Erik Stolhanske (born August 23, 1968) is an American actor, writer, and producer, and one of the members of the Broken Lizard comedy group. He is best known as “Officer Rabbit” from the 2001 cult-classic comedy Super Troopers and the 2018 sequel Super Troopers 2.
As one of the five principal members of the famed sketch comedy troupe, he has starred in all of the Broken Lizard films including Beerfest (2006), The Slammin’ Salmon (2009), Club Dread (2004), and Puddle Cruiser, as well as performed in The Sweetest Thing (2002) and The Onion Movie (2008). On television, he can be seen on the HBO critically acclaimed series Curb Your Enthusiasm and Six Feet Under, as well as the Comedy Central special Broken Lizard Stands Up.
Erik has a uniquely motivating and inspiring message having been born without a fibula. Despite his disability, he has overcome the challenges to become a popular actor in Hollywood. He has even been featured on the popular P90X training videos in an inspirationally motivating workout series on Plyometrics, alongside Tony Horton, trainer to rock stars such as Tom Petty, Stevie Nicks, and Bruce Springsteen. He is currently in development on two projects with the Broken Lizard Group, one being Super Troopers 3.
Born August 23, 1968 in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Erik is Swedish, Norwegian and Native American in descent. Captain of the baseball team in high school, he has always been athletic by nature and driven to persevere, despite the obstacles. Stolhanske was born without a fibula and wears a prosthetic below the knee on his right leg. He uses his poignant and often humorous story speaking to audiences across the country of the importance of perseverance, even when the odds are stacked against you. He married his wife Barbara Slade on December 5, 2008. Erik is a Virgo.
After graduating, he moved to New York City where he attended the William Esper Studio for two years, receiving formal training in acting and theater arts. He then spent a year training with Wynn Handman, director and acting teacher responsible for shaping the careers of Dustin Hoffman, Faya Dunaway, Richard Gere and other stars at the influential American Place Theater in Manhattan.
Erik has written, produced and starred in all the Broken Lizard comedies, including Super Troopers 3 (in the works). Together, they collaborate on the screen-writing, acting and productions of all their films.
He has worked alongside a number of Academy Award-winning actors and nominees from Cloris Leachman to Donald Sutherland and Michael Clarke Duncan. He acted alongside Golden Globe winner Brian Cox in Super Troopers and Super Troopers 2. He also starred opposite Rob Lowe in Super Troopers 2 and Bill Paxton in Club Dread.
He is amongst Hollywood’s top comedic actors, known to have worked with Jim Gaffigan, Will Forte, and Johnny Knoxville. Stolhanske has co-written various screenplays, including one with NFL star Jared Allen of the Minnesota Vikings.
In 1994, the Broken Lizard Group wrote and starred in the comedy short Tinfoil Monkey Agenda – about a staged hoax in which the U.S. invades the small South American country of Palogna, directed by Kevin Cooper. It earned them a trip to the Ft. Lauderdale Film Festival, and cemented in the group’s minds that they should be creating full-length feature films.
Their 1996 film Puddle Cruiser, where Erik plays “Freaky Reaky,” was their first full-length film and premiered at the Hamptons Film Festival, where it won the Grand Prize for “Best Film”. It then went on to screen at Sundance Film Festival, South by Southwest, and the London International Film Festival, securing official selections at the Berlin and London Film Festivals. The movie was filmed entirely on the campus of Colgate University.
The group put together the script for their first wide-release feature movie Super Troopers, (shot in 2000), which portrays rural highway patrolmen as regular guys desperate to make their jobs entertaining. The film was invited to Sundance, where raucous screenings earned it a distribution deal with Fox Searchlight Pictures, a unit of 20th Century Fox. The film was released in February 2002, and has since developed a growing cult following over the years.
Fox Searchlight financed and distributed the group’s next feature, Club Dread (2004), a parody of slasher films that takes place at an idyllic tropical resort. It was here that Erik garnered the wildly-known title “Fun Police” after his role as Sam, in charge of games and activities on the island.
After Chandrasekhar directed The Dukes of Hazzard for Warner Bros., Broken Lizard was offered a deal with the studio. This relationship resulted in the group’s fourth feature, Beerfest (2006), about two brothers (played by Erik Stolhanske and Paul Soter) who discover an underground Oktoberfest beer-drinking Olympics and assemble a team to compete.
In 2009, Stolhanske played Guy “Meat Drapes” Metdrapedes in the comedy film The Slammin’ Salmon by Broken Lizard. In the film, former Heavyweight Champion of the World, Cleon “Slammin” Salmon played by Michael Clarke Duncan, is the celebrity owner of high-end Miami seafood restaurant, Stolhanske’s comedic talents are on full display as Guy, an arrogant waiter who rightfully gets his comeuppance in the end.
Using the crowd-sourcing site Indiegogo, Broken Lizard raised more than $4.5m from fans to make Super Troopers 2–the sequel to Super Troopers. The movie was released by Fox Searchlight in theaters nationwide on April 20th, 2018. And on Friday, April 20th, 2018, Super Troopers 2 was the #1 movie in America.
On television, Erik can be seen on Larry David‘s critically acclaimed HBO series, Curb Your Enthusiasm, where he made a cameo as “Sven Johnson” in ‘The 5 Wood’ in 2004, and in the Six Feet Under episode ‘In Place of Anger‘ in 2002. He also stars in the Comedy Central special Broken Lizard Stands Up (2010) as one of the five principal members of the famed Broken Lizard sketch comedy troupe.
Erik is a regular motivational speaker offering inspirational messages and comedic wisdom to all branches of the military, including the Air Force, Army, Navy, and Marines, students of Colgate University, and NASCAR.
Dedicated to giving back to national American veterans’ groups, Erik is an honored member of the DAV (Disabled American Veterans) association. He serves as celebrity ambassador at their annual Snowmass skiing event where he participates with fellow celebrity talent to offer encouragement and inspiration to wounded veterans. Additionally, Stolhanske is dedicated to working with the Wounded Warrior Project assisting and rehabilitating veterans.
In 2012, he returned to his Alma Mater, Colgate University, to share the inspirational story of his career and rise to fame. He is fondly remembered to have been running up and down the aisles of the Love Auditorium, high-fiving students. Stolhanske joked that “like a tree, you could measure my growth by the rings around my ankle.”
Stolhanske often tells his audience that his advice for life is “to take chances and not let your own personal ‘wooden leg’ keep your dreams in check.” In lieu of following the motto, “the grass is always greener,” he urges students to “jump that fence, check it out, and see what the grass is like.” Without his “foolish perseverance, irrational determination, and sheer delusion,” Stolhanske does not believe he would have ever made it to where he is today. His humor keeps audiences captivated, as does his poignant story about what it was like to grow up with a disability.