Eric Andre on Making Comedy Between Trips to Jail and the Hospital
The unpredictable Eric Andre talks stunts, injuries, and dream guests on the topic of his show’s upcoming season.
One of the most consistently alarming, yet hilarious shows on television at the moment is The Eric Andre Show, Eric Andre’s nightmare version of a public access talk show. With the talk show landscape shifting in the past few years, many people overlook Adult Swim’s absurd take on the format led by Andre and Hannibal Buress. The extreme gauntlet that Andre puts himself through each season is unbelievable. His treatment of guests, people on the street, and sanity in general is one of the most surprising things on Adult Swim, and the latest season hits even crazier heights. I spoke with Eric about pushing the limits, his “white whale” of a sketch, ranch, and a whole lot more.
DEN OF GEEK: You’ve done some truly ridiculous stunts throughout the course of the series, but is there a certain “white whale” that you haven’t been able to pull off?
ERIC ANDRE: It’s more so a situation of a “white whale” regarding guests. We’ve come close to booking Jay Leno on the show. We’ve gotten close to getting Katt Williams. There’s also a lot of stuff that’s just out of our price range that we’ve wanted to do. We wanted to do an underwater version of the set destruction intro of the show. There’s a famous underwater scene in this Val Kilmer movie, Top Secret, that we thought would be funny if we did our version of that. We came close to doing it two years in a row. We even went as far as having a tank in the outskirts of Los Angeles county where we were going to get all this scuba gear and diving and crane operators; all of these underwater stunt performers. But it’s just so expensive and so time consuming that it’s not worth sacrificing a million other things for just fifty seconds. That’s the “white whale”!
Does doing an episode in some crazy on location fall under the same obstacles?
Yeah, it’s something we’ve constantly talked about, but it’s just the money and working out the travel. I wrote an [Adult Swim] Infomercial special a while ago—I just haven’t had time to produce it—and I want to do it in Africa. But it’s just too expensive. We’re also operating with an M rating, and on basic cable, so it’s all sorts of things.
You’ve been taken away by cops before in some of your “on the street” sketches. How out of hand have things gotten?
I got arrested! I’ve been arrested and went to jail in season one. I almost got arrested this season, so it gets pretty hairy sometimes.
Is there a particular sketch or gag from the show that makes you laugh especially hard?
It’s always something very stupid like someone mis-speaking or stuttering. It’s never a big moment. It depends on my mood. They’re all my babies.
I loved the “New Years Eve Spooktacular” Special that you guys did. Any interest in doing something like that again?
I don’t think I’d do that again because shooting on that live-to-tape format is kind of difficult. I think you can fit in more jokes per square inch in something that’s heavily edited. I would do an infomercial or something like that though.
You mentioned your dream guests for the show, but who has reacted the worst on the program? Jack McBrayer this season is a great mark.
We’ve had two people walk off. Last year Lauren Conrad walked off and was really hostile afterwards. And this year we had T.I. walk off, but he had just had enough. Lauren Conrad was wanting blood afterwards.
I’m always impressed with how surreal your finales get and the limits that they push. Is it hard to top stuff like “Bird Up”? What’s planned this season?
I don’t know if I want to say anything, but there’s something big! Wait and see.
You always put yourself through a crazy makeover of sorts each season. What’s gone on this year?
I was going to shave male-pattern baldness into my dreadlocks, but that’s hard to do while still making it look real, and the whole point when I’m in people’s faces or in the street is that this looks real and not like a costume. So I just didn’t brush my hair the whole year. I didn’t cut my fingernails—I grew my fingernails as long as possible like Howard Hughes. I lost weight. I didn’t wear deodorant the entire season and I didn’t let the costume department wash my suit the entire season. I didn’t go out in the sun the entire year so I’d look as pale and gaunt as possible. I was trying to lose thirty pounds but I was just so hungry and miserable that it became too difficult to write comedy. So I gave up on that and only lost about seven pounds, but even that was a lot.
You truly go all out on this show—especially in the destruction intros—but what’s the most you’ve gotten hurt during the show?
The worst I ever got hurt was in season two. During the Vivica A. Fox interview I jumped on the desk and landed on my tailbone on the ground, which was solid concrete evidently. I shifted my spine kind of—like I landed in this way that had this domino ripple effect up my spine so my body was asymmetrical for the rest of the year. I was walking around all weird. Wait a second—I went to the fucking hospital this year! I got stitches in my hand. I busted my hand through a window this year doing a bit. I punched through a car window–in the bit I was supposed to like hail through a car window, but my entire hand went through the window and got sliced up. It was also during the first week of shooting so my fingers are like in weird silver finger casts for a lot of the street stuff. But yeah, that sucked.
Hard one now: Favorite ranch of choice? What do you hope to be hitting?
Does fat-free ranch even qualify as a ranch to you?
Gotta be fat-full ranch.
Season four of The Eric Andre Show begins airing on Adult Swim on August 5th at 11:59pm