I always feel like any criminal who doesn't have a mask on is dumb: particularly the ones who don't realize that all mini-marts have cameras. I find that so hilarious. Or bank robbers without a mask. You're like, 'Have you seen no movies?'
Our fans often tell us that they see themselves in us. The relationship between the guys in Broken Lizard rings a bell with them, because they have their own little friend groups, with their own complex dynamics, and their own private jokes.
I think, in a film that's supposed to last an hour and a half, I think you have to really pay attention to what kind of movie you're making, what is the audience experiencing, and does this joke fit with this joke?
'Spinal Tap' is interesting because it created a genre of film and ended it - all in one motion. If you do a mockumentary, you are always going to be compared with that film, and you are never going to be as funny.
'Super Troopers' did well but not crazy-well theatrically. But it did so well after that it - in ancillary markets - that it became impossible for us to get away from it. We'd get pulled over by cops who would thank us and then would let us go.
A lot of people come from small towns, and they come here wondering 'Can I really make it in Hollywood?' When I went to L.A., I knew I was going to make it. There's no doubt about it. Why? Because I'm from Chicago!
A lot of the original people on 'SNL' came through Chicago - and Toronto, I'm sure - but Chicago was the center of it all. When I was there, Chris Farley - I knew him; we hung out and stuff - he went off to 'Saturday Night Live,' it was like, 'It's possible to be from here and make it.'
Whether I'm performing or directing, I'm aways thinking about rhythm; sometimes it's nailing the right rhythm, and sometimes it's intentionally breaking the rhythm. Those two things are what make something funny or not. How long a shot is and where you put the camera are all part of that rhythm of directing.
When I started, there were no Indians on television or films, except for Sir Ben Kingsley. I was an actor in high school, college, and I played leads. And when I graduated, I knew that I couldn't go to Hollywood and audition for shows or films. I could try, but where was the evidence that it was going to happen?
We write and write and write until we think, 'If we have to shoot this script, we'll be happy, and it's going to be a great movie.' I meet with all the actors two weeks before, and I ask them, 'What lines don't work? What is uncomfortable for you? What jokes do you think aren't good? If you're not getting it, here's what the joke is.' You fix it.
There was a Burger King in Hamilton, N.Y., where Colgate is, that had three sizes: Small, Medium, and Liter. I would go in there and order a large. And they'd say, 'We don't have large; we have liters.' So they'd make us order liters of cola, which I found to be just anti-American.
I myself downloaded and watched 'The Wire,' 'Breaking Bad,' 'Downton Abbey,' 'Mad Men' and 'The Walking Dead' on my iPad while walking on a treadmill. I never turned a TV on once. I never inserted a DVD.
Many films you see in theaters are financed through outside sources. With big films, the studio will pay, hoping to reap the reward of their big bet. But with medium and small-sized films, outside production companies and financiers often foot the bill.
The film you know as 'Super Troopers' is a film that almost didn't happen. The script was originally commissioned and developed by Miramax, but when it failed to get a green light, Harvey Weinstein was kind enough to give it back to us so we could make it elsewhere.
With 'Puddle Cruiser,' the first 15 minutes are the weakest. When you're total unknowns and you have a weak opening, it's a real problem. At some screenings, we'd see the odd walkout before the movie even got going. But to counteract that, we'd do sketches before the show to introduce the film.
Often, when you're in some of these writing rooms for... and the most restrictive is network television, right? They say, 'Wow, that's a great joke, but we can't do that. Okay, let's try the second joke. Oh, you can't do that one. But the third joke you can do,' and hopefully it will be great, but it will remind people of what the joke really was.
We hoped to get a TV show, and we almost did, but 'The State' beat us out for this MTV show. So because they were there, and 'SNL' and 'Kids in the Hall' were there, we thought, 'Let's go try to do what Python did, and instead, let's make movies.'
If you want to provide for your family, maybe show business is not a high degree of success. You will need to keep your day job until you make it, and know it's an odds thing just like the NFL. I personally wouldn't recommend anybody to go into this business.
This career is a relentless hustle because Hollywood is crowded with too many smart, talented people pursuing the same dream and the same pool of entertainment investment dollars. And unlike in law or medicine, there are no college degrees required - no barriers to entry.