Nick Kroll
Smallz & Raskind

Nick Kroll Talks ‘Don’t Worry Darling,’ Why Fictional A-holes Are Endearing, and Pushing the Line on Comedy

Nick Kroll, comedic powerhouse and man of many voices behind Big Mouth and Human Resources, returns to the big screen in the star-studded thriller Don’t Worry Darling.

Real Quick

  • Guilty pleasure? Cheetos.
  • 2nd favorite Nick? Tsar Nicholas II, who we explore in History of the World, Part 2.
  • Language I wish I could speak? Sign.
  • “Too much tuna.” Was this a metaphor in disguise? Not metaphorical. I’m mildly allergic, so any tuna is too much.
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Men’s Journal: Don’t Worry Darling looks very creepy. How does Nick Kroll wind up in a psychological horror flick?

Nick Kroll: Pretty inexplicably. One day I’m reading the trades about Olivia Wilde making this thriller with Florence Pugh, Harry Styles, Chris Pine, etc., and thinking, “Boy, I’d love to be in that.” A week later, I get the pinch-me call.

Is starring in a ’50s-era thriller with Harry Styles as thrilling as it sounds?

When you’re on set with some of the world’s most stunning people, you can feel a little—“Uh, how am I here?” Then you move past it. Harry’s such a smart, funny, hardworking, grounded guy. He just happens to be very talented and easy on the eyes.

Scary movies are now attracting big names in comedy. Is there a trapdoor between fear and laughter that’s not just reserved for Jordan Peele?

There’s a weird crossover somewhere. I think part of it has to do with surprise. When you’re caught off guard it can make you laugh, but take it a few more pointed steps and—whoops. I see it with my child. A little surprise is a giggle. Too much is tears.

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Director Jeff Nichols of Loving called you his best-ever casting choice—as ACLU-attorney Bernie Cohen. This is a movie to see twice. Your takeaway?

It was such a giant honor to have any part in that poignant, important, true story of Mildred and Richard Loving—and to watch Jeff ’s subtle and restrained hand with it all. I’m happy you saw it again.

Was it also refreshing to play a lawyer for once whose name isn’t Rodney Ruxin?

Such strikingly similar tones there, huh? Loving and The League.

Ruxin ranks among TV’s best jerks. What endears us to fictional a-holes?

I’ve asked myself that about him a lot. Maybe he plays into some warped aspiration of “What’s the absolute worst thing I can say to my friends?”

You’ve plumbed the joys of male puberty on Big Mouth for seven seasons. What draws you to those formative years?

Just that word. Adolescence is so formative to who you become. What we didn’t expect was how many kids of that age would end up watching the show—because it’s what they’re going through.

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Human Resources now opens it up to all ages. Is animation the ideal medium to explore human sexuality?

Hmm, maybe. It’s definitely allowed our creatures—hormone monsters, shame wizards, ambition gremlins, etc.—to handle limitless issues. And not just about sex.

Don’t forget the talking penises. Do you ever have to reel yourself in?

There’s always a line, even when you’re pushing it. We’ll try something and be like—Oops, too far. It’s risqué stuff, but I’d say we’re way more conscious about it than a lot of things on TV and the internet.

Congrats on recent fatherhood. Has life gotten more serious or funnier as a result?

Serious—and funny in terms of what you now take seriously. Cheering on a filled, piping hot diaper. I never would’ve imagined I’d be as earnestly excited about that as I am now.

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