There are a lot of funny, up and coming, Jewish comedians out there right now. However, you’d be pressed to find one who is funnier than Nick Kroll. A former contributing writer for Chappelle’s Show and Human Giant (including being featured in my favorite sketch from that show) and actor on Cavemen, Kroll is currently starring in FX’s The League and offering his voice for HBO’s The Life & Times of Tim.
Even with that busy schedule, Kroll was able to sit down and answer a couple of questions for Mixed Multitudes.
Jeremy Moses: I read that your first “acting” role was playing Pharaoh in your elementary school’s depiction of the Exodus. Have you had any other Jewish acting jobs since then?
Nick Kroll: I was the rabbi in a my synagogue’s production of
Fiddler on the Roof
. I don’t think you can get more jew-y than that.
I think all adolescence is funny. That time of being super awkward in your early teens is universal and that is why people (not only Jews) responded to those books.
What was the most awkward situation you ever had either at a bar mitzvah party or at camp?
I’ve been told that I talk in my sleep. I was recently reminded that one night at camp, I shot up in bed and screamed “Mr. referee, please don’t be the equalizing factor!” For some reason, I’m very formal and polite, yet forceful in my dreams.
On your show The League, there are a good amount of Jewish jokes (the biggest one that comes to mind is the theme song of the Shiva Bowl being sung to Hava Nagila), yet you’re the only Jewish cast member. Since the show is mostly improvised, how much of a role did you have in the insertion of the Jewish jokes onto the show?
I don’t insert Jewish jokes. I just say what comes to my mind. There is nothing intentional in what jokes get to air from me or the writers or the director. The Hava Nagila song came from Jeff Schaffer’s (co-creator of The League) high school buddies.