The Eric Andre Show? Yep, he’s for real. Eric Andre, a former sitcom actor who created this late night talk show in 2012, shooting it in an abandoned California bodega, is now beginning his fourth season on the late night Adult Swim cable network. Actually, comparing The Eric Andre Show to a regular talk show is like comparing schizophrenia to a head cold.
The program is an antic purge of unrestrained comic effluvia; an open, oozing sore of bruising pratfalls, twitchy one-liners, and public debasements; it’s what might have happened if you’d crossed Dadaism with Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In, minus the politics and the prime time censorship. It’s rude and crude and yes, frequently bleeped, but it’s also hilarious, brilliantly unhinged, shocking and perhaps even dangerous. It’s like watching an adolescent afflicted with ADHD and Tourette’s having unprotected sex with a donkey.
The show is stylized to look like a cheap, tasteless remnant from a 1980s public access channel, with crappy sets, graphics and costumes, and backed by a band you might find working a Red Lion in Tulsa. Andre starts each show by demolishing his desk (and sometimes setting fire to it), tackling band members, weeping uncontrollably, threatening to stab himself while wearing a diaper, vomiting, screaming or sometimes knocking himself out. The show then proceeds without any discernible sense of logic.
Guests (some real, some impersonating celebrities such as Reese Witherspoon or George Clooney) come on to have Andre and his co-host, comedian Hannibal Burres (who can also be seen on Comedy Central’s Broad City), humiliate them. Commercial breaks are not commercials at all, but black-out sketches featuring Andre in bizarre costumes flamethrowing an unsuspecting public with unexpurgated jolts of insanity. He is often chased out of buildings, escorted from outdoor cafes, called unspeakable things by citizens and threatened with bodily harm and, no doubt, lawsuits.
When we are returned to his set, he acts like nothing has happened. Burres looks on bemused, the band spits out fragments of frantic jazz, and Andre – his hair a frazzle of steel wool, his suits like something off the Goodwill clown rack – rattles off another stream of non-sequiters. And all of this in episodes that last no more than 12 minutes.
I think it is safe to say The Eric Andre Show not only preaches a “safety last” mantra, but it’s also a one-of-a-kind experience. See it to believe it.