Nick Kroll Breaks Down His Most Famous Character Voices | Vanity Fair

published on July 2, 2020

– My voice, which is
naturally right around here

[woman chuckles]
is where I normally speak

'cause this is my normal voice

I'm an actor; I'm Nick Kroll

I'm doing a video for Vanity Fair

[upbeat music]

Hey, I'm Nick Kroll

I do a lot of different voices
in various animated programs

and films, including my
animated show, Big Mouth,

and my current film, The Addams Family,

where I play Uncle Fester

We're gonna be talking about a lot

of my roles because I am a narcissist

Rock of Love was my idea

[echoing boom]

Andrew and Mark and Jen, my other partners

on Big Mouth, came to me

They thought what if Andrew
had a hormone monster,

and my immediate reaction
was touch yourself, Andrew

And that was the immediate instinct

There was something that had
this quality to the voice

He's kinda fun and loose,
and he's kinda chill

I think everybody's got
different hormone monsters,

but there's something
about he's pushing Andrew

or Matthew to be sexual and hormonal

But also he's been around
the block a little bit,

so there's a slightly
older quality to him

Early on, we established
that he was friends

with Joe Walsh, who was,

like people in the Rock
and Roll Hall of Fame

[laughs] That's funny

– A zinger from Gina

[echoing boom]

The voice of Nick is basically my voice

It's maybe pitched up a little
tiny bit because he's a kid

So he's a little more up here

He lives a little more
up here than my voice

The show is based on me and my best friend

from childhood, Andrew Goldberg

And oftentimes, they're
crazy in themselves,

but also they drive story,
and I felt like I wanted Nick

to be as natural to me as possible

And, in a lot of ways,
Nick is really is me

And so it felt natural to not
do much to the voice at all

Just maybe sometimes, he's
pitched up just a tiny bit

I couldn't figure out why
these doodies are so delicious

[echoing boom]

Coach Steve partly based
on a character I did

on Kroll Show named Ref Jef

Just a guy looking to hang
out, looking for friends,

or anybody wants to
hang out, they can come

and visit me on the diaper barge

because he lives on a diaper barge

[woman laughing]
where, I guess,

cities throw all the diapers,
and that's where he lives

They say that pigeons
are the rats of the sky,

but I think they're the
Einsteins of the diaper barge

'cause he's been outsmarted by the pigeons

who live on the diaper barge with him

I think Steve is such a friendly guy

He's just constantly looking for friends

There's a cheerfulness

When I first started doing him,

he was a little more like this

But now, he's got a little more

It's 'cause we realized he's so dumb

that there's actually quite a bit

of joy in how stupid he is

He doesn't know he's stupid

He's so stupid that he's happy

Don't worry, man, I'll
always be right here

[echoing boom]

There's also a coach hormone
monster, Rick, from Big Mouth

He's kinda mean, but
what are you gonna do?

That's his catchphrase,
what are you gonna do,

which I think is actually
the more that we get

to know Rick, you realize
that there's actually,

he was such a disgusting character

He became of a hey, what
are you gonna do, baby?

[slurring and muttering
words incoherently] baby

And we realized there
was a grooviness to him

You sunk my battleship

[echoing boom]

When they contacted me about
doing The Addams Family

to be Uncle Fester, I was very excited

I have watched the show
and then the movies

in the 90s, The Addams Family Values

Christopher Lloyd had his
very specific take on it

I didn't feel like I could or would want

to do a similar thing to that

I went back and watched the original,

and he's got a really
high-pitched quality to it

But there's something Three
Stooges about Uncle Fester,

especially in this
design reminded me a bit

of Curly from Three Stooges

So I gave it a little of
that hi, that hiya stuff

But then they're all outcasts,

and so I thought maybe
something with his speech

would make him a little more off,

and so I gave him a back of
the mouth speech impediment

So he sorta sounds like this

He's lost, and he's this
guy some of the time

Well, he's not that guy some of the time

He's always Uncle Fester

You sunk my battleship!

Something like that

I always like seeing round
guys with high voices

I find there to be something
very pleasing about that

With The Addams Family,
they're a family of outcasts

Wherever they go, they
don't feel included,

and so a guy who looks like Uncle Fester

and sounds like Uncle
Fester feels like someone

who would be misunderstood

But also, there's a joyful rascal quality

to him that I think Uncle
Fester really embodies,

and was excited to bring a little of that

'cause he's actually,
it's a very buoyant voice

'cause he's a pretty buoyant
and active and fun character

We're going to be spicy, no?

[echoing boom]

Gunter in Sing is a dancing European pig

Garth Jennings, who directed
Sing, brought me that

He had seen Kroll Show and
liked my European character

who turned out to be a cannibal

We shied away from that
for the kids' movie

In reading the script, I knew
that he was vaguely European

I knew that that's what Garth wanted,

but then just doing the European voice

didn't feel quite right for Gunter

So I felt more like a kids' movie

that Gunter would be up here
and filled with piggy power

Yay, it's lots of fun!

It's a good time!

He loves to wear yellow
jumpsuits and red unitards,

and he wants to go dancing!

Gunter has a lot of positivity

In the movie,

the other pig is Rosita,
voiced by Reese Witherspoon

Rosita is a mom of 20,

and so she felt like she's
just got a lot on her plate

And so it felt like
Gunter could be this fun,

lighter, buoyant energy

For reals, you gotta hit
the gym, bro [grunts]

[echoing boom]

Douche in Sausage Party was
actually an interesting process

I did the table read for it many years

before the movie got made,
and I was clearly filling in

for when they got the real actor they

were gonna get to do it

And then they, I don't
know, Seth got too stoned

and just decided to not cast someone else

But originally, my voice in
that was an English villain's,

someone like this

But as they watched the movie,

they realized that they were
doing more of a Pixar movie,

and my villain was more of a
Disney villain, like a Jafar,

a scary English scary villain like that

And so in the final session,
we redid the character,

and they realized, they were like,

well we have you playing a douche,

a literal douche, a
feminine hygiene product

But if you're gonna be a douche,

why don't we make you what a douchebag is?

And it

became oh, okay, cool, very cool, bro

What's up, come at me, bro!

What's your [beep] problem
out there watching me

in the internet, bro?

[beep] dare you watch me
in the internet right now

Come at me, bro!

I had done a character
named Bobby BottleService

on Kroll Show who's a bit
of a Jersey Shore character

So then it was like the
douche became a douchebag,

loves to [beep] yoked, bro!

Charmed, I'm sure, I'm Gil Faizon

[echoing boom]

I've been doing Oh, Hello with
John Mulaney for many years

They're two Upper Westside septuagenarians

who are obsessed with Alan Alda,

use mouthwash that smells
like coffee breath

He's like up here, and he's my daughrter,

warter, he talks like that

My daughrter had a warter birth,

and I'm an unlicensed doula

So if you're looking
for an unlicensed doula,

I'm Gil Faizon, charmed,
I'm sure [laughs smarmily]

It's like a lot of that [laughs smarmily]

Gil Faizon and George Geegland,

they're based on Upper Westside guys

that we had fallen in love with

Gil is a power beta

All the voices, the longer I do them,

the more I keep finding little
nooks and crannies to them

I like to find those specific words

that keep keying me in

So each character, I'll
often say one sentence

'cause on Big Mouth, for example,

Lola is a girl in Andrew and Nick's class,

and I'll do something
like I spent all the money

on a Pretty Little Liars meet and greet

And that'll help me get into her

and not only the voice but also what kind

of person she is, and
she's the kind of person

who spends all of her money

at a Pretty Little Liars meet and greet

Gil Faizon is charmed, I'm sure,

charmed, I'm sure, I'm Gil Faizon

He's always introducing himself,

and he's always saying it
with charmed, I'm sure

I think he thinks that that is


I'm Nick Kroll

These are some of my voices

Thanks for watching The Addams Family

Thanks for watching Big Mouth

Thanks for watching this video,

and this is me giving a little message to

my kidnappers
[woman laughs]

who let me out for the day so that I

could shoot this video for Vanity Fair

[beep] dare you watch me
in the internet right now

Come at me, bro!

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