Nick Kroll once told us that he originally wanted his Comedy Central show to be called "The Nick Show Kroll," but his people warned him that everyone would think that name was a typo.
Now that "Kroll Show" is entering its second season with such illustrious guest stars such as Zach Galifianakis, Katy Perry, Seth Rogen, Amy Poehler, Bill Burr, Chelsea Peretti and Will Forte, it's probably a good thing that he took their advice.
We recently had a chance to speak with Kroll over the phone about what's next for his sketch show that makes fun of everything from "Rich D*cks," plastic surgeons, tuna-loving New Yorkers and those oh-so-helpful publicity people, like "Liz" here:
HuffPost Comedy: First of all, season 2 opens with a super dramatic, “Cake Train” scene that is pretty mind-blowing. How exactly did that come about?
Nick Kroll: That was a Chelsea Peretti idea that she had pitched on the pilot, and none of us quite understood what it was but we all loved the idea of it. We couldn’t make it on the pilot or season 1 because it was so expensive, so it sort of spiraled into season 2 and we were like, “The priority of this season is to get Cake Train made.” All I wanted was to get Zach Galifianakis to throw cakes off a train. So we shot little pieces throughout the season and then we rented the train, which is one of the most expensive things we’ve done on the show by far, and we did it. Zach Galifanakis throws cakes off the train.
HPC: “Rich Dicks," as well as "Publizity" and others, seem really inspired by funny L.A. stereotypes. Is parodying L.A. characters something you get a lot of joy out of?
NK: You know, I’ve met rich dicks all over this great nation, really all over the world. That’s the beauty of them. They travel. They travel well. So we shoot in L.A., but these kinds of people are everywhere. Like, people often associate Bobby Bottleservice with the Jersey Shore, but whether you live in Detroit or Southern California or Chicago or New York, there are Bobby Bottleservices everywhere. Rich Dicks are in L.A., but also Miami, New York, Grosse Pointe, MI, Dallas, Scottsdale, AZ... That’s the beauty of capitalism. There are entitled assholes everywhere.
HPC: So what’s Bobby Bottleservice up to this season?
NK: He and Peter go even broker than they’ve been and become very much reluctant gigolos. We see them begin the process of becoming gigolos, like taking on a gigolo mentor played by Peter Gallagher. Then they meet Jason Manstouzas, who invites them to come live in his “gigolo house.” But Bobby also has a real roller coaster, on-again off-again love affair with Carly, played by Chelsea Peretti. It’s a real will-they-or-will-they-very-much-not relationship.
HPC: Are we going to see much of Fabrice Fabrice?
NK: You know, I’m trying to remember if he made it this season. We shot most of the Fabrice stuff on like day 50 of production and I think I may have lost a little bit of steam. Fabrice might not have been given the time and care he desires and he’s furious with me about it. I’ve gotten a lot of nasty texts and a lot of nasty myspace comments from Fabrice.
HPC: Something I’ve always wondered about Fabrice is his backstory. How did he get so fabulous and then decide to go into craft services?
NK: You know, he’s a hustler. Like a lot of people we know, he has consistently worked his way up the food chain even though he gets fired from every job he’s at. But he’s so demanding and persistent that he keeps getting hired.
HPC: One of our favorite characters, Dr. Armand, has a real “Dr. Zizmor” thing going on. Was he the main inspiration?
NK: Yeah, early on he definitely had a Zizmor thing going on, when I was building him. It was like half Zizmor, half those therapists you’d see on like, “Breaking Bonaducci,” those sort of weird, expressionless plastic surgery face dudes who get on reality shows. But he’s really taken on a life of his own. He goes on trial for murder this year, and after we finished the season I was in the airport watching CNN and there was this doctor who was convicted of murdering his wife… And I was watching the news coverage of it and the way they were describing him -- “Stone-faced” -- it makes him literally ripped straight from the headlines. I won’t say whether he’s convicted or not, but that was pretty surreal to watch.
HPC: I love the dynamic between him and his son, played by Andy Milonakis.
NK: Yeah, he’s so funny on the show. And this year, Bill Burr is playing the detective who’s on the case. He sort of has a personal vendetta against Armand. And Jenny Slate, in addition to playing Liz in Publizity and also Liz’s niece Denise, plays the prosecutor in the trial named “Ruth Diamond Philips.”
HPC: Bill Burr makes so much sense as a detective. In an alternate world, he would make a great cop.
NK: Yeah, he’s perfect. He’s so funny and a really good actor.
HPC: When I saw him I kept thinking about Louis C.K. playing a cop on “Parks and Recreation.” Now I want to see a buddy, red-headed cop show with him and Bill Burr.
NK: There’s just something about Bill playing a hot-headed detective in a slightly worn suit... If he ever wants to stop doing comedy and just get hired to do like, “Law & Order,” he’d be great. We’ll just “Belzer” him up.
HPC: Katy Perry makes a cameo this season. What can you tell us about that?
NK: It was awesome! She tweeted that she liked the show, and we have a couple of friends in common, so I reached out through them to her. I said, “If you ever want to do anything on the show, we’d love to have you.” She said she wanted to do “Publizity,” but was recording with Diplo at the time. I was like, “Yeah I think we can work around yours and Diplo’s schedule.” [Laughs]. She was very funny and professional. She’s got a real sense of humor about herself and was down to play with us. There’s actually a picture of us online from when she was leaving her trailer to go to the set. I was dressed as Liz, and like a dutiful publicist, I made sure to shield her from the paparazzi. So there are photos of Liz and Katy walking on set with Liz barking orders and holding iced coffee.
— nick kroll (@nickkroll) June 6, 2013
HPC: A lot of your sketches parody reality TV -- and they’re not that far from the truth -- so what would actually surprise you from reality TV at this point?
NK: Well, there’s this new reality show called “Rich Kids” on E!. I haven’t watched it yet, and we don’t consider “Rich Dicks” a reality show since those guys aren’t aware that they’re being filmed, but Rich Kids… I was like “Oh, they just switched the D and the K!”. But what would really surprise me at this point would be a truly unscripted reality show. All of these shows are just so manufactured, and it doesn’t make them any less entertaining, but it’s not really true. When you watch them they feel so scripted and produced, it surprises me that we can still call them reality shows.
HPC: The “Oh Hello” guys -- Gil and George -- return this season. I’ve always imagined them being inspired by yours or John Mulaney’s kooky uncle or relative. Is that close?
NK: They’re based mostly on John and I living in NY for so many years and just watching those kinds of guys. They’re not specifically based on anybody as much as just us hanging out at The Strand for 15 minutes, or Zabars, or the Lincoln Center movie theater, or anywhere in NY, really. The coolest part about Gil and George is that John and I were doing them in the city for years and people were like, “Oh they’re funny, but it won’t work outside of NY.” Then this Halloween I saw all these pictures of people dressing up like Gil and George, like teenage girls in Pheonix dressing as Gil and George. So I was like, “Wow, this somehow managed to transcend the ‘Only In NY’ thing,” which was really exciting.
HPC: Finally, have you ever actually had to ingest a Martuna or Tunatini?
NK: Oh, for years when we did the show live, we’d drink Tuantinis or “Clamhattans,” so I have a lot of experience with drinking seafood, unfortunately. I implore everyone to try it!
Season 2 of "Kroll Show" premieres Tues. Jan. 14 at 10:30/9:30 central on Comedy Central. Watch the trailer below!