John Mulaney, Nick Kroll preview the Spirit Awards: 'There'll be political humor, but it'll be about Robert Mugabe'
'Due to an engraving error, there will be an award for 'Moonstruck',' Mulaney says
Hot off of their Oh, Hello on Broadway, which wrapped in January, Nick Kroll (Kroll Show, The League) and John Mulaney (John Mulaney: The Comeback Kid, Saturday Night Live) are hosting Saturday’s Film Independent Spirit Awards. Handed out the day before the Oscars, the ceremony is notoriously a more laidback affair, held in a tent on the beach in Santa Monica, Cal.
The duo, who say they’ve also filmed an Oh, Hello show that will debut later this year, as well as the Netflix animated series Big Mouth, are following in the hosting footsteps of Andy Samberg, Sarah Silverman, Fred Armisen and Kristen Bell, Eddie Izzard, and most notably John Waters, among others.
Read on for their hilarious and, for the most part, not at all serious tease of what to expect from the show, some of which delightfully involves Cher and Nic Cage (looking at you, Moonstruck fans).
A good-looking pair onstage, with some beefed-up Wikipedia pages…
As of Friday morning, Kroll and Mulaney still had, um, work to do. “By this evening, we’ll probably have to start writing some of the show,” quips Mulaney, but that’s not to say they haven’t put in work already. “Right now, we’re kind of looking at each other’s faces and…saying to each other, ‘Oh, you’re good looking…You’re going to look good on camera. You’re going to look good onstage,’ so we’ve been spending the last couple weeks building each other up in that way,” says Kroll. Adds Mulaney, “Also, in case some big stars don’t know who we are when we’re hosting, we’re furiously scrubbing our Wikipedias in case they look us up.”
…who are stoked to be hosting, but have their sights set on another gig.
“We’re very excited to host the Spirit Awards, but in a perfect world we’d be hosting the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony,” Kroll jokes. “There never per capita have been more tinted glasses in one room than that banquet hall.” Now, that’s the dream, but this is the Spirit Awards we’re talking about here, and the pair is anticipating some blunders. “I’m looking forward to someone who forgot that they took a painkiller and decided to have a drink and then [makes] a speech,” Kroll jokes. “If someone does that then we’re all winners.” As for Mulaney, “I’m looking forward to all the struggling with reading glasses.”
Political humor, though it won’t be directed at who you think.
“There’ll be political humor, but it’ll be about Robert Mugabe,” explains Mulaney, then imagining what the 93-year-old Zimbabwe president could be doing now. “Wherever he is, he’s having the time of his life.” Kroll took it a step further: “And he’s wearing very brightly colored jackets, a lot of big prints on his blazers, so we’ll do a chunk of about 10 on Mugabe.” That chunk, Mulaney adds, will be “very pro-Mugabe” because of “the stability he claims he brought.” Why Mugabe, you ask? “We just can’t find a comedic take on the American president,” Mulaney details of the figure who has very much been at the center of awards season (here’s just one example). “There’s just not much there.” However, Kroll adds: “We might go after the movie The American President.”
Lots of love for Loving, whether it wins or not.
Kroll plays lawyer Bernie Cohen in Loving, which is nominated for two of Saturday’s awards: Jeff Nichols for Best Director and Ruth Negga for Best Female Lead. (For a full nominations list, head here.) “I’m so proud to be a part of Loving and I might just announce that Jeff and Ruth and Joel [Edgerton] won with random envelopes throughout the show,” Kroll says. “I think Jeff made such a beautiful movie and Ruth and Joel gave unbelievable performances and the fact that I won a raffle to be in the movie is just a testament to the American…” He trails off, then Mulaney jumps in. “Well, it wasn’t even a raffle,” he clarifies. “It was a Kickstarter and you donated enough to get to that level.” So THAT’s how casting works these days…
Unexpected attention for Moonlight Moonstruck.
Moonlight already won the Robert Altman Award (Best Ensemble) and is also up for Best Feature, Director, Screenplay, Cinematography, and Editing, and from what Mulaney has to say, it sounds like another similarly titled movie could accidentally be taking home an award meant for the Barry Jenkins drama. “Due to an engraving error, there will be an award for Moonstruck,” he says. “It’s a mistake, but we’re going to give it to Cher.” Even better, Kroll adds, “I guess Nic Cage is going to be there…he’ll be on a running motorcycle throughout.”
As for other surprises, Kroll thinks 2006’s Little Miss Sunshine and 2007’s Juno stand a good chance to win this year, and he also has some very important thoughts on the statues that will be handed out. “If you’ve never seen an Indie Spirit award, it looks like a flying squirrel,” he says. “It genuinely does look like one of the weapons they would use in Clue.” Time to get playing, it seems.
The Film Independent Spirit Awards will air live on IFC on Saturday at 5 p.m. ET.