After Nick Kroll’s first standup special, Thank You Very Cool, arrived over a decade ago, the comedian shifted his focus toward his star-performing television endeavors, like the Netflix animated series Big Mouth. But Kroll is all grown up now, and he has a new standup special, Nick Kroll: Little Big Boy, to prove it. The hour-long special premieres on Netflix on Sept. 27.
“The lockdown happened and shut down all stand up,” Kroll told Variety, sharing that he had initially planned to film the special in 2020 based on material he crafted the year before. “But then also, a ton of life stuff happened to me. The special, even before the pandemic, was thematically about this feeling where I had turned 40, and yet there were still elements to myself that I felt were not entirely grown up. So I felt sort of in between. And then the pandemic happened, and I got married and had a child.”
Filmed at the Warner Theatre in Washington D.C., the new version of the special, which ended up being packaged as Little Big Boy, will reflect on Kroll’s experience of having his heart broken for the first time at 33 years old, supporting his wife through motherhood, his own journey becoming a father, and more. He describes his return to standup as being “more honest and revelatory and vulnerable” than his past approaches to the comedy format.
“Doing ‘Big Mouth’ really has been such an exercise in vulnerability,” Kroll added. “There are a lot of autobiographical elements to it. And I think the lesson I learned with it was that audiences really connected to the more honest, truthful, vulnerable material. And if I tried to do that on my stand up, that I would hopefully connect with people, that there be the opportunity for a deeper connection with the audience.”
Little Big Boy marks Kroll’s first Netflix comedy special, but he sees having carved out a lane on the streaming platform with Big Mouth as something that leaves room for the two to function together.
“The audience for the most part on Netflix, I think knows me from ‘Big Mouth’ and which I’m incredibly grateful for, but really think of me as an animation guy and a voice guy,” he said. “It is sort of a companion piece that I don’t think will seem to come out of nowhere to people who are watching ‘Big Mouth’ to then watch the stand up hour.”