Two of the funniest movies – “Beerfest” and “Super Troopers” – have come from two of the funniest people. That is, along with their writing partners in Broken Lizard. Kevin Heffernan and Steve Lemme are also out on tour doing stand-up. The long time friends recently stopped by to talk about their lives in comedy.
Q – Thank you both for talking to me.
KH - Howdy! Thanks to YOU.
SL - That's not a question.
Q – The two of you have been a part of many great projects including “Beerfest,” “Club Dread” and “Super Troopers,” in which you shared writing credits as part of the Broken Lizard comedy troupe. Broken Lizard formed almost 20 years ago. Working together this long, are there ever challenges writing as a group or do you have this process down pretty easily?
KH - There are always challenges when you try to write with five guys. Just figuring out what to have for lunch is a Herculean task. But over the years we've figured out how to function as a well-oiled machine - using our numbers as an asset with respect to having multiple projects in motion.
SL - There are always challenges, particularly when it comes to collaborating with any number of people. We will always think our individual ideas are the best. Ultimately, we've all learned to not be too aggressive when trying to push our own ideas through, to not be condescending if we don't think someone else's idea is good, and to accept it gracefully if someone else's idea is the one that people like the most. Ego is probably the biggest factor in causing a fight.
Q – So, do you guys ever get sick of one another?
KH - Absolutely, after Lemme and I go out for a weekend of live shows, we sit at opposite ends of the plane on Sunday when we fly home.
SL - Kevin and I? Ask me that on a Sunday after I've spent three days on the road with him.
Q – I mentioned Broken Lizard earlier. The group has been primarily you two with your friends, Jay Chandrasekhar, Paul Soter and Erik Stolhanske. However, only the two of you are touring together. How did this tour come together and why didn’t it involve the others?
KH - A few years back, we did a full blown Broken Lizard tour. Something like 40 cities. Because of the films, we hadn't done live stuff in years. The other three guys had done stand-up in their past, but that tour was the first time Lemme and I had done stand-up and we loved it. When that tour ended, the other three guys wanted to get back to some other things while Lemme and I had the bug. So we just decided to keep doing shows. We've been having a great time.
Q – The stand-up special, “Fat Man Little Boy,” is now streaming on Netflix. It combines stand-up, storytelling and drinking beer. How has the reception been thus far?
KH - It's been amazing. One of our goals was to introduce our audience to what we were doing. Our fans don't know that we do these live shows and when they find out they aren't sure what to expect. The special answers their questions. It also gives us an opportunity to connect with a new audience of people who might not be familiar with our films. Netflix is so accessible that we've been able to reach a bigger audience. It's also pretty cool to hear from people in other countries who are fans but haven't been able to see the shows. Now they can get a taste.
SL - I'm pretty sure it's regarded as the best stand-up special in history.
Q – The group has been a part of writing, performing, producing and acting. Which mediums do you enjoy the most and why?
KH - I like the combination of all. If I had to do just one, I don't think I'd be as satisfied. When you get sick of one element you can move to the other.
SL - I enjoy stand-up the most. There's nothing like the energy of live performance. You are completely exposed up there on stage but, unlike film, if someone doesn't like something you're doing, you can always correct it the next time. I like writing second most. Acting is a blast but with the writing you can literally go anywhere. Producing sucks.
Q – In terms of films, what’s next for Broken Lizard? Anything in the works?
KH - Lots of things in various stages but the next big undertaking will be the sequel to “Super Troopers.” We've (finally!) written the script and we are in a slow negotiation with Fox but we're looking to get it done this year.
SL - Hopefully, we'll be shooting “Super Troopers 2” this year.
Q – Thank you again. Is there anything you wanted to add?
KH - Well, by way of shameless plug, we're putting together a stretch of new tour dates. In May/June we're going to swing thru the East Coast and the Midwest. I encourage everyone to check out the dates on our site www.heffernanlemme.com. And for those who are fans of Fat Man Little Boy, I want to let them know that this new show is all new material. So if you liked that one, come see this one!
SL - I like nuts and honey.
Jason Tanamor is the Editor of Zoiks! Online. He is also the author of the novels, "Hello Lesbian!" and "Anonymous." Follow him on Twitter at @jasontanamor. Email Jason at firstname.lastname@example.org.