You’ve laughed at their antics during their movies Super Troopers, Club Dread, and Beerfest. And now you have the chance to see them perform live during a comedy tour! Jay Chandrasekhar, Kevin Heffeman, Steve Lemme, Paul Soter, and Eric Stolhanske are all set to perform their sketch comedy before a live audience. And they will also be unveiling some of their short films. and it’s all on the coattails of their next movie, The Slammin’ Salmon.
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. The team performed a combination of live stage skits and short videos under the name Charred Goosebeak. Charred Goosebeak continues to exist at Colgate to this day.
As they graduated, the members reunited in New York City, and spent the next few years performing at various clubs, mostly Greenwich Village mainstay The Duplex, under a new name: Broken Lizard. (The group has offered varied explanations of the origin of this moniker, from describing it as a euphemism for the loss of virility, to a tribute to Chandrasekhar’s pet allergies. Most recently, the members have admitted that after a marathon idea session that resulted in agreeing on the name Chocolate Speedo, Chandrasekhar simply made up Broken Lizard off the top of his head when he had their first flyer printed.)
Broken Lizard spent the next few years performing at clubs and college campuses, as their 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 Lizards 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 features.
In 1995, the group went back to the campus of Colgate University to shoot Puddle Cruiser, their first 35 mm full length feature, using a tiny budget cobbled together from family loans and maxed-out credit cards. (Chandrasekhar claims his Indian surname caused credit card companies to believe he was a doctor, and therefore offer him generous cash advances.) The movie, a compilation of characters and storylines from their own college experiences, was quickly accepted to the Hamptons International Film Festival, where it won the top jury award, The Golden Starfish. It was also accepted to the Sundance Film Festival and eventually aired on Sundance Channel and IFC.
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. The movie was released in February 2002 to moderate theatrical success, but eventually caught on as a cult phenomenon DVD.
Fox Searchlight produced and distributed the group’s next feature, 2004’s Club Dread, a parody of slasher movies that takes place at an idyllic tropical resort.
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 fourth feature, 2006’s Beerfest, which revolved around two brothers who discover an underground Oktoberfest beer-drinking Olympics, and assemble a team to compete.
Broken Lizard will be appearing at the Royal Oak Music Center in Royal Oak, Michigan on October 24; and the Lisner Auditorium in Washington, DC on November 12. The Next day they’ll be performing at the Trocadero Theatre in Philadelphia, PA, followed by the Wilbur Theater in Boston Massachusetts on the 14th. On November 19th the comedy troop will be playing the Boulder Theater in Colorado; followed by Moore Theater in Seattle, and the Aladdin Theater in Portland, Oregon. The group will end their tour at the Nokia Theater in New York City. To Learn more about Broken Lizard check out their website or on Wikipedia.