Peter Spruyt is one of the most incredible people I’ve had the good fortune to meet.
Ten years ago, I knew little about Peter beyond the fact that he was hilarious as the sole audience member in my favorite episode of the short-lived Zach Galifianakis talk show Late World.
At a party after a comedy festival in Washington, DC in 2009, Peter and I ended up playing music together in a side room that happened to have a guitar and a piano — it was the highlight of the weekend for me.
That night, I mentioned to Peter that to help pay the bills while starting my comedy career in Portland, I’d done some construction work. It’s the kind of thing I wouldn’t have expected him to remember, but when I moved to Los Angeles two years later, Peter was quick to offer me work — in addition to being a regularly gigging actor, comedian, writer and director, he’s a very talented general contractor and handyman. I had a good time joining him on projects here and there over my first few years in Los Angeles. His dry wit, humility, unflappable positivity and incredible work ethic make him a delight to be around, and although I’d like to think he needed my help in order to get his jobs done, if I’m being honest with myself I have to admit he probably cared more about giving a little work to a fellow comic than having extra hands.
That’s the kind of person Peter is — he puts everyone else before himself. I can’t say this as effectively as his wife Suzanne Krull did when she emailed an invitation to his surprise birthday party last summer:
“My dear, sweet, amazing husband is having his 51st birthday soon. He NEVER wants to celebrate his birthday, he NEVER wants a gift and he NEVER treats himself to anything ever, ever, ever. If it were up to Peter, he would be wearing the same clothes he wore in college.
He always puts everyone else before himself and it’s time we all came together and celebrated the beauty, selflessness, generosity and big heart of this man.
I would say no gifts, because we will all be chipping in for dinner. However because he NEVER wants gifts or treats himself to any type of “thing” except for tools for work or new underwear that he just bought (I almost fell over from shock) I think it would be fun and only if you feel like it, to get him a little knick-knack thingy. No obligation at all!!!!! Or you can prepare a little something to say while toasting.
I really want this night to be all about him because it’s usually all about me and Harper. Fawn over him, dote on him, shower him with love and let’s all celebrate that this magnificent human being is in our lives.
Can’t wait to see you all and REMEMBER SHHHHHHH!”
A week later, before that party could happen, Suzanne passed away.
I can’t begin to imagine what Peter has gone through since then. All I can say with certainty is that the experience didn’t change any of the fundamental things that make him so special. His selflessness endures. Last summer, he brought up the idea of putting on a fundraiser in Suzanne’s memory. I assumed he meant that he wanted to raise money to help bring him and his young daughter out from underneath the mountain of debt that years of medical bills had saddled them with, but that’s not what he had in mind. He wanted to put together a show that would pay tribute to Suzanne’s legacy.
As Peter told me, Suzanne was always a champion of the underdog. His idea was to start an annual event in Suzanne’s honor that would raise funds for a different underserved charity every year — a cause that might not be fashionable or have a big-name spokesperson, but that needs help nonetheless. And so Krullapalooza was born (and believe me, it took some convincing to even have Peter let us attach Suzanne’s name to the event). The first installment of the show is happening April 1st at the Wiltern Theater at 3970 Wilshire Blvd. in Los Angeles, with Tig Notaro curating an incredible lineup of performers who have donated their time, including Zach Galifianakis, Patton Oswalt, Reggie Watts and Ian Harvie. All of the proceeds will go to benefit transgender youth advocacy through the nonprofit organization Survivors’ Truth.
So I’m encouraging all of you to come out to Krullapalooza on April 1st. Even without all this preamble, you should want to go because it’s a ridiculously good lineup for a comedy show, but when you take into account the positive impact that your money will have on Survivors’ Truth, and the fact that you’ll be paying tribute to the memory of Suzanne Krull and acknowledging the efforts of Peter Spruyt, it’s a no-brainer. So please come, and please ask your friends to come. And ask them to ask their friends to come.
You can buy tickets at krullapalooza.com