Interview: Nick Kroll Talks "Kroll Show," Alter Egos, Flops, and Putting in Work

Interview: Nick Kroll Talks "Kroll Show," Alter Egos, Flops, and Putting in WorkPhotography by Chris Shonting

The star of Kroll Show and The League talks alter egos, flops, and putting in work.

This feature appears in Complex's February/March 2013 issue.

As told to Justin Monroe (@40yardsplash)

USE YOUR FRIENDS.
Part of making art is learning how you make it best. I’m not great at sitting down at a desk and writing for three hours. I write best verbally, talking through an idea with people, so I do my best work when I collaborate. I have so many funny friends that I hang out and do bits with, and the fact that we can hire each other is amazing. I asked all of them to help make Kroll Show the best that it can be. I’m selfishly trying to use their funny genius for my own benefit.

BE YOURSELF.
Once I start doing a character for a show it feels like cheating to do it in real life. I’m comfortable being myself and I don’t want to be one of those comedians who does his characters, even though they come out of my life. I developed Bobby Bottleservice to talk to pretty girls, like, “Hey, I can talk to you like these assholes talk to you and we’re both in on this joke that they’re ridiculous.” Girls respond to Bobby because they’ve dealt with that dude a million times.

GET EXPERIENCE.
You have to have a first job to learn how to act, do interviews, pose for photo shoots, and negotiate how you’ll say lines with writers. My first network show, Cavemen, just happened to be one that was culturally reviled. It wasn’t great, but it wasn’t bad either. It was no better or worse than 95 percent of the stuff that ends up on network television. I’m thrilled that it did not last, but that has more to do with the logistics of putting on four hours of makeup everyday.

TAKE YOUR TIME.
Some people pop quickly, but most of the comedians I admire didn’t become famous and successful at 24. I feel lucky that Kroll Show is happening at this moment because I had a number of years doing stand-up, writing, making web videos, learning how to do what I do on camera, and meeting the right people, which is almost more important. You slowly amass the skill set and the collaborative group of people to make something that feels like it can last.

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