Three Great Things: Jay Chandrasekhar

The Broken Lizard comedian, whose new film as director, Easter Sunday, is out now in theaters, tees up a trio of favorites.

Three Great Things is Talkhouse’s series in which artists tell us about three things they absolutely love. To mark the current theatrical release of Easter Sunday, the new family comedy starring stand-up comedian Jo Koy, the film’s director and co-star Jay Chandrasekhar – best known for his work with Broken Lizard on movies like Super Troopers and Beerfest – shared some of the things he cares about most in life. — N.D.

48 HRS
My favorite film is 48 HRS, starring Eddie Murphy and Nick Nolte, because it has that incredible combination of being really funny, racy and forbidden, and also has stakes that are very real and violent. I would love to make a movie in that vein. The film’s director, Walter Hill, is more of a dramatic filmmaker, but he put Eddie Murphy in the middle of the movie and it created a combination that’s hard to replicate.

I was a big Eddie Murphy fan as a kid; the whole country loved him from Saturday Night Live. When I was 15 years old, I convinced my dad to drive me downtown to get us three tickets to see Eddie Murphy’s Delirious. I sat in the back row of the theater and thought, “This is a job?!” So when that movie came out, I said, “I’ve got to go.” And, of course, I loved it and it gripped me from the very start.

Nick Nolte and Eddie Murphy in 48 HRS.

On 48 HRS, Walter Hill clearly knew exactly what tone he was going for, and it’s a critical thing for the filmmaker to know what movie they’re making. The tone has to be pure. I’ve not made films as dark as 48 HRS, but there’s a specific tone for each film I make and if some of the jokes don’t fit that tone, I’ll cut them.

My film The Babymakers, which has a heist in the middle of it, is probably the closest tonally to 48 HRS, but soon I’m going to make a movie in the tradition of 48 HRS and Midnight Run, because that’s the kind of film I’m most excited about. I want to make something with real life-or-death stakes, violence and big action, and lots of character-driven jokes.

Vouch Vault
I just launched an app called Vouch Vault. I built it as a “revenge machine” against Rotten Tomatoes, because I feel like comedies and horror movies aren’t being represented properly. I’ve basically created the Instagram of recommendations. If you download Vouch Vault and follow me, you’ll see that I love Reservoir Dogs, 48 HRS, Midnight Run, the Rolling Stones, Outlaw Country, Tesla cars, etc. You can put anything you love on there. The app creates a positive experience that seeks to counteract Yelp and Amazon reviews, because everything that’s recommended is either from people you know personally or a celebrity you follow. But the best version of it is you and five friends on there, recommending movies and books and restaurants to each other.

What’s cool about what we’ve built is that if someone you follow, like my friend Maria Menounos, recommends a film you’ve never seen that sounds interesting, you can click on it and add it to your Try Vault. So if it’s a Friday night and you’re thinking, “What should I watch?” you can just look in your Try Vault and see what you marked for later that sounded cool, whether it’s television shows or movies. And obviously you can also do it for books, restaurants, etc.

At the core of Vouch Vault’s premise is the idea that although reviewers are often thoughtful and write interesting stuff about movies, at the end of the day, they’re strangers to you. And when’s the last time you walked up to a stranger and said, “Hey, what movie should I watch?” The key here is positivity: You don’t go to a dinner party and say, “Hey, what movie sucks? What shouldn’t I see?” You just want to know what the good stuff is. So I want to be the change that moves the conversation in that direction.

I play golf seven days a week and I’ve become a total golf addict. It’s sort of like physical chess – it’s constantly changing. You have 11 different clubs and you can use them in different ways. As much as people try to say golf is not really a sport, it absolutely is. After playing, I’m sweating and sore. I can hit the ball really far, so it’s very satisfying. And then one’s short game has to be super subtle. It’s a tremendous game.

Golf is the true love of my life, and I’ve already started developing the second and third best golf movies of all time. Caddyshack is obviously the best. At the moment, I’m reading Cinderella Story, the book about the making of Caddyshack, which is incredible.

I started playing golf when I was 12 and became instantly addicted. I’m now in the middle of the fourth major golf addiction of my life, and I’m not letting go. It’s difficult to play every day, but when I’m really in the middle of shooting, I’ll sometimes just run by the golf club and play two holes. Sometimes I can tee off at 6 a.m. and play four holes. I figure out a way to do it.

I am constantly creating theories about what I can tweak to improve my swing. I think about it at night and I dream about it and I mull it over. So even if it’s just 15 minutes of hitting balls, I need that time every day so I can say, “Yeah, this is the theory, and it’s working.”

Featured image shows Jay Chandrasekhar with actor Lydia Gaston on the set of Easter Sunday.

Jay Chandrasekhar’s new movie as director, Easter Sunday, in which he also plays a supporting role, is now in theaters. Chandrasekhar is an American comedian, film director, screenwriter and actor best known for his work with the sketch comedy troupe Broken Lizard, directing and starring in the group’s films, including Super Troopers, Club Dread, Beerfest and Super Troopers 2. He is also a prolific director for television, helming episodes of shows such as Community, Chuck, Psych, Arrested Development, Fresh Off the Boat, New Girl, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, Superstore and The Goldbergs.