There’s a specific scene in Super Troopers 2 where some drug-induced cops hallucinate the words “Highway Patrol”, which pretty much spells out, “High Patrol.” There’s little shock in who make up the audience of the Super Trooper franchise—the damn thing was released on 4/20, some 17 years after the original turned into a modern cult classic.
The rebirth of Super Troopers was funded thanks to the aid of a successful Indiegogo campaign back in 2015. For the sequel, the whole Broken Lizard crew is back for some good ol’ Canadian vs. American shenanigans involving a Canuck town near the border.
With the film set to be released today, I took the necessary time to have a conference call with the entire Broken Lizard team about the most obvious answers to the most important question: who have they always wanted to smoke a joint with in the entirety of human history?
VICE: Where is everyone?
Jay Chandrasekhar: These fucking slackers are two minutes late. Ask me some stuff.
Sure, did you guys give Willie Nelson his bong back?
Well (laughs), you know, we're trying to keep it held ransom until the next Warner Bros. green lights a Potfest.
Kevin Heffernan: Hey guys.
Hey Kevin. I was just asking Jay about Willie Nelson, how did you guys even get him to do an ad with you guys?
Chandrasekhar: Willie is just a human joke machine like that. Every time I see him he tells me six new jokes and he's got a great mind for it. When we were on Dukes of Hazzard we just had a riot. We were smoking and cracking jokes the whole time. So he's constantly bugging us about making Potfest and anything really. He loves to act, so we kinda came up with this little idea, and I called him up and said, "You want to do this?" And he says "HELL YEAH!" So we met him in Rockford, IL at his show, and we went on the bus, shot it in about three or four takes, and afterwards we got a little high, frisked him on stage, and pulled out a bag of weed before singing backup for him.
Well obviously I gotta ask, what’s it like to smoke weed with Willie Nelson?
Chandrasekhar: He has great weed, and he likes to punish you for ever saying that you’re as good of a pot smoker.
On a serious note, the kind of love this franchise has maintained from famous stoners, regular stoners, and just fans in general is major. How does it feel to still have that love after all these years?
Heffernan: Pretty overwhelming honestly. I think for us, it was doing this crowdfunding campaign that really showed to us just how much the fans love the movie. We turned to them and asked them to help us get this thing done. And like 4,000 of them reached into their pockets and put money into this campaign. It really is overwhelming, because now we go around and do the screenings and things like that, and in those moments, you really interact with the the hardcore fan base of this movie. They show up in uniforms, and they have tattoos of you! It's unbelievable and just an amazing experience.
Steve Lemme: Steve here, yeah that sums it up. It's just incredible to meet these people face to face and know that we made the movie together with them. To me, it's the most connected anyone has ever been with their fans.
Erik Stolhanske: Hey, this is Erik. Honestly, when we were at the Willie Nelson concert the other night, after the show, Willie walks out and he does some signings for his fans and shakes their hands. When we got to do this with Indiegogo backers, it felt like the closest I've ever been to being that kind of musician, when you get to actually have a live experience with those that support you. It was such a great experience for us.
So when was the exact moment when you knew it was time to bring this Super Troopers franchise back to life?
Chandrasekhar: Well we made five films in-between. But with this one movie, we’d just get a lot of people yelling stuff at us (laughs), like "who wants a mustache ride?" Aside from that, it also turned into this get out of jail free thing with the cops. Half our crowds are stoners and half our crowds are cops. We're sitting there and saying, yeah, this thing is big (laughs), we need to get crew cuts, grow mustaches again and line it up for when 4/20 lands on a Friday. It's been three years in the making but here we are.
Speaking of cops, they apparently love the franchise. In this day age, there’s the idea that most officers are a bunch of tight asses, at best. What’s your history as far as how they’ve treated your comedy.
Heffernan: It seems like they love it! It's weird. We go and do these stand-up shows and it's just full of cops and stoners, and they all have their stories about them playing the meow game, and doing fun stuff from the film to entertain themselves. They’re pulling us guys over and saying great things. I think when you make a movie where the cops are the good guys, the real-life cops really appreciate that (laughs), and you really do get a get out of jail free card.
Lemme: We've all had experiences with cops where we've been let out of speeding tickets. I got pulled over doing 120 miles per hour, and a cop let me off. All I had to do was take selfies with him on the side of the road.
Chandrasekhar: You know, when I was shooting the Dukes of Hazzard in New Orleans, the chief of police handed me his card and said, son...if you get into any trouble down here, you can give me a call, anything short of murder. And he just pauses and says, “actually for you, murder is OK too.”
Woah, was he smiling when he said that?
Chandrasekhar: He was smiling.
So in the light of all the bad shit that’s going down involving cops. The shootings and multiple incidents of police brutality, does it make it harder to do a film like this?
Chandrasekhar: Of course, we're aware of all the terrible things that are happening between cops and mostly black men. And this is going to sound slightly insensitive in the same breath, though that's not the intention, but most cops are decent people. We need cops. That's the simple fact of every civilized society. Obviously, they gotta stop doing all these awful things, but most cops are still good and decent people.
Lemme: I think that's something that we get from a lot of cops...thank yous. A lot of officers say, thank you so much for portraying us not as violent maniacs or corrupt in some way, or fat donut eating lazy dudes that sit around. This is actually what the majority of cops are like. A lot of times we're just regular guys just like everyone else. We're just doing our jobs. Our fingers are just optimistically crossed that the majority of cops really are good and decent dudes.
Chandrasekhar: And women.
But moving back to the comedy angle. There’s a lot of callbacks, but also a lot of stereotypes at the cost of Canadians. But they seem funny. How did you want to make sure that the whole movie didn’t just turn into a Canuck roast fest?
Heffernan: I think one thing we did was cast a bunch of real Canadians in some parts, like Will Sasso, Tyler Labine, and a few others. They brought their own kind of humour and thoughts about growing up in Canada. They brought that to the table and it makes it feel more authentic to us. It makes it feel like they make for better nemeses and better characters in the movie.
Chandrasekhar: Yeah, Canadians have always been portrayed in American films as these really nice guys and women up north. And they're like, oh gosh, gee wiz, oh sorry. But if you hang out in Canada, Vancouver or Montreal after midnight once they get a little beer in them, you'll see some types. You'll see the tough hockey part of Canada and we wanted to be one of the few films to show that side. We don't make donut jokes with our cops, and we made one nod to the polite Canadian with Bruce McCulloch before heading into the other side of Canada. So we're trying to show nuance.
Lemme: If you watch what we say as the Super Troopers, our stuff is really just basically Canadian stereotypes, which is what all ugly Americans know. But when the Canadians come back at us, it's really pointed, accurate put downs that are legitimate critiques on American society. Like gun control laws, and obesity, so I love it when Canadians start coming back at Americans, because it's really really good material.
So what’s a favourite Canadian on USA dig of yours?
Lemme: My favourite one is based on a true experience and revolves around Canadians that have their on misconceptions. For one, they claim that they burnt down the white house in the war of 1812. And surprise! We're actually educated, and so when we heard that we were like, what? That's not in our history books! And then if you go and look it up it's actually the British that burned down the White House, but they just happened to be renting Canadian land basically. The Canadians are taking credit for burning down our White House. (laughs)
Canadian vs. USA shit aside. You managed to bring in a lot of other guest stars and major faces to keep the fan service of Super Troopers alive, including Rob Lowe.
Lemme: He was dreamy! He's a professional and he's gorgeous! You find yourself doing a scene with him and you're like, holy crap, it's Rob Lowe!
What about everyone else? Feel free to chime in.
Lemme: It's funny, because it's like, multiple guy phoners are awkward in that way. We don't want to stomp on what anyone else is saying, we're being very polite and letting everyone speak.
Don’t be polite.
Heffernan: Don't be polite? Alright, Rob Lowe's a fucking dick! (laughs) Don't print that!
I won’t. (Editor’s note: he will.)
Lemme: But seriously, all the movies we've made, we get the opportunity to work with people that we've grown up watching, whether it's Bill Paxton, Michael Clarke Duncan or whoever, and now it's Rob Lowe. It's amazing shit to see growing up in New York City. When The Outsiders came out, every single woman at every age was talking about how hot this guy Rob Lowe who played Soda Pop was. I've probably seen more Rob Lowe movies than anyone here, so just standing in a scene opposite him in a whorehouse setting, and looking into those baby blue eyes was completely surreal. And I found myself trembling when it was over.
You also had Lynda Carter, classic Wonder Woman huh ?
Chandrasekhar: We did! She was in our first film because we were really eager to get this 70s icon into our movie and she said yes, which we could barely believe. That we were actually in the same movie as freaking Wonder Woman. And of course, she came back for the next one because we got to be really great friends with her and she's got a really funny, dirty and wild sense of humour and she fit absolutely nicely with us.
Lemme: But let me say, we're far more susceptible to man crushes then we are to woman crushes and that's just the truth.
Heffernan: Easy Steve, easssyyy
So it’s 4/20, most of your fans are of course lovers of weed. What’s your take on weed legalization?
Chandrasekhar: I gotta tell ya, when California had a referendum on it, I thought about voting no because I like that weed was the rebellious thing to do. That was the great thing about it. It felt a little naughty (laughs). But the reason why I ultimately voted yes was an obvious in the sense that it’s no worse than alcohol. There's also no reason that cops and American citizens should be interacting in a negative way around weed. If we accept the same laws as alcohol, it's just logical. Everybody except for Jeff Sessions knows that.
Well in celebration of weed and 4/20, I gotta ask the most important question. If you had a chance to smoke a joint with any fictional or non-fictional character ever, who would it be?
Chandrasekhar: Gotta be Bill Clinton right?! He's a big weed smoker obviously. I bet he would inhale if he hung out with me!
Heffernan: I would like to smoke weed with uhhh, Jim McMahon of the Chicago Bears because I just love Jim McMahon from the Chicago Bears.
Lemme: I would like to get stoned with Mick Jagger and Danny Zuko from Grease as portrayed by John Travolta. I know that's two guys, but that's my answer.
Stolhanske: I would like to smoke with David Gilmour of Pink Floyd.
Lemme: Ooooooo (laughs)
Stolhanske: I'd like to know how he played and engineered some of that sound and rips on The Dark Side of the Moon and some of those great songs.
What about some fictional people, I’m going for Yoda here. The guy is already deep without the need for weed. Just imagine.
Chandrasekhar: Oooo, that's a good one, you want fictional huh?
Lemme: What about Danny Zuko, he's not fictional? (laughs)
Yeah he’s pretty fictional. What about everyone else?
Heffernan: Uuuh, I would like to smoke weed with Phoebe Cates character from Fast Times at Ridgemont High!
Lemme: Man, I say fuck Yoda! Get inside that Darth Vader helmet, put some smoke in there, and just box that shit in there with Vadar himself.
Heffernan: Really good, can't top that one. We're going with Darth Vadar helmet.
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