As one of the five principal members of the famed Broken Lizard sketch comedy troupe -- those bad boys responsible for Puddle Cruiser (1996), Super Troopers (2001), Club Dread (2003), and Beerfest (2006) -- Erik Stolhanske is perhaps most notorious as the Lizardian who sodomized an irate grizzly bear onscreen, in Super Troopers. It was actually an artificial bear masquerading as a live specimen, but no matter: that moment of below-the-belt schtick grabbed the audience's attention with both hands and gave Stolhanske an immortal piece of cinematic history as one of the only mainstream actors gutsy enough to go to such lengths for a laugh.
Stolhanske was born four months after his fellow Lizardian (and frequent screen director) Jay Chandrasekhar, on August 23, 1968, in Minneapolis, Minnesota. After high school graduation, he attended Colgate University, where he met Chandrasekhar, Steve Lemme, Paul Soter and Kevin Heffernan; the five -- all members of the Beta Theta Pi fraternity -- discovered a shared interest in sketch comedy, and formed a performance troupe that they christened "Charred Goosebeak," which performed frequently onstage, starting in Manhattan in 1991. They later changed their name to "Broken Lizard."
The four aforementioned "official" Broken Lizard vehicles followed, along with a fifth "unofficial" outing, 2005's the Chandrasekhar-helmed Dukes of Hazzard, starring Burt Reynolds, Seann William Scott, Johnny Knoxville and Jessica Simpson, alongside Stolhanske and the others in supporting roles. Stolhanske portrayed Freaky Reaky in Puddle, Rabbit in Troopers, Sam in Club Dread, Campus Cop #2 in Hazzard and Todd Wolfhouse in Beerfest.
Though Chandrasekhar almost always directs and Heffernan edits on occasion, Stolhanske (like Soter and Lemme) merely acts in and co-writes the features; however, Stolhanske has built something of a career for himself outside of Lizard. He is a key contributor to the upcoming sketch comedy feature The Untitled Onion Movie, from the tongue-in-cheek news source The Onion, that satirical hotbed of deadpan, black-as-coal spins on current events. Along with the other Lizardians, Stolhanske provides a voice to Paul Hernandez's 2005 animated feature Instant Karma, alongside Dom DeLuise, Burt Reynolds and Mira Sorvino.