately felt star struck. You’ve turned these characters into comedy celebrities.
That’s very kind of you to say. The goal is that they all exist in their own realms and that they have their own fan bases and some people like one of them more than the other and I just really enjoy doing all of them. They all bring out different aspects of what I like to do.

Would it be fair to say that you sort of “hide behind” these characters to some extent? Or are they just all for fun?
They’re all super fun and I think represent different aspects of my personality – I feel really cheesy saying it – but I don’t really think about it that way. Fabrice is sort of me filter-less. Bobby is sort of the most masculine and also emotionally tapped in. Chupacabra is sort of the most insane of the crew. I don’t know that they’re really all facets of my personality more than they are just archetypes that I find really funny. Whether it’s the liberal racist, the super honest sort of gay bully, the emotionally honest-sleeved braggardly guido – all these guys are just sort of interesting folks to me. I just find them funny.

Sometimes I hear you do Chupacabra on a podcast and am impressed at how well you speak Spanish but then I’ll listen again and wonder if maybe you just fake Spanish really well. Do you speak Spanish?
I do. I spent time in various Spanish speaking countries over the years and Chupacabra has evolved from where he used to be an archetype stand-up and then all of a sudden I realized he could be a Latin DJ. From living in LA and New York, there are so many of those stations, so it’s great to always be listening to them and learning more about the way they talk and sound, and the characters they’ll do. But yeah, I do speak Spanish, although I’m probably not as fluent anymore as I used to be. I have a great affinity for the Latin culture.

Very interesting, Nick Kroll.
(laughs) I don’t what’s interesting at this point and I don’t how honest or withholding to be for these interviews.
Even though there are all these characters and then my stand-up which is more personal, it’s all really just me saying ‘Here’s what I’ve been doing.’ It’s not me doing a spot-on someone else’s show, I’m not just doing a video for the web from one of my characters’ perspectives. Here’s just all the things that I think are funny.

On the new hour for Comedy Central, I really enjoyed all the segments and cut-aways to commercial where your characters sort of carried on a storyline within the special in between your stand-up.
The goal was to do something that encapsulated all the different things I do and at the same time hopefully be something that would be new for people to see. The pitch we gave Comedy Central was that it would be like a one man Muppet Show. Where you see onstage and behind the camera. I think the idea is that hopefully all of these voices add up to one voice and that you see all these perspectives of one evening and in doing so, you sort of tell the story of one evening from different points of view. Also, to have John Mulaney, Mindy Kaling, Lake Bell and Brandon Johnson all in the videos was just awesome. They’re all people that I like and respect.
Exclusive – Fabrice Fabrice – Question and Answer

That’s right, there were a lot of surprise guests in there – I remember seeing Chelsea Peretti in the opening as well.
Yeah, she was in there, too. Mulaney and I went to Georgetown together, Chelsea and I came up together doing open mics in New York, Mindy has become a friend over the last few years, and Lake is my girlfriend, and in the green room in the background are all my managers and agents. I just feel like these specials are a time capsule and to be able to have these people with me sort of makes it even more personal and special for me.

Well, job well done.
Thank you.

For more info on Nick, check out

About the Author

Chase Roper

Chase Roper is the Internet’s only comedy writing, podcasting, stay at home dad (maybe). His comedic sensibility has been described as bitingly sarcastic. He’s not sure if he agrees with that but is pretty sure that “bitingly” isn’t a real word. You can check out his show, The Stay at Home Dadcast on iTunes and Stitcher Radio.

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