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'Kroll Show' star Nick Kroll recalls Rye upbringing
Nick Kroll has a new sketch-comedy series, "Kroll Show," premiering tonight on Comedy Central, but he's been making people laugh — intentionally and unintentionally — ever since he was a kid growing up in Rye.
When I chatted with Kroll before the October season premiere of "The League," he was equally enthusiastic about sharing "Kroll Show" with his audience.
"I'm very excited about it," said Kroll, 34. "[I'm hoping] folks who like 'The League' will come to my show and enjoy it, because it's still my sense of humor, but it will feel very different than what you see on 'The League.' "
In addition to discovering new characters on "Kroll Show," devout fans of Kroll's material will recognize his recurring personalities that he brought to YouTube and the underground comedy circuit, ranging from Fabrice Fabrice (the fictional craft services coordinator for "That's So Raven") to Bobby Bottleservice (every male "Jersey Shore" character you've seen on that show and in real life).
Kroll, whose credits include "Best Week Ever," "The Life & Times of Tim" and "I Love You, Man," said he has fond memories of Rye, including hanging out at the Rye Smoke Shop, where there'd always be clippings about the town's top celebrity on display.
"There were always articles about [former Major League Baseball player] B.J. Surhoff," he said. "I used to go in there, buy Blow Pops and read articles about B.J. Surhoff. I had a strong affinity to that."
Sandwiches at Dock Deli and Crisfields Meat Market, both in (and possibly on) Rye, are among his favorites in the Hudson Valley.
Kroll also cleared the air to Newsday Westchester about his legendary commencement speech for his high school alma mater, Rye Country Day School. Although the speech has been remembered for its criticism of school administration, he said that, contrary to comedy lore, "I did not expose my genitals, but that's just because I couldn't get the zipper open."
However, on Friday's episode of "Late Night with Jimmy Fallon," Kroll did recall an "early, traumatic event" when he was exposed in Westchester County.
As a seventh-grader at Solomon Schechter School in Harrison, he was involved in a memorable moment at a boy-girl party that helped shape him into the man he is today.
"I go to talk to this girl Lizzie, who was my childhood crush, and I'm like, preppin', and I go in to talk to her and I'm like, 'Hey, did you read that article in Highlights magazine?' " Kroll said. "And as she's turning to talk to me, Jenny, the girl whose house it is, comes up behind me and pantses me."
Kroll said his pants and boxers fell to the floor during the incident, mortifying both girls in the process, "and I am now a comedian."
For the full tale of woe/whoa, check out the video below.
One would think his upbringing in tony Rye would have been rather comfortable, but Kroll remembers things differently.
"I'm from Rye, N.Y. -- the tough streets of Rye, N.Y.," Kroll told Fallon, who grew up a few counties north in Saugerties. "It was tough. We didn't even have our own tennis court growing up."
"Kroll Show" premieres at 10:30 tonight on Comedy Central. For more midseason premieres with Hudson Valley connections, check out Newsday Westchester's comprehensive rundown.