When you make a cult favorite comedy like Broken Lizard’s “Super Troopers,” it’s probably inevitable that you’ll get out of a speeding ticket or two.
“[Co-star Steve Lemme] was going like 120 miles an hour, and the cop pulled him over and [Steve] thought he was screwed,” says “Super Troopers” co-star Kevin Heffernan, whose latest comedy, “The Babymakers,” opens Friday. “And then the cop walked up to the [car] and he’s like, ‘Do you know how fast you were going—“Super Troopers”!’ And then he lets him out of the ticket, takes a picture with him by the side of the highway. The kid turned into a giddy kid.”
Ordinary problems also receive an extreme solution in “The Babymakers,” in which Tommy (Paul Schneider) and other dimwitted criminals (including Heffernan and director Jay Chandrasekhar) plot to steal Tommy’s sperm from a sperm bank. The plan starts after Tommy realizes he can no longer provide any functional sperm so he and his wife (Olivia Munn) can conceive.
At the Four Seasons Hotel, the 43-year-old, suburban Chicago native Chandrasekhar and Heffernan, 44, talked about a particularly memorable, sperm-heavy scene in “The Babymakers,” a revolutionary new approach to the Olympics and what kind of pleasurable sounds are appropriate for network TV.
You’ve talked about “The Babymakers” being like “Ocean’s Eleven” with sperm. How many people do you know who saw “Ocean’s Eleven” and said, “It was good, but … just not nearly enough sperm”?
Kevin Heffernan: “Needs more sperm!” I don’t know, Clooney and Matt Damon, Brad Pitt.
Jay Chandrasekhar: What about them?
KH: Well, there’s some people that might want some of that sperm.
JC: Yeah, it would have been a better movie with sperm. Well, now you get to see it.
There was just so much off-camera sperm.
JC: [Laughs] I’m sure there was!
KH: We put it on camera. That was the piece that was missing.
Kevin, you are in a memorable scene in “The Babymakers” with probably more sperm than anyone has seen in one place. How long did it take to gather all that?
KH: [Laughs] Chandrasekhar is like a machine. He can pump out a lot of stuff.
JC: I have a very ample load.
Is that a day, a month?
KH: What is that for you, Chandrasekhar?
JC: Uh, it was a couple weeks. You have to shoot the scene close enough to the evacuations so that it stayed fresh.
That was one thing that went through my mind when I saw it: “That is still fresh.”
JC: You don’t want it rotting.
KH: That was the fresh sample room. There’s a sign on the door it says, “Fresh sample room.”
JC: “Fresh sample storage.” [Laughs]
KH: Just so you know that it’s not frozen or anything. There’s a sign.
Kevin, I read you have a law degree. Is that right?
KH: I do, yeah.
Do you think you will ever practice again?
KH: I doubt it, unless things go horribly awry in the film industry.
If you ever did practice again, I was wondering how much that scene could come back to haunt you.
KH: [Laughs] I know, I know. It’s like, put it in my commercial. “Hire me to be your lawyer.” And show me flopping around in semen.
Some people would probably go for that.
KH: They might, I don’t know. “Oh, that’s the guy from ‘Super Troopers,’ OK.”
How many lawsuits do people bring to lawyers involving an accident at a sperm bank?
KH: Or some sort of fertility issue perhaps. “I’m the guy! Look at me. I’ll get involved in your case intimately!”
The Olympics will be happening when the movie comes out. If you had to participate in an Olympic event, which one would you choose?
KH: Jay’s very anti-Olympics, just so you know.
JC: I think they have a bunch of sports that nobody cares about. And that NBC trumps up this excitement, but look, I’m clearly in the minority here.
I’m right there with you.
JC: People get excited about learning what a tough road it was for this farm boy to get to the Olympics. I get it. If I had to be in the Olympics, I suppose I would do the javelin throw.
JC: It seems sort of military. It seems dangerous. It could go anywhere.
And that appeals to you?
JC: Particularly with me throwing it. I’ve never thrown a javelin. What kind of sport is that? It’s hilarious.
KH: It’s an ancient sport. Ancient Greece.
JC: It’s a hilarious sport. It’s also still around.
KH: It’s a 2,000-year-old sport.
JC: They still do it? I love it.
It’s very difficult to keep up with in the years that the Olympics aren’t happening.
JC: Right. Like, who’s your favorite javelin thrower?
JC: Nobody has an answer. Nobody. If I were in charge of the Olympics, I would probably try to put something for the javelin guy to aim at. Not just length but see if you could spear something.
KH: Like a swimmer.
JC: Yeah, get one of those runners out there and see if you can … that’s a sport.
KH: I think that’s the way it used to be in ancient Greece. You were naked and you threw javelins at runners.
JC: Naked would do it. Naked would be exciting.
What about you, Kevin?
KH: Archery. I like archery. That would be kind of fun. I’m a big fan of that movie “Brave.”
JC: Have a satchel of sticks on your back.
KH: Yeah, why not? (Makes sound of shooting an arrow.)
Should we also get rid of that lame target and have you shoot at a runner?
KH: We could; that’s fine with me. But I have no problem with the target.
Who’s your favorite archer?
KH: Robin Hood. Love Robin Hood.
JC: I like William Tell.
KH: You do.
JC: Yeah. But we’re out of archers already.
KH: The girl from “Brave.”
JC: The girl from “Brave,” yeah.
And Katniss. It seems like everyone’s been talking about archery this year. But it is like, “Choose among these five.”
JC: You could become the most famous archer if you decided to devote yourself to it. “[Bleepin’] Farva’s an archer!”
KH: Like the archer comic. “Archer Comedian Kevin Heffernan!” That’d be pretty cool.
JC: And his partner, the javelinest. Jay the javelinest.
KH: The naked javelinest.
Who immediately becomes the most famous.
JC: I could do it overnight.
KH: If you sat on a field next to a javelin thrower and you watched them throw the javelin, you’d be like, “Oh my God.”
JC: I have no doubt. I’m impressed. That’s why I want to be a javelinest.
Maybe you should start with someone who’s not as fast as a runner.
KH: Like me. [Laughs] “Heffernan, go run around on the end of the field.”
JC: Yeah, but then you’d have a bow and arrow and you’d fire that back at me wildly.
To have the events compete against each other, that would be great.
KH: Javelinest vs. archer? That’d be fantastic. That’d be really good.
JC: [Laughs] That would be an Olympics to watch!
KH: That’s where “Hunger Games” came from, I guess, right?
In using scenes of adult movies in “The Babymakers,” how much do you regret not using “Ted Mosby: Sex Architect”?
KH: [Laughs] Yeah, I know, it should have been in there. “Ted Mosby Sex Architect” was like the tamest porn movie that you could make.
JC: What was that?
KH: That was the “How I Met Your Mother” episode that I did. And so it was like, eight o’clock on CBS, we had to walk a fine line about doing a porn story. It was still fun, it was good, but you could only do a certain type of moaning and things like that.
JC: Were you the architect?
KH: I was the porn star sex architect.
Not just an architect.
KH: Sex architect.
JC: I never saw that. I’ve never seen that episode.
What’s the line of what you can and can’t do for moaning on network television?
KH: I don’t know but they recorded some moanings to put in, we were sitting on the set on a couch, it was like the actors or whatever and the sound guy and they were like, “OK, moan.” And we were like, “Ohhh, yeah!” “Don’t say words.” “OK.” “Ohh!!!” “Too big, too big. Take it down.”
You can’t say “Yeah.”
KH: They have censors. You couldn’t do certain things. You didn’t know what the line was but you just did what they told you.
Jay, earlier today you mentioned being turned on by French wigs, and in “The Babymakers” characters are turned on by melons on a magazine cover. What’s something else that gets you going unintentionally?
JC: Black panthers.
JC: I find them very sleek and feminine.
KH: Have you ever masturbated to a black panther?
JC: No, but I may do so after this interview.
Thank you for waiting until after it’s over.
JC: I’m going to try. I’m going to try.
On how Chicago shaped Chandrasekhar as a comedian: “I think because of Chicago’s improv and sketch history, that’s sort of how I thought comedy should be done based on that, and that’s why we started [Broken Lizard], which is super Chicago-influenced. As opposed to just doing stand-up.”
On real-life dumb criminals: “I always feel like any criminal who doesn’t have a mask on is dumb. Particularly the ones who don’t realize that all mini-marts have cameras. I find that so hilarious. Or bank robbers without a mask. You’re like, ‘Have you seen no movies?’” (JC)
On the current state of “Community,” of which Chandrasekhar has directed episodes: “I think losing [creator] Dan Harmon is tragic. He’s really quite a visionary comic. There were issues that are internal there that I had nothing to do with, but I know that the cast is great and I know that the writers they kept are also great. I’m going to do two [episodes] of them in the fall. I have a feeling that it’s probably going to be fine.”
On comedy on TV: “I think there’s this ever-expanding need for more. Hulu is getting into it and Netflix is getting into it and Amazon is getting into it, and they all want their own TV shows. So it’s a great time to be working in television. We’re both actually working in television now. And I’ve been lucky to work on ‘Community’ and ‘Happy Endings’ and ‘Up All Night,’ and some of the best comics working are working on these shows.” (JC)
Guilty pleasure movies: “I love bad action movies. I love ‘Tango and Cash.’ I’ll go see any Van Damme movie, anything like that. … ‘The Expendables ,’ I’m going to go see the [bleep] out of that.” (KH) “I really honestly am into … French movies with women in wigs and that white makeup and the mole. When they’re hot, I find it ridiculously a turn-on. I accidentally walked into a theater in San Francisco and there were all these French women on the screen with these big wigs on, and I was like, ‘Dear, lord.’ … The poster was very provocative. It was two women with wigs, nose to nose. Like, ‘we’ll see what happens.’ … I might do a French wig movie next … Just me with a bunch of French women with wigs, that would be good.” (JC)