Broken Lizard is the infamous comedy troupe that brought us movies such as Beerfest, Super Troopers, and Slammin' Salmon. This interview took place late 2009 when they performed in Austin, TX.
BL31: So to start us off, where did it all begin?
Broken Lizard: We all went to school together, at Colgate University, and we all knew each other from different things. And Jay got kinda harrased about putting together some kind of stage show”. He kept blowing it off and then decided, “Aw, I’ll do a comedy show instead. And so he just called us up, there were a bunch of us, about 10 in the group then, and we just did live sketch comedy at Colgate. Then we graduated and it just whittled down to the five of us. So we moved to New York City, where we did sketches and movies, and the rest is history.
BL31: You obviously have had a lot of experience in almost all forms of performance. So I have to ask what do ya’ll prefer live performance or filming a movie?
Broken Lizard: I think their both fun, we started doing live comedy in NYC once we got out of school, and then started writing short films and then doing features. It’s great getting the immediate response from the live audience but seeing the film is lasting, the ability to show to your children and grandchildren. I don’t have any children, I pretend I have grandkids out there, I somehow skipped a generation.
BL31: Ha ha nice, so I have to ask how did the name broken Lizard come about?
Broken Lizard: We spent 3 days trying to come up with the name, so we came up with 4 Whities and an Injun, the Chocolate Speedo Bikini Team, and then I went to make the poster and I randomly changed it to Broken Lizard. And unfortunately there’s other story related to that.
BL31: Where do you draw inspiration?
Broken Lizard: Well the first thing you have to consider is an area where you can have 5 lead guys at the same time, so you’ll see we do movies about cops, or spacemen, mobsters, but that’s all you can do. But things will come out of hypotheticals. In Super Troopers, we have the bear fucking, and that came from. But we went on a lot of road trips together, when a lot our friends were getting married we hit the road and hit the marriage circuit and attending everyone’s wedding, and we would ask ourselves the hypotheticals, “what would you do if you saw a man having sex with a bear by the side of the road?” and that pretty much lead to the bear fucking scene. So things like that, abstract ideas. The new movie Slammin’ Salmon is not entirely my life, but my character’s story is based off my waiting tables experience, where I thought we had made it big, and I threw my apron down in a blaze of glory and told everyone to piss off and stormed out the door, only to return one year later to with my tail between my legs. And all the waiters there gave me the slow clap as I walked in the door.
BL31: What do each of you bring to the writing process?
Broken Lizard: We do bring a little something to the table. Paul is our oddly timely comedy guy. You know he’s influenced by laurel and Hardy, Abbott and Costello. Put a long ladder in Paul’s hands and he will turn 180 degrees and you will have to duck. Pie in the face. He loves it. We think Eric communicates best with the heart of America. He is our wholesome moral majority fellow, until you get him on live radio and then he swears like a sailor. Kevin, every group requires a fellow who has the appearance of a … how do you say, handsomeness, success is the way I like to put it. And Jay, well… he does nothing.
BL31: Can you describe the Broken Lizard comedy show experience…
Broken Lizard: Well we’re going around doing this live tour, and each show we do some original sketches we’ve written, each guy does like 10 minutes of standup, and then we also do sketches involving characters from our movies from the past that people know and love. Super Troopers, Beerfest, and we do a little audience participation, so there’s a little bit of everything. And then we show a clip from our new movie, The Slammin Salmon, to get people all excited about it.
BL31: So what future projects are in store for ya’ll ?
Broken Lizard: We’ve got the Slammin’ Salmon coming out December 11th, and it’s going to open right here in Austin. And some of the guys here will be here that weekend, doing different events and stuff like that. So people should come out and check it out. Other than that we’re doing a lot of writing. We’ve got a script write now where we actually play college professors who are in a little bit of a fight with some of our students. Taking advantage of some students, in a good way. It’s called Rouge Scholars, so hopefully we’ll finish writing that and shoot it next year. We’ve also got a line of perfume coming out, it’s called broken lizard, we call it coco 5, it’s delicious. And that’s about it.