Nick Kroll: your one-stop-shop for poop jokes, Jason Statham impressions, snack enthusiasm, and silly little giggles. All of this and more populate his most recent Netflix stand-up comedy special: “Nick Kroll: Little Big Boy.”
You may know him from his co-creation and leading role in the animated Netflix series “Big Mouth.” Perhaps you saw him in “The League.” Maybe you recognize him as the crude, fart-noise-utilizing radio caster “The Douche” from the NBC show “Parks and Recreation.” You might have just seen him in “Don’t Worry Darling,” a 2022 psychological thriller featuring a drunken kiss between Kroll and one Sir Harry Edward Styles. You could have no idea who Kroll is. I am here to encourage you to get to know him further or for the first time in this uproarious Netflix stand-up set.
I was impressed with Kroll’s recurring jokes threaded through evidently truthful stories. At one point, he delivered a recollection of being hypnotized out of cigarette addiction, followed by snack addiction, conveying an impression of the hypnosis phone call recording he listens to every night before bed. He asked the audience how many people thought this was true and counted about three believers. He then proceeded to play a clip from this very voicemail, proving his impression to be meticulously accurate. His jokes had rich payoffs and punchlines that were woven patiently and performed eloquently.
It is difficult to express Kroll’s humor in writing, given the physical comedy and funny intonation that yielded most of his laughs. Kroll would occasionally make a simple joke and launch into a child-like giggling fit, a bit I thoroughly enjoyed. Perhaps my favorite point in the whole set was in one of the moments he commenced his giggling frenzy in the middle of a story, then went and crouched down and said, “You can’t see me behind this stool!” The title “Little Big Boy” was fitting indeed for the character he boldly portrayed.
The most consistently referenced joke he shared was the numerous occasions on which he has crapped his pants. The first incident he described occurred after consuming fettuccine Alfredo as an “undiagnosed 6-year-old lactose intolerant.” At karate practice, Kroll sprayed his gi (a martial arts uniform) with “fettuccine Alfredo foam” in the bathroom when he was unable to untie the knot he had constructed. More pooped-pants incidents followed into his adulthood, including with his girlfriend in an Italian rental car on their trip to Bologna. His delivery of the thoughts going through his head, the hair rising on his arms, and the resulting conversations were priceless.
My only note for Mr. Kroll would be that, and hear me out on this — he is far more attractive than he gives himself credit for. I felt that many of his jokes were derogatory toward his physical appearance and overall personality. We all have insecurities, and they are valid, particularly given the fact that the first woman he ever loved broke up with him because she “just was not attracted to him.” That one cuts deep, no doubt. But we are in the age of the “cool, confident guy” persona, a role Kroll does an impression of at one point via squinted eyes, kissing lips and chest rubbing.
My roommate and I felt an immediate cringe surge at the sight of this textbook narcissistic man we know so well. He juxtaposed this personality with his own screaming, affectionate, snack-crazed, pants-pooping self, and I couldn’t help but enjoy that persona far more. Upon writing the previous sentence, I recognize that these are characteristics of a toddler. But maybe we should all take notes from kids and be a little louder with our feelings, a little more loving towards our candy and cookies, and a little blunter with one another when we are experiencing diarrhea, instead of using his expertly phrased social code we share: “my stomach’s just a little off.”
Sir Kroll, your era is here. Pete Davidson dated Kim Kardashian. It’s time for the funny guy with a good heart to take center stage.
“Nick Kroll: Little Big Boy” is available to stream on Netflix.
By Risa Bolash