It was 1989, my junior year at Colgate, and I was faced with a choice: Spend fall semester in Europe, studying abroad, smoking hash and meeting Dutch girls, or go to Chicago to try my hand at stand-up comedy and improv. In a shocking decision, I chose the latter, enrolled at Loyola University, did stand up at Chicago’s open mic’s, and studied at the Improv Olympic, where I was in a class with Chris Farley, Dave Koechner and many other very funny people.
When I returned to Colgate that spring, I bragged often about my real life show biz experience. I told everyone who would listen that I was now an improv comedy expert (I wasn’t), and talked often about starting an improv group at Colgate (I had no intention of doing that). Then, Jon Glatzer, founder of the Kinetic Theater Group, called my bluff. Jon was a junior, and heading London for the fall semester. While he was gone, he wanted to keep his Kinetic Theater group going by staging four one-act plays. When Glatzer called me, he said, “Hey, pal, I need you to direct a one-act this fall. How about starting that comedy group you’re always talking about?” The fall was going to be my senior year, and I had other plans, which included drinking, smoking grass, and flirting. But I thought I’d at least entertain the idea. I went next door to Kevin Heffernan’s room and said, “You wanna start a comedy group this fall?” He looked up, “Nah!” I said, “Yeah, totally,” and called Jon back to say, “No thanks.”
Over the summer, Glatzer called again. “I’m in a bind. I have 3 one-acts booked. I need a fourth. Come on. Do that comedy group thing.” It was summer, so I called Heffernan, “Hey, pal, should we form a comedy group this fall? Could be fun.” His response was quick, “Naw. Not gonna happen, man.” I said, “Yeah, you’re right. Fuck it.”
It’s fall and we’re back at Colgate enjoying week one of our senior year. The phone rings, and it’s killjoy Glatzer from London. “Jay, you’re doin’ it. I don’t give a shit. You have to do this for me.” I exhaled, looking pensively out the window, “Fine, dude. Fine.” I went next door to Heffernan’s room, and said, “We’re doing the comedy group. It’s a done deal.” He shrugged, annoyed, “Fine. Whatever.”
We wrote a sketch show, shot some crudely produced videos and named the group, Charred Goosebeak. Amazingly, it was a HUGE hit. People were hungry for it, and we slaked their thirst or hunger or…you know what I mean. They liked it. But like a lot, you know?
Eventually, we graduated and moved to New York City, where we reformed as Broken Lizard. We were doing live shows that included short videos. The more videos we did, the better I got at directing. Eventually, I took a class at NYU, and we made the jump to film, when I co-directed a Broken Lizard 30 minute short called, the TINFOIL MONKEY AGENDA.
Eager to jump to features, I pulled out 60 pages of a funny college love story I had written, and showed it to the guys. We took that script, added 4 more male parts, and turned it into PUDDLE CRUISER, which went on to win the Hamptons Film festival, and make a huge splash for us at Sundance. Good fun.
Next, I directed SUPER TROOPERS, which sold to Fox Searchlight at Sundance. Hooray! They released the shit out of it, and made us household names if your house was in a cult.
Then, I directed CLUB DREAD, which had bikinis.
After that, I made THE DUKES OF HAZZARD, which won me both critical acclaim and Oscars, for best short shorts.
After that, I directed, BEERFEST, which cemented us as the Cheech and Chong of binge drinking. For those of you against binge drinking, I don’t recommend watching.
In between I directed a whole bunch of television, including ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT, UNDECLARED, COMMUNITY, NEW GIRL, ROYAL PAINS, HAPPY ENDINGS, PSYCHE, and too many more to mention.
Now, I’m sitting here typing this fucking thing. Hope you enjoyed it.