The following is a list of things you can probably expect to see in any given episode of The Eric Andre Show.
– Eric Andre hurtling himself into the backdrop of his set.
– Eric Andre tackling his drummer.
– Eric Andre throwing himself through any furniture in the area.
– Eric Andre running around the set nude.
– Eric Andre punching a cop, then ripping his chest open to eat scrambled eggs.
– Eric Andre with turkeys for hands in a demonic possessed state.
– Eric Andre salsa dancing with a partner, then throwing her through his desk.
Oh yeah, and that’s just in the first 30-45 seconds of each episode.
It’s difficult to describe what the show is to people, because it’s definitely not as simple as describing as a faux talk show. Here’s the premise as simply as can be put: Eric Andre plays himself as an incredibly inept public access talk show host. It doesn’t stop there though, as the guests he has on aren’t always the actual person. For example, Russell Brand is played by a homeless old black man, and a young black man shows up in a blonde wig as Reese Witherspoon. Celebrity impersonators of George Clooney and Jack Nicholson will appear as their doppelgangers and participate in low-rent late-night games like “The Coffee Challenge” and “What If It Was Purple?”. Joining as his co-host is comedian Hannibal Buress, and he’s a perfect laid-back foil to the insanity of Andre. He spends most of each episode berating Andre, then eerily standing behind the guests while they are being interviewed, interjecting with thoughts that range from deep to pot-induced. Just as Andre spends the opening credits tearing down his own talk show set then replacing it, he’s also dismantling every notion of the talk show and repurposing it to his zany means.
Sometimes Eric Andre will actually get a real celebrity to appear on his show, but what’s great is that most of them aren’t in on the joke and are totally clueless to what they’re walking into. Some of them are though, and show up ready to get silly — this is a show that wheeled out Chance the Rapper in a giant coffee mug. The ones that don’t know what’s going on wear a look of borderline horror, realizing that they are about to have the most uncomfortable interview of their life. It should be pointed out that Eric Andre isn’t out to make fun of or insult them — he’s not seeking comedy through cruelty with them. What he does do is create an awkward environment from his ineptitude as a talk show host to create comedic friction between himself and his guests. Sometimes he’ll even casually ask them about off-topic important issues to add to the uncomfortable tension — he asks Maria Menounos if she thinks we should be drone-bombing Pakistan, and the season 3 premiere finds him asking Seth Rogen “Do you think we should Chinese-castrate Woody Allen so he’ll stop jerking off to his ex-kids?”.
On top of all that, in between the interviews, segments run of Eric Andre doing unbelievably outrageous and provocative sketches in public that become their own manic form of performance art. In one episode, he stands outside a Whole Foods and asks people to sign a petition to “Kill the Whales”. He runs through a nudist colony in a tuxedo, and runs through a civil war reenactment dressed as an escaped slave. A lot of these sketches involve him vomiting in public. A personal favorite is “Bird Up!” — just watch it, as one can’t be prepped for this sketch. Sometimes he actually touches on societal satire, as one sketch finds him and his buddies rushing towards members of a Tea Party convention handing out klan-hoods, white power signs and confederate flags, politely telling the members that they “forgot them”. In case you’re wondering, yes, Andre has gone to jail once because of a sketch. If there is a line, Eric Andre not only crosses it, he picks it up and runs with it all the way around the world and back.
Let’s just put the show this way: this is the only show on television to make me laugh so hard that I sweat. It’s beyond absurdist humor and shock humor, it is completely its own creation of comedy. It’s safe to say that there is no other program like this on television, and with the 3rd season having started just on November 6th on Adult Swim – with Andre sporting a Katt Williams hairdo – it shows no signs of slowing down.