Nick Kroll is a shooting star. From the stage to television to film, he is well on his way to the top of Hollywood. While he does have some serious acting chops and a few dramatic roles, for the sake of being true to Comics Alive! we will stick strictly to comedy.
I first became a fan of Nick when he played Ruxin on The League, a semi-scripted and beautifully ad-libbed show about a group of friends in a fantasy football league. Don’t get too excited though, it’s an 8-man league (childs play!). Ruxin, a sharp witted corporate attorney with a penchant for tinkering with his lineup and accusing the world of collusion, was just a minor deviation from the real Nick Kroll in comparison to some of the other eccentric roles he’s played.
Sketch comedy has never seen such interconnected characters and story lines.
A litany of oddball personas showed Kroll’s range as a diverse and dynamic actor that can submerge himself into any character, bring them to life, and even make you love the most ridiculous of them. His creations include the super douche ghost bouncer, Bobby Bottleservice, Liz, the obnoxious yet somehow likable publicist and co-owner of PubLIZity, Ref Jeff who’s just looking to lock down some plans, shy Mikey from Wheels, Ontario, and so many more.
Accompanied by other great comedic actors such as John Mulaney, Jenny Slate, Jason Mantzoukas, and Jon Daly just to name a few, Kroll Show was three seasons of evolving storylines and character development. When it ended, I can’t say I wasn’t disappointed, but little did I know that Nick was just getting warmed up.
Performing live as a stand-up or even a single character can be challenging, but for Nick Kroll the challenge was accepted and then blown out of the water. Thank You Very Cool was Nick’s take on the stand-up comedy special. However, instead of simply stepping out on stage and telling jokes, he performed as four different characters from Kroll Show as well as himself. The special was breathtakingly hilarious and the way he was able to slip into character and never falter was truly impressive.
Two very lovable Kroll Show characters, Gil Faizon and George St. Geegland (charmed I sure) saw their own success with a live spin-off called Oh, Hello on Broadway. The show is no longer active but one performance featuring Steve Martin, which aired on Netflix, was perfectly imperfect. The scripted performance was only heightened by the peppering of improvisation, and the success and acclaim it received solidified Nick Kroll and John Mulaney as a comedy duo that many future funnymen and women will study and aspire to.
I can’t say enough good things about this show. It’s possibly the funniest thing on TV today (Netflix actually).
The animated story of Nick Birch and best friend Andrew Glouberman loosely chronicles Nick and real life friend and co-creator, Andrew Goldberg’s childhood and adolescence. Along with a slew of characters, the show visits everything teens and pre-teens go through from puberty and sexual urges to drug and alcohol use.
Big Mouth is more relevant than any other show or anything to do with what it’s like to grow up as a normal middle class kid. It takes all the quirks, awkwardness, and emotions and personifies them using characters like Maurice, the Hormone Monster. The approach provides a coherent and relatable representation of exactly what goes on in the minds of adolescents without having to resort to voice overs or odd gimmicks.
I recommend everyone with kids watch Big Mouth and talk to them about what they may be going through. If you don’t have kids, watch it anyway. You can thank me later!
Cheers to Nick Kroll, all the laughs, and to a long and prosperous career in comedy.
Big Mouth can be found on Netflix
Thank You Very Cool can be found on Crave
Kroll Show is available on Crave and iTunes
Check out this funny clip of Nick talking about his experience at Burning Man on the Joe Rogan Experience: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5kIzzj03cRI
Full Episode of Nick on JRE: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IEKvPzZLq7A&t=5998s