Meow, you knew a certain word wouldn't be avoided when interviewing Erik Stolhanske.
Since the Minneapolis-born actor and member of the Broken Lizard comedy troupe has a near-cult following thanks to movies such as "Super Troopers," I'm not going to explain what's going on here.
Stolhanske was in the metro doing media while here for a Minnesota Film and TV Board event.
When I interviewed him at the offices of Roepke Public Relations, he was surprised and a little delighted that I was aware of one the most beloved verbal gags in the movies he's made. While I may not be the demographic, which is men 18 and older, I assured Stolhanske that I am sometimes quite juvenile.
"You'd be surprised by how many women fans there are as well," said Stolhanske's wife and social media director, Barbara Slade. She spends more time in Minneapolis than LA, unless it's cold, and in addition to photoshopping photos for her husband on Prince's motorcycle, she extremely proud of community volunteer work for the Grotto Foundation and Hill Museum & Manuscript Library at St. John's University in Collegeville.
Slade was disappointed, as you will see in my startribune.com/video, that "Super Trooper" lawyers didn't put the kibosh on the perk that comes from donating $25 million to the crowdfunding website Indiegogo.
Q: How gratifying was it to get your $2 million from Indiegogo to make "Super Troopers 2" within hours instead of a month?
A: Amazing. I think we got to $2 million [in] under 24 hours. So the first day, we hit our first goal. Humbling. Very humbling.
Q: And now you're close to $4 million? [Friday, Slade told me "Erik's Indiegogo campaign, www.supertroopers2movie.com, passed the $4 mill mark last night. All money donated has come from Broken Lizard's fans. It ends 2 a.m. Saturday."]
Q: What's the largest contribution you received?
A: I think it's $35,000. Somebody bought a patrol car from the movie that they can drive home. First day.
Q: So fans can donate $10 and receive a sweet digital mega manuscript. You can donate $10,000 and get a speaking role in the movie, $25,000 to have the cast appear at your wedding?
A: That's right, we'll be groomsmen or bridesmaids, whatever you want.
Q: For $50,000 would someone father a child?
A: For $25 million, our dream budget, we'll father your child. For $100,000, we'll be the godfathers to your children. We will donate $1,000 to a college fund and will make sure they have a birthday gift for 21 years.
Q: And you've run this by the boss, [his wife Barbara Slade] over there?
A: More laughter.
Q: At the end of the movie "Beerfest," you said there was the possibility of "Potfest." So are you starting an Indiegogo account for "Potfest?"
A: Yeah. WELL, we have to make this film and then we would entertain the idea. We've written about 70 pages. We did an interview with Snoop Dogg the other day and we brought it up to him and he said, Oh, I'm so excited. I was watching the movie and an old man came out and I saw that part and I said, 'I have to be in that sequel.' Willie Nelson [was the "old man"] he's talking about and as soon as he [Snoop] said, We've got to make it, we said, "We have to make it."
Q: You're going to work with Snoop, really?
A: Seriously, two days ago, he said he was dying to meet us. We made up our mind we have to make it now.
Q: Meow, much alcohol and pot go into writing sessions for the movies?
A: I know you didn't write that question. You got that from somebody else, I can tell you that. [He starts laughing.] That's funny.
Q: What's the process?
A: We've been friends since college; working together for over 20 years. We kind of anticipate each other's thoughts and we're very comfortable with each other, so it's really a fun writing environment. We get together, all five of us in a room, and we come up with the jokes, we write everything together very collaboratively.
Q: Is there as much drinking and pot use in your real life as in your movies?
A: [Extended laughter] I don't think I would be alive if there was. That's why we call it acting. And thank God for digital effects.
Q: Do you guys draw straws to see who's going to do the really embarrassing scenes?
A: [Extended laughter] That's the fun part of being a writer is you get to write parts for other people you want to do the stupid stuff.
Q: You're going to be in the trunk?
A: Exactly. We usually make Kevin [Heffernan] do those things, so we write them for Kevin to have to do them.
Q: What do your parents think of your movies?
A: That's a good question. Well, my mom said she's gotten used to it after 20 years. Father, I think he just kind of looks the other way. He doesn't acknowledge them.
Q: Did they see anything in your years as a teenager that would have foreshadowed this?
A: Absolutely not. They didn't expect it at all. I went to Colgate University to be pre-med and came out an actor. My dad and I didn't see eye to eye for a couple of years until our movies ["Puddle Cruiser," "Super Troopers"] got into Sundance, we started going to the Sundance Film Festival, started being successful and he realized …"
Q: ... that's my son!
A: He acknowledged me again. No, he's been great. My parents have been very supportive [of their Breck grad].
Q: Well, you're making money?
A: Exactly. It's great. Working. They didn't want me living on the streets.
Q: Who is your moviemaking idol?
A: Growing up I always liked Chevy Chase, Bill Murray. The original cast of "Saturday Night Live" influenced us a lot in the late '70s. Then they started making movies and we thought it was great they were making movies and parlaying sketch comedy into a movie career. That and Monty Python and Kids in the Hall.
Q: Is there a current creator of wacky movies who won't give you the time of day?
A: [Extended laughter] All of them? It's very competitive, comedy. [More laughter.] We'd love to cast Bill Murray in a movie buy you can't find him.
Q: He's in the Twin Cities all the time. I know somebody who can hook up that.
A: That's right. We should just go to a St. Paul Saints game. How about Prince, too? Prince and Bill Murray? [I told Stolhanske I have a complicated non-relationship with Prince; Stolhanske laughed.] Is Paisley Park functioning as a movie studio anymore?
Q: Have you ever been stopped in real life by a State Trooper? [The tornado siren test started blaring.]
A: There's a tornado happening live on camera. Sure. Too many times. We've gotten out of a lot of tickets — Palm Beach, Indianapolis. Steve [Lemme] got out of a ticket going 120. I probably shouldn't be saying this on camera. When we are all together in a group, we get recognized more. As a group we got out of a ticket several times.
Q: Do you still do P90X, every meow and again?
A: [He laughed] I think "and again" is the operative term. [More laughter, because he was still surprised] I try, I try. I need to do it again to get into shape for "Super Troopers 2."
Q: How many interviews have you had where somebody started every question with Meow?
A: When we were with Snoop Dogg the other day, we called a pet store and played the Meow Game, while we were on Snoop's web series. It was a blast.
Interviews are edited. To contact C.J. try firstname.lastname@example.org and to see her check out the Fox 9 "Buzz."