Director and actor Chandrasekhar (Super Troopers, Beerfest) gives a candid account of how he and the rest of the Broken Lizard comedy troupe broke into the movie business.
Readers don’t have to be fans of Broken Lizard’s sophomoric shenanigans on film to appreciate its ringleader’s infectious DIY spirit and can-do attitude. The author sets the self-deprecating stage early, reviewing his formative years as the scion of medically minded Indian parents who spent his high school days partying hard and then setting his sights on a “preposterous” list of colleges, including Harvard, Yale, Dartmouth, Brown, and “no safety schools.” Always aware that brown skin and a multisyllabic name didn’t exactly equate to Hollywood acclaim, Chandrasekhar refused to abandon the dream. Instead, the author devised a make-it-or-break-it test for himself involving Chicago’s toughest stages. “Most Colgate juniors spend a semester studying overseas,” he writes. “I decided to head to Chicago, where I would perform improv and stand-up comedy on real stages, in front of real audiences. Only if I could get strangers to laugh would I be willing to give acting a try. And if I couldn’t, then my plan would be to follow in my sister’s footsteps and go to law school.” He could, and emboldened by his experience, Chandrasekhar settled back down at Colgate, an indispensable incubator that would prove pivotal for everyone in the Broken Lizard gang. Talent and a gonzo zeal for moviemaking would not guarantee success, however. For one thing, there was another rising comedy troupe called the State that also demanded Hollywood’s attention. The author recounts how initially losing out to the State for an MTV gig almost crippled the Broken Lizard crew long before Super Troopers ever achieved its cult status.
A fond and funny look at the process of trying to succeed in the movie business and an inspirational tool for aspiring filmmakers.