By Kaye Foley
Comedians Nick Kroll and John Mulaney have taken their popular alter egos — Gil Faizon and George St. Geegland, grumpy 70-somethings who live on the Upper West Side of New York City — from comedy clubs to the Broadway stage. Opening night for “Oh, Hello on Broadway” is Oct. 10, 2016, at the Lyceum Theatre.
Kroll and Mulaney sat down with Yahoo Global News Anchor Katie Couric to talk about their new play, the origins of Gil and George, their comedy careers, including their performances on Comedy Central’s “Kroll Show” and “Saturday Night Live,” and what’s next.
The road to “Oh, Hello on Broadway”
Discussing their inspiration for Gil and George with Couric, Kroll and Mulaney said that 10 years ago they saw two older men buying Alan Alda’s memoir “Never Have Your Dog Stuffed” at the Strand Book Store in New York City.
“These guys clearly were joined at the hip for 40 years, and they’re buying their own copies. So, a deep friendship with real selfishness,” Mulaney joked.
Kroll continued, “We started hosting a show at a club called Rififi … as those guys, and we just built it from there.” Eventually these characters made appearances on the “Kroll Show,” which led to an off-Broadway show and a national tour.
The story behind “Too Much Tuna”
Gil and George’s identities evolved on the faux public-access show called “Too Much Tuna,” featured on the “Kroll Show.” They would prank guests with tuna salad sandwiches with, of course, too much tuna.
“There’s something about tuna that is funny … it’s such a wet sandwich,” Kroll said.
“Any descriptive for tuna salad is bad. ‘Oh this is nice and mayonnaise-y.’ ‘This is grey,’ added Mulaney.
On improv, standup and “SNL”
“I met [Kroll] my freshman year of college auditioning for the improv group, and then I would come up to New York and sleep on his couch,” Mulaney said of his own early comedy experiences in the city. “So I got to see what open mics were like and comedy clubs were like.”
“Doing comedy and writing and acting felt like the one thing that didn’t feel like work, even with all the busywork that goes into it,” Kroll said about making comedy his career. “It was the one thing that I was like, ‘Oh, I’ll do anything I have to do for this.’”