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Jay Chandrasekhar, super trouper

A big name in show biz

Jay Chandrasekhar as syrup-chugging state trooper Arcot Ramathorn in Super Troopers. Photo credit: Jay-Chandrasekhar.com

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Comic multi-talent Jay Chandrasekhar is a man of three divine names. His last name, pronounced "Chan-drah-SAY-kahr," is Sanskrit for "Moon Crown" and was an incarnation of Shiva the destroyer. His first name is an abbreviation for Jayanth, Tamil for "victorious." But the real standout is his middle name, Jambulingam, Tamil for "large penis." "I only found this out when I was 25," Chandrasekhar recalled to NPR, "All these years growing up an Indian kid, it would've been helpful to have known that."

A standup comic since his undergraduate days, Chandrasekhar is almost certainly best known as a member of improvisational-comedy troupe Broken Lizard. The troupe raised $160,000 to make a comedy film about college, Puddle Cruiser, in 1996. Largely forgotten now, that film led to a certified stoner favorite, Super Troopers. Chandrasekhar not only directed the film but costarred as Vermont state trooper Arcot "Thorny" Ramathorn, master of syrup-chugging. (He asks that he please be allowed to retire from future syrup-chugging challenges, which haunt him to this day.) Troopers' script was inspired by numerous times in Chandrasekhar's youth when he was pulled over, high on grass. Super Troopers bombed with critics and its $18.5 million domestic gross didn't bode well for a shelf life, but it's since become required viewing for any fan of silly comedy who isn't a Baptist minister or Jeff Sessions.

Broken Lizard has since produced five other films (including two not directed by Chandrasekhar). Meanwhile, Mr. Moon Crown established himself as a TV director of note, helming popular episodes of Undeclared, Arrested Development, Chuck and Community. Broken Lizard's first sequel, Super Troopers 2, crowdfunded by a massively successful Indiegogo campaign, hits theaters on -- when else? -- 4/20/2018. "We pick up a couple of years in the future," Chandrasekhar explains via email. "The characters are pretty much the same, just with all-new jokes and much bigger mustaches."

Catch Chandrasekhar doing standup in Tacoma this weekend. Next year, his plans include touring with Broken Lizard in support of the sequel. He says he'll occasionally "fake autograph" popular actors' head shots and send them to fellow lizard Steve Lemme. "A week later," he says, "Steve will walk into a meeting, bragging about how much Patrick Swayze loves him. Good fun."

JAY CHANDRASEKHAR, 8 p.m., Thursday, Dec. 14; 7:30 and 10:30 p.m., Friday-Saturday, Dec. 15-16, Tacoma Comedy Club, 933 Market St., Tacoma, $16-$33, 253.282.7203, tacomacomedyclub.com

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