At 75 years of age, schlockmaster-in-chief Lloyd Kaufman is still as spry, wry, and sly as ever. Having carved out a long and storied career as a purveyor of low-class, high-irony, micro-budget masterpieces like The Class of Nuke’Em High and Surf Nazis Must Die, Kaufman now has a new offering for us: #ShakespearesShitstorm, a satirical gross-out gag-fest based on The Tempest. Kaufman not only co-writes and directs this one, he takes a leading role as Prospero, here reimagined as a pharmaceutical genius exiled to Tromaville, New Jersey after his morals get in the way of Big Pharma profiteering. It’s got more than a few things to say about the current state of affairs, but how can Troma’s cheerfully offensive brand of comedy thrive in our current offense-sensitive cultural climate?
Troma Entertainment has been around since 1974 and has weathered so many changes in the film industry. How are you handling the recent big upheavals, such as the pivot to streaming?
Well, the Troma model has changed in that we’ve been pushed deeper and deeper into the reeds of the underground due to the fact that the media world has become more and more consolidated. You have phone companies owning Warner Brothers and a cable company owning Universal Films and the company that makes Walkman or whatever they call them now, earphones, they own Columbia Pictures. So, you know, there’s a smaller group in control of everything we see here, and YouTube and Amazon are kicking off a lot of independent sources of art with an unfair double standard. So, we depend on our fans. We’ve always been fan fuelled. We have about a million fans and supporters over the world who go to our socials and to my fan site and Troma’s sites, so they keep us going.