What follows isn’t so much an interview with Nick Kroll as it is … well, I’m not sure exactly what it is. Here’s what happened. I was supposed to interview both Kroll and Joel McHale at the same time about their movie at the Toronto International Film Festival, ‘Adult Beginners.’ (Kroll, who also produced the film, plays a man who loses his tech fortune and has to move in with his sister, played by Rose Byrne, on Long Island.)

At our scheduled interview time, McHale wasn’t there. We were told that he was on his way, stuck in traffic, so we waited. Now, thinking that McHale would soon join us, I didn’t want to ask anything too specific about ‘Adult Beginners,’ just to have to repeat the question again once McHale arrived.

Funny thing: McHale never did show up. So, instead, for 20 minutes, Kroll and I discussed what pretty much amounts to nonsense. Bruce Willis is discussed at length – who, I should add, is not in ‘Adult Beginners.’

You’re stirring your coffee with a pen.

You can write, “Kroll hasn’t forgotten his roots, stirring his coffee with a pen.”

I'll write, “When you meet Nick Kroll, you’ll notice how quirky he is, using a pen to stir his coffee.”

“Kroll has shut down, clearly on a manic bender – the coffee seemed to be the only thing that revived him.”

My favorite thing is that you opened the pen and are stirring with the inside part.

I figured a lot of hands have been on this, but not a hand since Bangladesh on the inside part.

I don’t want this to happen, but if you die from this…

I mean, it would be a great story for you.

It really would.

I have great faith in the human immune system, so I’m, very gratefully, not crazy about germs and stuff.

There’s a Toad the Wet Sprocket cover band in ‘Adult Beginners,’ they perform a terrible version of ‘Walk on the Ocean.’

Jeff Cox and Elizabeth Flahive, who wrote the script, that was the song that they chose for him from the first draft that he would be playing when they went to the bar.

The world needs a real one. I’d pay.

I would, too.

‘Walk on the Ocean’ is the perfect early to mid-‘90s non-grunge pop song.

I’m wearing a Spin Doctors shirt later in the movie … we were talking to the guy from Spin Doctors who gave me use of the shirt.

You have to get permission to wear a Spin Doctors shirt?

You have to get permission for all of that.

That would be weird if he said “no.”

No, he was nice. He gave us the t-shirt. He was very cool about it. And Toad the Wet Sprocket, we got use of that song, but we had to use one of their newer songs somewhere in the movie.

That was the deal?


Toad the Wet Sprocket had demands? Did you have to pay for the song?

I think so, but we may have paid a lot less then what we were supposed to because of that.

I changed my mind. I don’t want you to die…

[Claps] Yeah…

I want Toad the Wet Sprocket’s new song to become a big hit because it’s in this movie.

By the way, it’s a great song.

This is a great movie for Bruce Willis. He’s mentioned by name and there’s a ‘Moonlighting’ reference.

I made this movie just so that I can get to Bruce Willis.

For the theatrical release, change the title of the movie to ‘I Want to Meet Bruce Willis.’

Again, that’s an upcoming project that I’m excited to talk about as well.

Who is starring in ‘I Want to Meet Bruce Willis’?

It’s me, Bruce Willis, Bruce Dern and Bruce Vilanch.

That movie would make $100 million.

It would make $100 million opening weekend. It’s all IMAX.

I’m imagining the movie poster looking like the cover to ‘With the Beatles’ -- black turtlenecks with individual lighting.

With Vilanch turned around slightly, like on ‘Sgt. Pepper.’

I now wish this movie were real.

When I came up with the idea for ‘I Want to Meet Bruce Willis,’ I had just seen ‘The Whole Ten Yards.’ Then I went back and watched ‘The Whole Nine Yards.’

Most people watch ‘The Whole Ten Yards’ first, then go back to see how it all came together. Jimmy the Tulip, I’m not sure how I just remembered that...

That’s impressive. That’s very impressive.

I think Matthew Perry played a character named Oz.


Don’t challenge me on my ‘The Whole Nine Yards’ knowledge.

I won’t.

In ‘I Want to Meet Bruce Willis,’ Alan Rickman can play Bruce Willis.

If we can get him. Well, Bruce isn’t even it it…

So you don’t meet Bruce Willis?

Which is fine. It’s fine if I don’t meet Bruce Willis. It’s the journey that matters.

So this is a documentary?

It’s the making of me trying to meet Bruce Willis, but it’s a reenactment with Alan Rickman playing Bruce Willis, toying with me as we go along … and then Bruce Villanch is like, “What are we doing here?”

What’s Bruce Dern doing?

It’s his character from ‘Nebraska.’ He’s still trying to get the million-dollar check cashed.

He is really good in ‘Nebraska.’ So is Will Forte.

The first movie I was in from beginning to end was a movie called ‘A Good Old Fashioned Orgy.’ And Forte, I knew him a little bit before that, but we met and became buddies doing that movie. I remember feeling really cool, we had a morning off and we were exercising in the gym downstairs and he’s on the treadmill for like an hour – and he threw his wildly sweaty workout shirt while I was on the treadmill. And I was like, “All right!”

“I knew I had made it.”

When I was covered in Will Forte’s weird, manic sweat.

‘I Want to Meet Bruce Willis’ will someday be looked at as a departure for you. It will be like Jerry Zucker directing ‘Ghost.’

Really? One of the Zuckers directed ‘Ghost’?

Yeah. People forget that.

He has a little Rob Reiner run. [The publicist in the room mentions that Jerry Zucker also directed ‘Ruthless People,’ ‘First Knight’ and ‘Rat Race.’] That’s so fascinating, people’s different moments and rides; when they’re doing big stuff and when they’re doing cool stuff. It’s weird and exciting and depressing.

Twenty years from now, someone in this very ballroom will say, “Nick Kroll directed ‘I Want to Meet Bruce Willis’?” I mostly know him from 'The League.'

“The movie that changed the face of film.”

Mike Ryan has written for The Huffington Post, Wired, Vanity Fair and GQ. He is the senior editor of ScreenCrush. You can contact him directly on Twitter.

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