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Comedian Nick Kroll parodies Canada with 'Kroll Show' on Much


Nick Kroll arrives at the FXX Network Launch Party at Lure on Tuesday, Sept. 3, 2013 in Los Angeles. Kroll writes a remarkable amount of material about Canada on his sketch comedy series "Kroll Show." THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP

TORONTO - American comedian Nick Kroll writes a remarkable amount of material about Canada on his sketch comedy series "Kroll Show."

The program which airs its season 2 finale on Much on Tuesday (at 10:30 p.m. ET) parodies the Canuck teen soap "Degrassi" with the serialized sketch "Wheels, Ontario," about a plucky Saskatoon teen (Kroll) at a high school for students in wheelchairs.

It also features "Get Out," a spoof of vintage Ontario ParticipACTION exercise commercials, as well as the talent-show sketch "Show Us Your Songs, Toronto" and a recurring Justin Bieber-esque character named Bryan LaCroix.

Kroll, who is known for his role as competitive lawyer Rodney Ruxin on the comedy series "The League," says he focuses so much on Canada because he feels it's "uncharted territory."

"There are so many things in comedy that feel like they've been explored entirely, and Canada doesn't feel like that," the 35-year-old said in a recent telephone interview.

"I think it's partly the fact that we're so close geographically and culturally and yet there is something so distinct between the two of us that you can really have fun with it.

"And honestly, I think Canadians have a very good sense of humour and it obviously translates to the amount of Canadians who've made the crossover into the U.S. in entertainment."

Several of those Canadians have also worked on "Kroll Show," which was recently renewed for a third season and airs on Comedy Central in the U.S.

They include Montreal native Jonathan Lajoie of "The League" fame, Edmonton's Bruce McCulloch of The Kids in the Hall, Ottawa's Jon Dore, Nathan Fielder of Vancouver and Katie Crown of Toronto.

Yet it was two of his American writers, Joe Mande and Jon Daly, who came up with the idea of bringing Canadiana to "Kroll Show."

"Jon Daly was a big hockey player and so he loved it. I grew up playing hockey a bit and Joe grew up loving 'Degrassi' and one of our editors (Daniel Gray Longino) loved 'Degrassi,'" said Kroll. "Then once you get into it, it becomes really fun to just research it more and find more information."

"Wheels, Ontario" was introduced near the end of season 1 and proved particularly popular.

"People really responded to it and they were like, 'When's more "Wheels" coming?' And it was like, 'Oh nooo, we don't have more,'" said Kroll.

"So we made more for season 2 and expanded on their worlds."

Kroll grew up in Westchester County, N.Y., and said he visited Quebec a few times while going to camp in Maine. After graduating college, he also drove through Canada during a long road trip.

Now, "I take my Canadianness with me wherever I go and it causes me to hold doors for people, let someone else finish what they wanted to say and also avoid conflict," he said.

Kroll said they're now writing season 3, which they plan to start filming in mid-April. It will likely debut next winter.

With the delay between shooting and airtime, they're always looking to write "evergreen" material and stay away from "anything topical," he said.

Hence Kroll's stance on Toronto's embattled mayor.

"I have no interest in making jokes about Rob Ford," he said. "But I hope that he does make an appearance on 'Degrassi' as, like, an addicted teen."

Fans can look forward to the return of Bryan La Croix next season, though.

"Obviously he's got some Bieber qualities and there are a few other people that he's based on," said Kroll. "But as Justin Bieber slowly embarrasses your country, it'll slowly be happening ... as opposed to a specific event like Rob Ford smoking crack or whatever it is."

Kroll said the next season will also feature some new characters as well as those they introduced in season 2, which included cameos from Seth Rogen, Zach Galifianakis and Amy Poehler, Kroll's reported girlfriend.

So, will Poehler return for season 3?

"We're in contract negotiations," said Kroll with his dry wit.

"Amy is asking for a million dollars to come back on the show, and it's a ton of money for us. And look, she's a big star, but I just don't know if we can find the money in the budget. So it's an ongoing negotiation.

"By the way, a million dollars is $1.25 million loonies."


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