By ERIK OFGANG, Special to The Courant
The Hartford Courant
5:22 PM EST, December 11, 2013
Nick Kroll rarely follows a script.
The actor, sketch comic and stand-up comedian says that no matter what medium he's performing in, he likes to leave room to improvise.
"I always want to have the flexibility to be able to alter and try different things once I'm in a moment," he says, "because the thing that you wrote in a room a month ago might not actually feel funny when it's on its feet. You want to be able to change it."
Kroll will be changing jokes up as he goes along when he performs his stand-up comedy act at the Fox Theater at Foxwoods Resort Casinos on Friday, Dec. 13, at 9 p.m.
Kroll's sometimes foul-mouthed, but frequently hysterical improvisations, have led to success on a number of projects. He stars as the unscrupulous lawyer Ruxin on the wildly immature show "The League," which follows a group of wildly immature friends who fantasize way too much about their fantasy football league. His Comedy Central show, "Kroll Show," will return for its second season beginning on January 14 and will see Kroll continuing to play a variety of oddball characters, both male and female, including Ref Jeff a socially awkward, short-shorts wearing referee who takes a little too much interest in the players when he referees.
Raised near Connecticut, in Westchester, N.Y., Kroll is the son of Jules Kroll, founder of the multimillion dollar corporate intelligence agency Kroll, Inc. In a recent interview Kroll was gracious, and friendly, as he discussed his unsuccessful stint as a Connecticut sprinkler installer, how his fantasy football dreams were being dashed, and why his grandma just isn't a fan of his work.
Q: What is your stand up show like?
A: People come up to see a stand up show because they like a guy from a show or a movie, but I found that what people really like is to feel like they're seeing something that night that is specially unique to them or that night, so I try to do a show that reflects that. I don't tailor everything to each audience, but I try to interact with the audience and find out what they're interested in. Also, I'll be showing clips from "Kroll Show" season two that people haven't seen yet.
Q: How do you describe the "Kroll Show" to people?
A: I started to refer to it as "sketch-uational" comedy. It's a term Seth Meyers coined at a panel he was interviewing me for. It's somewhere between sketch and sitcom because there's a bunch of recurring narrative stories and characters.
Q: What does it mean that "The League" is semi-scripted?
A: "The League" is all outlines. One of our creators (Jeff Schafer) came from "Curb Your Enthusiasm," and it's the same structure as that show. So you have an outline of what happens in a scene and then it's left to us to come up with the specific jokes.
Q: Do you play fantasy football?
A: Yes, all the guys on the show and the creators are in a league together. I'm about to lose to Mark Duplass (who plays Pete Eckhart) in the final, unless something crazy happens. If somehow Dez Bryant and Jason Witten break all of their legs and the Bears quarterback Josh McCown has like a Peyton Manning on his best night type of night, then I got a shot.
Q: You grew up in Westchester. Did you cross over the border to Connecticut often?
A: Sure. I did sprinkler installation around Norwalk. So I ruined the lawns of some of the nicer homes in the northern Fairfield County area.
Q: Obviously Ruxin on "The League" isn't the nicest guy, do people confuse that character with you?
A: I think generally people can separate the idea that Ruxin is a character who is a mean jerk and I'm Nick and I'm a nice guy, but obviously I've got some Ruxin in me.
Q: Anyone you know making the trek from Westchester to Foxwoods for your show?
A: I think my grandmother is coming, she loves Foxwoods. So if I'm late I'm just helping her pull some slots.
Q: Do you have to clean up the show when Grandma comes?
A: No. I think she's just going to have to see it, there's no changing it up for Grandma. She's already told me that she doesn't dig my comedy.
NICK KROLL will perform Friday, Dec. 13, at 9 p.m. at the Fox Theater at Foxwoods Casino, 39 Norwich Road, Ledyard. Tickets range from $30 to $50. Information: 860-312-5050 and www.comixatfoxwoods.com.
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