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Comedian Nick Kroll on His Washington Homecoming

The Georgetown grad and star of FX’s “The League” and Comedy Central’s “Kroll Show” talks to us ahead of this weekend’s Bentzen Ball.

See comedian Nick Kroll at Lincoln Theatre Saturday night. Photograph by Mandee Johnson.

Nick Kroll is excited to be back in DC for this year’s Bentzen Ball comedy festival. The Georgetown
University graduate, star of FX’s
The League and Comedy Central’s
Kroll Show, thinks Washingtonians are a “smart, comedy-literate audience.” The multi-venue festival
runs Thursday through Sunday, and the complete lineup, curated by Tig Notaro, includes
other headliners such as Wyatt Cenac (The Daily Show), Megan

(Will & Grace/Parks and Recreation), Kate Flannery (The Office), and even Ira Glass (This American Life).
Kroll takes the stage Saturday night; we talked with him about DC, his characters,
and, of course, fantasy football.

You juggle a lot of different projects at once, including shooting two shows. What
motivates you to set aside time for things like Bentzen Ball?

First and foremost, Tig Notaro asked me to do it, and she’s one of my oldest and best
friends in comedy. She did it three or four years ago; I was unable to go because
of work, and was really jealous because it sounded like a great festival with a lot
of fun comedians. And second, I went to Georgetown so I still have a lot of friends
who live in the DC area, and I love being able to come back. It’s like being able
to go back and sleep with a girlfriend whom things ended amicably with.

When you come back to the area is there anything in particular you like to do?

It’s fun and sort of weird, but I enjoy walking around Georgetown back on campus and
just walking down Prospect and Wisconsin. DC has really evolved and become a more
lively and interesting place since I was there.

Is there anyone else performing at Bentzen Ball that audiences should be particularly
excited about?

Each show has folks that I know, or know of, and love and admire. On my show, there
are a lot of funny comedians. Moshe Kasher is a guy I think is super funny and who
in the next year or two is really going to pop off in a big way. The Ira Glass show
I’m sure is going to be amazing. Each show that I saw lineups for just looked like
a show that I would love to watch. And that’s the ideal scenario: that you get to
go to these festivals and be surrounded by shows that you’re like, “I want to go see
that show—as a fan.”

What’s most fun for you at this point between

The League

Kroll Show,

and standup?

Honestly, it’s doing all of it. The beauty of doing the kind of stuff I do is that
you have the opportunity to do all types of things. I work on [Kroll Show] and it’s very gratifying, the whole process from pre-production to editing. Versus

The League, which I get to go in and act on and then kind of walk away from. Versus standup,
which I can do when I have free nights, but then go out on the road and travel to
fun cities like DC or Austin or Portland. Honestly, the best part is that keeping
all the different balls in the air keeps all the different projects fun and interesting.
It makes you not get sick of any of them.

You’ve done live performances as different characters a few times in the past. Should
DC audiences expect you as you, or maybe as

Kroll Show

characters Bobby Bottleservice or Fabrice Fabrice?

Usually if I’m part of a larger show I tend to just do standup. I love doing the characters.
But now that I’ve got the
Kroll Show it’s such a great venue to showcase the characters and to keep that there, and do
standup as a separate entity.

How long does it take to develop those characters?

It kind of all depends. Obviously some of the characters on
Kroll Show have been around the Web for many years. And then some were developed for the show.
There’s this character named Caesar who was brought into season one, and we did it
once just for this little bit that we were going to do. Once we edited it, the editors
just loved him, and it was like, “All right, let’s keep him.” We wrote more for him
for the end of season one, and then for season two we just kept writing. And the most
fun thing about
Kroll Show is that all the characters continue to evolve.

As for

The League
, who’s going to win this year?

Great question. I don’t know, to be totally honest with you. We don’t really get told
until the episode of. None of us know. I wish I were being sly with you. I just truly
don’t know.

I was actually a fantasy football holdout for a long time, and the show finally inspired
me to start playing this year.

Well, you’re welcome, and I’m sorry.

Nick Kroll performs in the Stand-Up Showcase on Saturday,
October 12, at the Lincoln
Theatre; doors open at 6 PM. Tickets ($20) are available via
BYT’s website.