Kevin Heffernan (right) and Steve Lemme (center) of Broken Lizard sign an autograph during a visit to Cheyenne Mountain Air Force Station in 2016.
|Genres||Physical comedy, Gross-out humor|
|Notable works and roles||Puddle Cruiser (1996)
Super Troopers (2001)
Club Dread (2004)
The Slammin' Salmon (2009)
Super Troopers 2 (2018)
Broken Lizard is an American comedy troupe consisting of Jay Chandrasekhar, Kevin Heffernan, Steve Lemme, Paul Soter, and Erik Stolhanske. They collaborate on the screen-writing, acting and productions of their films, with Chandrasekhar and Heffernan being the primary directors; the team however does not have any single leader and they work collaboratively when choosing material and writing projects.
The group formed at Colgate University in 1990 when Jay Chandrasekhar was asked by a student theater director to put together a comedy show. Chandrasekhar agreed and assembled a sketch comedy troupe which included Kevin Heffernan, Steve Lemme, Paul Soter, and Erik Stolhanske, all members of the Beta Theta Pi Fraternity. The team performed a combination of live stage sketches and short videos under the name "Charred Goosebeak." Charred Goosebeak continues to exist at Colgate to this day.
After graduation, the members reunited in New York City and spent the next few years performing at various clubs, mostly Greenwich Village mainstay The Duplex, under the name "Broken Lizard." The group offered various explanations of the origin of this moniker over the years, ranging from a euphemism for loss of virility, to a tribute to Chandrasekhar's pet allergies. Most recently, the members admitted that Chandrasekhar simply made up the name "off the top of his head" when he had their first flyer printed. Another possible name that was discarded was "Chocolate Speedo."
Broken Lizard spent the next few years performing at clubs and college campuses. Its membership dwindled to the five current performers. By the mid 90's, the group's interests shifted away from live material as they became more interested in filmed content. They wrote and acted in Dante's Levels of Hell, a series of interstitial shorts for Comedy Central's "Is This On?" feature.
At this time, the Broken Lizard members also made their first foray into long-form film, shooting the 30-minute 16 mm project, The Tinfoil Monkey Agenda, an absurdist media spoof that earned them a trip to the Ft. Lauderdale Film Festival, and cemented in the group's minds that they should be creating full-length feature films.
The group put together the script for their next feature, and first wide-release movie Super Troopers. The film, which portrays rural highway patrolmen as regular guys desperate to make their jobs entertaining, was shot in 2000, and was also invited to Sundance, where raucous screenings earned the film a distribution deal from Fox Searchlight Pictures, a unit of 20th Century Fox. The movie was released in February 2002 and only enjoyed moderate theatrical success, but it eventually developed a cult following.
After Chandrasekhar directed The Dukes of Hazzard for Warner Bros., Broken Lizard was offered a deal with the studio. This relationship resulted in Broken Lizard's third feature, 2006's Beerfest, about two brothers who discover an underground Oktoberfest beer-drinking Olympics and assemble a team to compete.
In late May 2010, Broken Lizard had completed their fourth feature, The Slammin' Salmon, about a group of waiters who are terrorized over the course of a busy night by their unstable boss (Michael Clarke Duncan). Heffernan directed The Slammin' Salmon.
As of late March 2015, Broken Lizard had launched a crowdfunding campaign to fund filming of Super Troopers 2.Although rumored at one point to be a prequel set in the 1970s and following the fathers of the main characters in the original film, Heffernan had stated that the film would be "pure sequel." The group had already jointly written several drafts of a screenplay. February 2012, Heffernan told a crowd in Kansas City, Kansas that, "Come Hell or high water we are making Super Troopers 2 by the end of the year." In August 2012, Broken Lizard's Jay Chandrasekhar and Kevin Heffernan were interviewed by CNET's Jeff Bakalar from The 404. Jay and Kevin had confirmed that "Super Troopers 2" will be a sequel. They have also confirmed that the script is finished. All they are waiting for is the studio to okay everything. In an interview with Kevin Heffernan and Steve Lemme on Funemployment Radio, the duo confirmed that Super Troopers 2 is being made. They stated the premise of a prequel was a joke, but that the actual story line will take place a few years after the last movie. They also confirmed that a Potfest script had received approval. On a Funemployment Radio episode May 26, 2016, Jay Chandrasekhar confirmed that a small test segment of the film has been shot and full production will start in August 2016. On August 2, 2017, Broken Lizard announced, via their website, that they had finished post-production on the movie.
Receiving financial support from 20th Century Fox enabled Chandrasekhar to establish a career as a television director. He directed episodes of the Fox television shows Undeclared, Andy Richter Controls the Universe, Arrested Development, Oliver Beene, and Cracking Up. In addition, he directed three episodes of Psych, including the episode "Bollywood Homicide," in which he also guest starred. Chandrasekhar directed the 2005 film The Dukes of Hazzard, in which each of the members of Broken Lizard also appeared. He likewise appeared in Jackass 2 as the taxi driver in the last main sketch of the movie, performing a "prank on a prank."
Stolhanske acted in a number of television shows and films, including Curb Your Enthusiasm, Six Feet Under, Undeclared, and The Onion Movie. Stolhanske was also in the Plyometrics DVD that was part of the P90X program that fitness expert Tony Horton created.
- Jay Chandrasekhar and Julia Dray also planned to develop a comedy called Taildraggers, which had been written by Will Gluck. The film was intended to be about five twenty-something pilots who worked for a rinky-dink airline in Alaska. The plot kicked into gear when the guys found out a rival airline was siphoning oil from a nature preserve. This was planned to be the first broad comedy produced by Participant Productions, a company better known for making socially and ecologically conscious films, such as An Inconvenient Truth, Syriana, Fast Food Nation, and North Country.
- Marcus Raboy had signed on to direct the comedy Tow Truck a joint venture between Broken Lizard and Our Stories Films. The film was planned to be about two brothers who resurrected a moribund tow-truck business to earn enough money to save their neighborhood from commercial development. The movie began filming in late spring 2008.
- Moustache Riders, a western spoof co-starring Willie Nelson and Johnny Knoxville.
- Ambulance Chasers, a comedy intended to tell the story of a couple of ferociously aggressive personal-injury lawyers fighting over a new client. (In late May 2010, Broken Lizard confirmed that they were working on Ambulance Chasers on their troupe's official website.)
- Take My Wife, a comedy directed by Chandrasekhar, was meant to revolve around an average guy who jokingly swapped wives with a Hollywood superstar.
- Greek Road/Rogue Scholars was to be an R-rated comedy set in Ancient Greece. The movie would follow Heffernan as a young Plato who was a freshman wrestling student at Athens University. Plato was planning to wrestle for the university in the Olympics, but he was failing his Basic Thought class; so the university hired Socrates, a senior played by Lemme, to tutor Plato. Plato ended up cheating and passing the class, and the two traveled to Mt. Olympus together. On the road, Zeus, Poseidon, and Hades (played by the other three members) made bets on whether or not Plato and Socrates would make it and began getting in their way.
- Nutcracker was to center on the nastiest and dirtiest linebacker in the NFL who, when he started to lose his skills, reluctantly turned to ballet to get his game back.
- Pot Fest. This movie was mentioned as a sequel at the end of Beerfest. As guests on The Bob and Tom Show in September 2009, Broken Lizard's members mentioned that they were in the process of writing a film, Pot Quest, for Universal. As of August 2012, Broken Lizard's Jay Chandrasekhar and Kevin Heffernan were interviewed by CNET's Jeff Bakalar from The 404. Jay and Kevin had confirmed that Pot Fest would happen soon.
- Puddle Cruiser (1996)
- Super Troopers (2001)
- Club Dread (2004)
- Beerfest (2006)
- The Slammin' Salmon (2009)
- Broken Lizard Stands Up (2010)
- Freeloaders (2012)
- Super Troopers 2 (2018)
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- "Take My Wife". Killermovies.com. 2006-12-11. Retrieved 2011-09-13.
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