“It’s the Paris Andre Show!”
The last time fans of The Eric Andre Show got a dose of new content was when the show’s fourth season concluded all the way back in October of 2016. While there have been rumors that a final fifth season is still in the pipeline, there’s been a severe drought of Eric Andre’s trademark brand of absurdity and the masses have been hungry for new material.
Eric Andre Does Paris might not be as satisfying as a full new season of the show, but it’s something, and The Eric Andre Show hopes that that will be enough for many of its wild fan base.
It’s definitely exciting to see Eric Andre move his routine over to Europe and explore his comedy on an international level, but unfortunately a lot of the stuff in this Special feels like it could be done in any normal episode. It almost feels like Eric Andre and Kitao Sakurai just busted out their iPhones while they were in Paris for a weekend.
None of the stunts in this entry feel like there is much planning or production values behind them. It’s possible that international laws prevented production from getting especially crazy, but this still feels pretty tame as far as The Eric Andre Show goes. If this is the first offering of the show that you’ve ever seen then this might seem inventive, but otherwise this is just an average Band-Aid to hold over eager audiences until a season five.
Eric Andre Does Paris features a bunch of the classic routines from the show’s repertoire, like incomprehensible man on the street interviews or staged scenes in the public that are meant to draw attention. It all makes for humorous material, but it’s relatively low-hanging fruit.
Why not extend these gags even further and actually have Eric do a few “in studio” interviews with French celebrities? The Special would get a lot more mileage out of Eric doing a full interview with someone who doesn’t understand where they are and does the entire interview in French.
At the same time, the prospect of feeding Eric lines in French and watching him perform a full interview in a foreign language would also hold a lot of potential. Even bringing out the show’s usual gang of “fake actors” but telling French pedestrians that they’re French celebrities like Gerard Depardieu would be an entertaining twist.
It might be a little unfair to hold this Special up to the standards and expectations of a regular installment of the show, but this simple adjustment would only enhance the humor that the Special strives to achieve. It might not have been possible, but it feels like a full 22-minute Special that’s padded out with indistinguishable French interviews could have helped make this a little more awesome.
On that note, the biggest thing that this episode gets out of shooting in Paris is that French locals speak in their native tongue while they’re perplexed by Eric’s questions. They’re not confused because Eric’s doing anything outrageous, but because they don’t understand what he’s saying to them.
This hardly has the same impact and it feels like the joke is more at them, which is never a great light. Other than hapless reactions in French, the show shoots at some iconic locations like the Notre Dame Cathedral or within view of the Eiffel Tower, but they never truly rise to the occasion.
It also doesn’t help that there’s no Hannibal in the installment, which cripples the Special in a significant way. I don’t need Hannibal in order for my Eric Andre Show to work, but he’s a welcome foil and personality for Eric to deflect off of.
It also feels like his laconic attitude would be a great counterpoint to confused French bystanders. Hannibal’s disappearance here might have been beyond the show’s control and come down to something as simply as scheduling, but it’s still a loss that’s very much felt.
The funniest gags within Eric Andre Does Paris are the piece where Eric fishes in the Sienne Canal and “catches” Hitler’s corpse or the skewed perspective visual where Eric “jerks off” the Eiffel Tower, which isn’t saying much. Why not have some of Eric’s flashier “characters” out in the open here, like his Ranch Bro or something like “The Octopus?” Even if people don’t understand what he’s saying, the visual is so absurd that the joke wouldn’t get lost in translation.
However, the few minutes that the Special spends in Africa are also a serious highlight and contain many of the installment’s best moments. It’s here where Eric truly seems the most out of his element and when things really seem to fly off the rails. It features the very best sort of “on the street insanity” that the show is capable of putting together.
This is the second time that The Eric Andre Show has done a one-off Special. Their previous attempt was with Eric Andre’s New Year’s Eve Spooktacular, which admittedly was a very different vehicle, but it was full of experimentation and ambition, which all culminates in a surreal finished product. Eric Andre Does Paris is not that. It’s the same shtick with a different backdrop, but that doesn’t mean that this still isn’t worth doing and that there isn’t fun to be had here.
It’s nice to have more Eric Andre Show, but this is hardly the show at its best or it trying its hardest (but perhaps that’s part of the joke here). Eric Andre Does Paris only works as a substitute and placeholder for new content, but it’s even harder to look at a lone 11 minutes that don’t segue into a new season or some sort of follow-up.
A “mini-series” in Paris would give this episode some context and reduce the lofty expectations set up around it, but as it stands it just sort of sticks out. Overall, some Eric Andre Show is better than no Eric Andre Show, so this Special is still a welcome treat, even if it’s not the show at its strongest.