Nick Kroll on standup, sketch comedy, and solving crimes

Nick Kroll on standup, sketch comedy, and solving crimes

To some he's Ruxin, the morally corrupt fantasy football titan from the FX comedy The League. To others, he's everyone's favorite nightclub connoisseur (and viral video superstar), Bobby Bottleservice. And to many more, he's "that funny guy with the glasses" from VH1's Best Week Ever. Regardless of how you know him, Nick Kroll is one of the hottest names in comedy today. 

This January, he'll take the next step towards greater stardom with his own sketch show, Kroll Show, on Comedy Central. To promote it, Kroll is headed to town this week for his first-ever Twin Cities performance at Mill City Nights, where he'll be doing standup and providing a sneak peek with some clips from the program. Before his arrival, the comedian took a few minutes to chat with City Pages about the new show, RG3, and solving crimes.

Thanks so much for taking time out to talk with me.

Yeah, not a problem. I'm actually on a train right now. I'm solving crimes as I go; multi-tasking.

That's impressive. Speaking of multi-tasking, you're going to be showing clips from your new TV show during your standup set. Are you worried about breaking up the momentum of the show?

Honestly, I'm not really sure. I haven't even come up with anything yet. I'm figuring it out still. Most standups like to build a story throughout their set, but I'm kind of lazy. I'll do some of my set, then show 10 minutes of the show, then do more of my act. Even the best standups wish they could get a break in the middle of their set sometimes, so we'll see how that goes.

Your standup special from last year, Thank You Very Cool, was a combination of just straight standup and characters. Is this going to be anything like that?

The character stuff will all be in the clips. My live act is just standup, although some of the material I do will likely end up in the show one way or another.

Are you planning to use your established characters on the show? 

It'll be a mix of stuff I've done before -- like Bobby Bottleservice, El Chupacabra, maybe a little Fabrice -- and new stuff. We've got such an incredible writing staff for the show that we had a lot to choose from. If it was making us laugh when we wrote it we used it, but we didn't feel like I had to do the same characters. Some people know those characters from stuff I've done online or podcasts, but it's not like they're so well-known that I'm obligated to use them, you know?

Have you seen more people coming to your shows because of the popularity of The League? And do they expect you to be a little more like Ruxin in your standup?

The great thing about comedy today is that it's so accessible online. So when people see me on The League and think, 'That guy who plays Ruxin is funny,' and then search for me, they find other stuff I've done like podcasts or standup. Same goes for people who've seen me on shows like Children's Hospital or on podcasts. As for Ruxin, there's definitely a lot of that character in me, so it comes out in my standup.

You've worked with lots of guest stars on The League. Now that you've got your own show coming out, is there any guest you'd like to get? 

I've had the chance to work with some really cool people on The League. Jeff Goldblum was great, RG3 [Robert Griffin III, quarterback for the Washington Redskins] was actually someone I was really impressed with. But on the new show, I'm working with so many really hilariously funny people who are also my friends that I don't really know if I'm worried about guests. 

With so many things going on in your career, do you ever worry about running out of material?

I feel very lucky I get do so many different things. If you would have told me 10 years ago that I'd get to do any one of these things I would have been ecstatic. As for material, I get bored of doing the same jokes and the same stuff over and over, and I need to make myself laugh. Whether it's the show or standup, I'm happy I have the opportunity to do that.


Nick Kroll
Mill City Nights
111 Fifth St. N., Minneapolis
Thursday, December 13
7 p.m. doors
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Mill City Nights

111 N. 5th St.
Minneapolis, MN 55403


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