“Big Mouth” creators Nick Kroll (“Kroll Show,” “The League”) and Andrew Goldberg (“Family Guy”) have known each other since the first grade, and became best friends in middle school — right when the hormone monster began its attack.
Well, at least his attack on Goldberg. Kroll was a late bloomer — and it was that awkward puberty that inspired Kroll, Goldberg, Mark Levin and Jennifer Flackett to come up with “Big Mouth.” The animated series stars Kroll as Nick and John Mulaney as Andrew, and centers on their friendship as puberty — personified on the show as the hormone monster — puts it through the test.
Maya Rudolph, Jason Mantzoukas, Jordan Peele, Fred Armisen, Jenny Slate and Jessi Klein also star on the show, which IndieWire TV critic Ben Travers touted as a show that honestly captures the horrors of adolescence: “The show is unafraid to tell the embarrassing truths of pubescence, but knows exactly how to cut through the many scenes of tension, pain, and terror with an equal number of outstandingly juvenile jokes.”
Kroll stopped by IndieWire’s TURN IT ON to discuss his career, comedy and “Big Mouth.” We started by discussing how these days, every comedian seems to be on multiple shows at once. Listen below!
“I’d love for parents to watch it with their kids,” Kroll said, although he noted, “It is very dirty. [But] my hope is it gives kids and parents some version of tools and a language to communicate what the kids are going through and the parents are going through.”
“Big Mouth” isn’t just about the teenage boy experience. Jessi Klein plays Nick’s and Andrew’s pal Jessi, who is dealing with her own changes. “It was important we talked about the girls’ experience with puberty as much as the boys’ because they’re going through it,” Kroll said. “Our show is trying to explore every kid’s experience with it, not just one boy who’s got to jerk off all the time. Everyone’s at different stages of it, boys and girls are going through different versions of it.”
“Big Mouth” also contains plenty of silliness, including Jordan Peele as the ghost of Duke Ellington, who haunts Nick’s house. “My family visited a house one time to rent that Duke Ellington lived in,” Kroll explained. “We thought, ‘it’s an animated show, let’s take advantage of that.’ Having a ghost haunt the house felt like a good thing to have, and the ghost of Duke Ellington felt fun and weird.”
Kroll also discussed his career, and how modern comedy stars find themselves working multiple gigs at once. “The economics of comedy and show business is a lot different than it was when I started 15 years ago where, in a perfect situation you could go to Montreal, get a deal through standup and create a show and hopefully make a sitcom that made a ton of money,” he said. “Now it’s a weird thing, people have to cobble together a career or a salary through four jobs where one job used to pay. But the reality means there’s a lot more people working and making a living doing the thing they’ve always wanted.”
Beyond “Big Mouth,” Kroll is working on the comedy “Uncle Drew,” starring basketball vet Kyrie Irving, and also a drama about the capture of Adolph Eichmann, from filmmaker Chris Weitz. One thing he’s not interest in doing is a revival of “Kroll Show.”
“Doing a sketch show is incredibly exhausting,” he said. “I still love many of the characters. Some of the characters on ‘Kroll Show’ have evolved and now live on in ‘Big Mouth.'”
IndieWire’s “TURN IT ON with Michael Schneider” is a weekly dive into what’s new and what’s now on TV — no matter what you’re watching or where you’re watching it. With an enormous amount of choices overwhelming even the most sophisticated viewer, “TURN IT ON” is a must-listen for TV fans looking to make sense of what to watch and where to watch it.
Below, the trailer for “Big Mouth.”