“Littering and…? Littering and….? Littering and…? Littering and…smokin’ the reefer.” There’s a number of quotes I could pull from Super Troopers right meow. I mean, it infected an entire generation, teenagers and adults alike. We were all quoting it—maybe too much. One could say it even set the scene for numerous cult classics to follow, including Broken Lizard’s Beerfest. As one of the most iconic cult classics to date, Super Troopers’ comedic approach began normalizing cannabis before most of us knew what NORML was. Treated as just another accessory to their shenanigans, marijuana was both the main storyline and the comedic relief in the film. Even in the conservative South where I grew up, dads and their teenagers were laughing at the same pot jokes and images of state troopers getting high at the station. As Broken Lizard members Steve Lemme and Kevin Heffernan tease now, “At our stand-up shows, it’s half stoners and half cops!”
Here we are 17 years later, and Super Troopers 2 is finally hitting the screens on no better day than 4/20. Every stoner’s favorite holiday. These guys have been busy since Super Troopers took off, and while we’ve all enjoyed their movies since, this has been a long-awaited sequel for fans. Broken Lizard, as a group, has executed five major film productions since their inception, not to mention the individual careers they’ve each spawned from their inaugural success. And they’re still at it!
The Early Days of Broken Lizard
Essentially just five dudes that went to college together, destined to become the members of Broken Lizard sought to turn their passion for film, sketches and bullshitting into a career. Jay Chandrasekhar, Steve Lemme, Kevin Heffernan, Paul Soter and Erik Stolhanske all had an interest in film and acting as students, but, like most people at that age, didn’t have a solid career direction. While the majority of the group finished their degrees—as Kevin likes to point out, “Lemme dropped out!”—they all moved to New York City over the course of a few years and began doing sketch comedy together before deciding to try their hand at filmmaking. Watching The Tinfoil Monkey Agenda, one of their first shorts, you get a feel for their signature humor and direction. Their first full-length film, Puddle Cruiser, was a breakout college comedy in many respects, but as Kevin fondly recalls, “We didn’t know shit when we did that one. We didn’t know anything!”
Puddle Cruiser garnered attention in the festival circuit, but no one could’ve seen the hilarity coming that was Super Troopers. Despite the debauchery, the film, at its core, is entirely relatable. This wasn’t by accident. Some of the best scenes, and even the original inspiration for the film, came from real life. “The cops thing [from Super Troopers] was [based on] us driving around,” Steve told us. “Five us were in a car and we were going to all these weddings—and we would be high, and we kept getting pulled over, and we’d be talking shit—and then the cop would come up to the car and we’d kiss his ass—‘Yes sir, no sir, sorry sir’—and then he’d walk away,” Steve laughs. “And we were like, ‘We shoulda fuckin’ killed that guy!’ But we [joked later], ‘If that cop knew how high we were, he coulda fucked with us,’ and that was sort of the genesis [of Super Troopers].”
Club Dread, Beerfest and Beyond
Taking little time off between projects, the group quickly started on Club Dread after the success of Super Troopers. They still reminisce about the warm beach weather while filming in Mexico, but the workload on Club Dread was far from easy. Broken Lizard members all play a direct hand in writing, directing and producing everything they make together, in addition to their onscreen roles. If you’ve seen The Dukes of Hazard (2005), you’ll recall cameos from each of the Broken Lizard members—that’s because Jay directed the film, solidifying a relationship with Warner Bros. that eventually led to the creation of Beerfest.
Beerfest, like Super Troopers, developed an enormous cult following and likely inspires thousands of frat boys to drink themselves silly annually. It’s also one of their best received films to date. It didn’t hurt that they brought in pot icon Willie Nelson for a post-credits scene and started rumors of a Potfest sequel. We’re still waiting for that one, but Super Troopers 2 will tide us over in the meantime.
Smoking with Steve and Kevin
If at this point you don’t remember which one is Steve and which one is Kevin, Steve Lemme played Mac in Super Troopers (the crazy one who ‘steals’ the Miata in the opening scene), and Kevin Heffernan played Farva (the awkward idiot who puts soap in Rabbit’s coffee, among other things). That’s right, I got to kick it with Mac and Farva. The 14-year-old fan in me that fell in love with their work years ago needed to calm the fuck down, and, luckily for me, they were super chill. As I walked around the corner of the parking garage with Josh Shelton of Green Street Agency to greet the guys, I saw Steve standing comfortably outside liked he lived at the place. Lacking even the slightest air of pretentiousness, Steve and Kevin were both ready to hang out, but get shit done in the process—a skillset few people possess.
As we finished up the photoshoot and prepared for the interview, Josh politely sparked up a few joints for everyone. Having had the chance to smoke with quite a few celebrities, I immediately noticed that these guys were different. They were normal. These guys are dads, husbands, businessmen. They asked what we thought of the new recreational cannabis market in California, the political climate we’re all enduring, even how our days were going. And shit, they were funny!
We weren’t smoking a lot—it was probably the perfect amount to consume before an interview, actually—and Kevin hit me with a story every smoker can relate to: Being too high to talk. Broken Lizard once smoked with Snoop Dogg, and he got them way too lit. Apparently, the opportunity to meet Snoop came shortly after Super Troopers, and, as Steve laments to this day, “We’re lightweights.” They weren’t prepared for what was to come. After a few rounds in the traditional stoner circle, Snoop had them all too faded to talk. It was dead silent. Snoop asked them a question, and no one responded. Finally, after a long silence, Snoop asked, “Ain’t y’all motherfuckers supposed to be the funny ones?!” They guys nearly cried from laughter and were finally able to come out of their haze.
As we finished up the interview and played our “Do You Even Vape, Bro”? game—where we ask people to choose between two celebrities and determine which one vapes e-cigarettes—we continued to see a fuller picture of the Broken Lizard crew. These guys are hard-working, passionate individuals looking to make you laugh—and hopefully laugh a bit themselves while doing it. Luckily for us, they’ve been hard at work for something we’ve all long-awaited: Super Troopers 2.