A Chat with Steve Lemme and Kevin Heffernan of Broken Lizard!
As part of their Heffernan Lemme Live tour, the duo stopped in Boston on May 31st, knockin’ them dead at the Royale nightclub. Mark McDonough caught up with Steve and Kevin to talk projects, influences, and stand-up.
The Backstage Beat: (referencing Steve Lemme writing): Writing your act now?
Steve Lemme: That’s right; we write our routines in the minutes before the show.
Kevin Heffernan: But we don’t actually go up drunk. Everyone expects us to be drunk because of Beerfest.
SL: This is the introduction. We always try to do an intro specific to the city.
BB: So, you started in Broken Lizard comedy troupe…
KH: It began as Charred Goose Beak. Jay Chandrasekhar decided to put together a student comedy act when we at Colgate.
SL: We spent two years performing in Greenwich Village before we decided to do a film. Our first movie was Puddle Cruiser. This was at a time in New York when the indie film seen was really bustling, films like Fargo and Clerks were just being released.
BB: You’re working on a film now. Freeloaders?
KH: We’re producing Freeloaders. We’re not involved in the making of it.
BB: So what’s next?
SL: We have a Netflix original series out, Fat Man and Little Boy, and we’re making Super Troopers 2, and a Youtube series called The Adventures of Fatty and Tatty. Besides that we’re touring. We love Boston. We can’t decide what we love better, the city or the people.
KH: We were thinking about doing a parody of ‘Of Mice and Men’, where I play George and Steve plays Lenny.
SL: We think that would be hilarious.
KH: I began scripting it and we’ll see what happens.
BB: Any fun stories from the road?
SL: Well, we got to do a double performance in Phoenix with David Spade and Kevin Farley, Chris Farley’s brother. We hung out with them after the act. That was fun.
Then we were in a Midwest state, I wont tell you which one, and I was leaving Kevin’s room at the hotel and going to my own just when some sort of state trooper convention was getting out and there were all these troopers smoking and getting wasted and driving around, going out for more booze and driving drunk. It was pretty funny.
BB: It must be difficult being together and on the road so much.
KH: Fortunately, we’ve known each other a long time.
SL: We just don’t talk—no interaction between shows—that’s not true.
KH: We each have children now, so we try to limit the traveling. It’s rare that we’re gone more than two weekends a month.
BB: Who inspired you?
KH: Who inspired us…we were both very influenced by early SNL and our movies were modeled after John Landis films.
SL: We all watched Monty Python as children and we loved Kids in the Hall. Eddie Murphy really inspired me and Richard Prior. Currently there’s Bill Burr and Bill Birbiglia…
KH: Mike Birbiglia
SL: Mike Birbiglia…yeah, write down Bill Birbiglia. If Bill Burr and Mike Birbiglia had a child, he’d be hilarious.
BB: When do you come up with new material?
KH: Once you shoot a special, you have a few months to come up with the next. As we travel, we’re always trying new material on the crowd.
SL: That’s the fun part. That’s the thrill of stand-up comedy. You go up with this new joke and you can’t know what the reaction will be.
BB: Did you ever have any flat nights in the beginning?
KH: Not only in the beginning!
SL: Thousands have walked out during my set. There was a huge crowd at a university, all there to see Kevin Hart. I was the guy up after him.
BB: Have you had the chance to work with a lot of other famous comedians?
SL: We’re fairly new the stand-up scene. We’ve run into Nick Thune, Todd Glass, Omer Sharif…we performed at the Just for Laughs Festival in Montreal, so we’ve met just about everybody in the business.
BB: How do you like the business aspect?
KH: It’s not so bad.
SL: We did a show in Baltimore at a place with no owner or manager. It was like…how do we get paid?
KH: Our shows tend to be successful in cities with a college or post-college crows—like Boston has.
BB: Awesome. Well, thank you very much.
KH: Now we’re going to ask you questions. What’s yourfavorite beer?