‘Super Trooper’ Jay Chandrasekhar Returns With ‘R-rated’ Spoof ‘Quasi’ to Please His Cult Following
- At 54, the Indian American is no spring chicken. It remains to be seen if he and his Broken Lizard gang retain their comedic touch in the irreverent retelling of Hunchback of Notre Dame.
He is arguably the first Indian American to have a cult following in the American mainstream. Miraculous as it may seem, Jay Chandrasekhar retained that status for over three decades, even as the promising Kal Penn appeared on Hollywood’s stoner stage with the “Harold and Kumar” franchise and quickly faded, thanks to his political distractions.
Chandrasekhar is best known for his work as an actor and director in the comedy group Broken Lizard, which he co-founded in 1990 and doled out raunchy hits including “Super Troopers” and “Club Dread.” In fact, ”Super Troopers” became a cult classic, and Chandrasekhar’s character, Vermont State Trooper Arcot “Thorny” Ramathorn, became one of the most popular in the film. He also directed the group’s fourth film, “Beerfest” (2006).
While it started out performing live comedy sketches, Broken Lizard evolved into a serious production company. As it is declared on its website, it is a five-person comedy filmmaking group “devoted to intense sunshine, Floridian deep tissue massage, and the advanced study of keeping it realism.” They also made comedies like “Beerfest,” “Club Dread,” “The Slammin’ Salmon,” and “Puddle Cruiser.”
The 54-year-old comedian, actor and director, is back. He returns with a new hunch-back-in-love spoof titled, “Quasi.” It’s about a hapless hunchback who “yearns for love but finds himself in the middle of a murderous feud between the Pope and the king of France when each orders the hunchback to kill the other.” As a critic put it sardonically, it’s like “Hunchback of Notre Dame” getting an R-rated twist.”
“It’s silly, absurd, and very much in the wheelhouse of the Broken Lizard comedy. It probably doesn’t reinvent the wheel, and these guys sort of chug along doing their thing—never really making a substantial cultural dent these days, but still clearly making films that work for them and the studios’ profit margins—and so more power to them, honestly. They’ve found their niche and it works,” The Playlist says about “Quasi.”
The trailer of the racy film, costarring stars Jay Chandrasekhar, Kevin Heffernan, Steve Lemme, Paul Soter, Erik Stolhanske, and Adrianne Palicki, follows in the footsteps of Mel Brooks and Monty Python with a period satire based in medieval France. If the trailer is anything to go by, the film has a lot of gags that will draw comparisons to classics, such as “Robin Hood: Men in Tights” and the infamous “Monty Python and the Holy Grail,” according to JoBlo.
Disappointingly, however, “Quasi” will not be in movie theaters, but will be streamed on Hulu starting April 20. It will be the second period comedy for Hulu after “History of the World Part II,” a sequel to Mel Brooks’ 1981 comedy, “History of the World Part I.”
Chandrasekhar was born in Hinsdale, Illinois, and raised in the Chicago area. His parents were immigrants from India, and he grew up in a traditional Hindu household.
He attended Colgate University, where he met his future collaborators in Broken Lizard. They eventually moved to New York City and made their first feature film, “Puddle Cruiser,” in 1996. The film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and was picked up for distribution by Sony Pictures.
Chandrasekhar has been recognized for his work with Broken Lizard, including receiving the Comedy Vanguard Award at the 2006 Aspen Comedy Festival. He has also been a member of the Directors Guild of America since 2002.