Real-life best friends and serious funnymen Nick Kroll and John Mulaney are on deck to host the 2017 Film Independent Spirit Awards this Saturday afternoon on an actual beach in Santa Monica, mere hours before the Oscars unfold across town.
The Indie Spirits have frequently wrangled comedians to host their live show — last year, Kate McKinnon and Kumail Nanjiani gleefully shepherded a laugh-heavy show; in 2015, Fred Armisen and Kristen Wiig hosted the ceremony — and Kroll and Mulaney should easily join the ranks of gut-busting hosts.
In a recent chat with the newly minted hosts, we asked what we should expect to see, and got nowhere; instead, Kroll and Mulaney clued us in to everything we shouldn’t expect to see.
1. “Oh, Hello” References
Kroll and Mulaney currently co-star in the hit Broadway comedy “Oh, Hello” as George and Gil, two aging Manhattanites still eager to break into entertainment. Not that it matters.
“It will be completely unessential,” Kroll said. “Mainly because we thought George and Gil would make an appearance, but they are playing hardball with us, because they want $100 per diem for the week. They want to go Dave and Buster’s, they said.”
Mulaney added, “Also, they pulled a full ‘Apocalypse Now’ and showed up for rehearsals, but 200 pounds overweight.”
But, as Mulaney sagely pointed out, “You don’t even need to know who we are if the jokes are good.”
2. An Awards Show That Doesn’t Like Other Awards Shows
When we spoke with the duo, they were still in the process of writing the show, but they were already clear that they won’t rely solely on live jokes to make things pop (and they may be looking to some unexpected competitors for inspiration).
Mulaney: “I don’t wanna give anything away, but there might be a funny video.”
Kroll: “There might be a funny ‘Avatar’ parody.”
Kroll: “Our goal is, we love award shows and there are a lot of things we hate about award shows, and, I think, we’ll be working with inside the context of the show.”
Mulaney: “The award show I honestly think that gets it right in all sincerity is the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony. Because it’s just aging rock stars, like, still airing grievances on stage.”
3. A Flawess Show
The Indie Spirits are, of course, all about independently funded films, and Kroll and Mulaney hope to carry that sentiment into the ceremony itself.
“It’s like making an independent film,” Kroll said. “You do your best to prepare, it’s gonna end up raining and fucking everything up.”
He added, “It’s like making an independent in that you can prepare all you want, but there’s gonna be variables that are out of your control, and not a lot of money, and you’re gonna end up just doing your best and hopefully doing it with people you like, and at the end of the day everybody drinks too much Jameson and hooks up with each other.”
Kroll and Mulaney want to embrace the Indie Spirits’ beachside location, too.
“It’s like when John and I go to the beach in real life,” Kroll said. “We put on a lot of sunscreen but forget one spot, burn ourselves, and just try to find the coolest homeless guy around and hang out with him. So, Casey Affleck, if we see you, we might confuse you for the cool homeless guy.”
4. A Michael Cimino Hologram
“We’re not gonna be able to have the Michael Cimino hologram we were trying to get together,” Mulaney said. “He was gonna come out and discuss ‘Thunderbolt and Lightfoot’ as a hologram, but I can’t get the goddamn technology to work.”
5. Pretty Much Anything “Serious”
Kroll and Mulaney are honest about their main aim: they just want to be funny (and maybe get a few more hosting offers along the way).
Mulaney: “We hope it’s very funny and that eventually we can get the big fish, the Nobel. Because they never have hosts, it’s just a bunch of Swedes.”
Kroll: “What we’re hoping for is that we’re gonna get Bob Dylan. The issue is that he just didn’t want to go to Sweden, but he has a boxing gym in Santa Monica.”
Of course, there’s always the possibility that everything could go haywire.
“I guess my greatest fear is that we’ll tell jokes and people won’t laugh and it won’t go well,” Kroll said.
We don’t think they’ll have much of a problem.
This year’s Independent Spirit Awards will take place this Saturday, February 25, live from Santa Monica, CA. IFC will air the show starting at 2:00PM PT, and a livestream will also be available on Film Independent’s website.