The Daily Tar Heel

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Sunday September 25th

'Troopers' Tour to Promote Film

A comedy troupe of five, Broken Lizard is touring the country to promote its new film "Super Troopers," the story of a group of Vermont state troopers and their ongoing feud with the local police force, haphazard abuse of authority and occasional imbibing of drugs and alcohol.

"One laugh every six seconds, that's what we try to deliver," actor Kevin Heffernan said. Broken Lizard began seven years ago as Charred Goosebeak at Colgate University in New York. Director and the character "Thorny" Jay Chandrasekhar became the group's leader because of his experience in stand-up and improv. He asked Steve Lemme, "Mac," and Heffernan, "Farva," to join the troupe, and the three began performing on the New York campus.

Those performances attracted the attention of Paul Soter, "Foster," and Erik Stolhanske, "Rabbit," and together the group of five formed Broken Lizard.

Broken Lizard performed sold-out comedy shows featuring improv, dramatic skits and videos they had shot and edited themselves. This led to a 30-minute short film, "The Tinfoil Monkey Agenda" followed by "Puddle Cruiser," the troupe's first feature film.

"It was the story of my life, a romantic comedy thing," Chandrasekhar said.

"Puddle Cruiser" was shown at the Sundance Film Festival in 1999, and Broken Lizard returned to the festival this year with "Super Troopers."

The troupe has taken its growing success in stride and has had entertaining run-ins with other stars, including a "short contest" between Emilio Estevez and Lemme and meeting Parker Posey.

"I love her, I do," Chandrasekhar says. "She almost danced with me."

Like in the group's movie, Broken Lizard is spending time on the road. The group will travel three more weeks spreading the word about "Super Troopers" with its grassroots approach.

"We're of the people, we're people's people," Stolhanske said.

The group members thought Chapel Hill was the highlight of their tour but were confused about the name. "Where's the hill?" asked Heffernan. "Is it like directions? Like Chapel ... Hill?"

While the group members may joke a lot, they are serious about their jobs and don't waste any time goofing off while filming, Chandrasekhar said. Nevertheless, the troupe is contemplating working with primates or building miniature boats if its comedy falls through.

But with "Super Troopers" being released in February and "Club Dread," another Broken Lizard movie, set to start filming this spring, the troupe probably won't have to worry about finding new jobs any time soon.

The Arts & Entertainment Editor can be reached at artsdesk@unc.edu.

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