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BPS 229: How Indie Film Super Troopers Made Millions with Jay Chandrasekhar
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Today on the show we have director, writer, comedian, and actor Jay Chandrasekhar has contributed to and appeared in a wide variety of critically acclaimed television programs and films throughout his career. Chandrasekhar assembled the sketch comedy troupe Broken Lizard, which includes Kevin Heffernan, Steve Lemme, Paul Soter, and Erik Stolhanske. Together they performed comedy across the nation until they set their sights on producing television and feature films. Under his Broken Lizard banner, Jay directed and co-wrote Fox Searchlight Picture’s comedy cult classics Super Troopers, Super Troopers 2, Club Dread, and Warner Bros’ Beerfest. He also directed the Broken Lizard comedy special, Broken Lizard Stands Up. Super Troopers hit theaters in February 2002 and went on to gross $23 million with glowing audience reviews (and $80 million on home video.) Jay continued on to direct The Dukes of Hazard, direct and star in Millennium Entertainment’s The Babymakers, and appear in DreamWorks’ comedy hit, I Love You, Man. Recently, Chandrasekhar published his book, Mustache Shenanigans: Making Super Troopers and Other Adventures in Comedy that gives a behind the scenes look at the making of Super Troopers. In addition to his feature film work, Chandrasekhar has directed various TV shows, including several episodes of the Emmy Award winning series Arrested Development, Community, Chuck, The Grinder, Up All Night, Happy Endings, New Girl, and Psych. More recently, Jay has also directed episodes of Fresh Off the Boat, The Goldbergs, Speechless, and Schooled. His new film is Easter Sunday. Stand-up comedy sensation Jo Koy (Jo Koy: In His Elements, Jo Koy: Comin’ in Hot) stars as a man returning home for an Easter celebration with his riotous, bickering, eating, drinking, laughing, loving family, in this love letter to his Filipino-American community. Easter Sunday features an all-star comedic cast that includes Jimmy O. Yang (Silicon Valley series), Tia Carrere (True Lies, Wayne’s World films), Brandon Wardell (Curb Your Enthusiasm series), Tony nominee Eva Noblezada (Broadway’s Hadestown), Lydia Gaston (Broadway’s The King and I), Asif Ali (WandaVision), Rodney To (Parks and Recreation series), Eugene Cordero (The Good Place series), Jay Chandrasekhar (I Love You, Man), Tiffany Haddish (Girls Trip) and Lou Diamond Phillips (Courage Under Fire). Easter Sunday, from DreamWorks Pictures, is directed by Jay Chandrasekhar (Super Troopers, The Dukes of Hazzard), from a script by Ken Cheng (series Wilfred, Betas). The film is produced by Rideback’s Dan Lin (The Lego Movie franchise, It franchise) and Jonathan Eirich (Aladdin, The Two Popes), and is executive produced by Jo Koy, Jessica Gao, Jimmy O. Yang, Ken Cheng, Joe Meloche, Nick Reynolds and Seth William Meier. The film will be distributed by Universal Pictures domestically. Amblin Partners and Universal will share international distribution rights. Jay also just launched a new app designed to give the power of reviews back to the people. It's call Vouch Vault. "When my film, Super Troopers, showed at Sundance, it played to big laughing crowds. But when it was released to the public, the reviews were only so-so. On Rotten Tomatoes, Super Troopers, got a 38%-fresh aggregate score from less than a hundred reviewers. With the public, though, the film garnered a 90% fresh rating from more than 250,000 non-reviewers. This 38% reviewer-number stuck in my craw. I remember thinking, “Who are these reviewers, these strangers with outsized power, and why are we listening to them? Seriously. When’s the last time you walked up to a stranger and said, “Hey, what movie should I see?” Our goal with Vouch Vault is to take recommendation power from anonymous strangers and give it to the people whose tastes you know and trust." Enjoy my conversation with Jay Chandrasekhar.