A lot of weird stuff happened at the RNC this year. Republicans cried doom and called the military’s competence into question; Scott Baio addressed a crowd at a political convention; a political nihilist was nominated by a conservative party.
And yet, as usual, comedian Eric Andre out-weirded them all.
A self-described “Muppet”—an appearance he attributes to his half-Haitian, half-Jewish parentage—Andre is the host of The Eric Andre Show, which will begin its fourth season on Adult Swim on Thursday, August 4. And if the above video is any indication, it’s not for everyone.
Andre, who grew up in Boca Raton, Florida, dropped out of Berklee School of Music in Boston, before moving to New York to pursue a career in comedy. The irony of a Jew going from Boca to New York, rather than the reverse, isn’t lost on him, as you’ll see below in his interview with Joan Rivers. That’s where he met many of his current writing partners and collaborators, and it’s also where he honed his unique comedic sensibility that allows him to say things to Joan Rivers like, “I fart during sex… I’m just joking, I’m a virgin.”
Andre takes cues from programs like Space Ghost Coast to Coast, Comedy Bang! Bang!, and Tim & Eric, as the host of a fake talk show that deals in the absurd and the macabre. Each episode begins with Andre destroying the low-rent, public access talk show-grade set, prompting a PA to quickly run into the shot and replace the broken furniture. From there, Andre and his increasingly more famous sidekick Hannibal Buress (Broad City), freak out D-list celebrities under the guise of an interview, asking absurd questions, being unnecessarily abrasive, and cutting them off in the middle of their answers. Some are prepared for it; some, like Lauren Conrad (of The Hills fame), are not.
But this is the Adult Swim aesthetic, generally. Weird to the point of being beyond comprehension, which is funny more often than not, and occasionally brilliant.
Likewise, The Eric Andre Show is an “anti-talk show,” an indirect repudiation of the current M.O. of late night hosts like James Corden and Jimmy Fallon and the inanity of another Carpool Karaoke or Wheel of Musical Impressions, those aforementioned hosts’ favorite segments. He undercuts the very idea that everyone who appears on talks shows are chummy, interesting people who just happened to stop by the show, unmotivated by any material gain. By allowing his flummoxed guests to plug their projects through his absurdity, he’s exposing the seams.
Of course, Andre himself appears on Conan, and he doesn’t take himself seriously enough to hold a sustained, holier-than-thou critique. The number one goal of the show is just to be funny, which it frequently is. And even though I don’t think I’ll see anything as absurd as Bernie Sanders supporters booing Elizabeth Warren, Andre’s DNC adventures come pretty close to topping that.
Jesse Bernstein is a former Intern at Tablet.