The inertia in America’s late night talk show format wasn’t lost on comedian Eric Andre who, in 2012 – when President Trump was a mere twinkle in The Colbert Report’s eyes – conceived The Eric Andre Show. A quasi-talk show that embraces the surrealist comedy of Monty Python and David Lynch’s wilful disorientation, it’s unpredictable, uncomfortable, absurd and blindingly funny.
You see, Colbert, Meyers, Fallon and Kimmel – or the Jimmys, as Hannah Gadsby calls them – all offer versions of the same thing. They start with a monologue littered with Trump impersonations and incredulity at his limitless incompetence, then throw in a few SNL-lite sketches and recurring segments as the show progresses.
Then there are the customary celebrity interviews, which do occasionally offer genuine entertainment or political insight, but more often feel like polite exercises in content marketing.
The Eric Andre Show is a completely different beast. Broadcast on Cartoon Network’s night-time subsidiary, Adult Swim, Andre and co-host Hannibal Buress cram celebrity interviews, roving reportage, musical performances and a heck of a lot of destruction into each ten-minute episode.
The show has gathered plenty of attention over its four seasons, which means some guests are surely in on the joke, but that’s not always the case. Andre’s guests tend to be either big name rappers or B-list actors and reality TV stars. Then there are the Hollywood A-listers, who’re generally played by impersonators – a ploy that perfectly suits the satirical format.
Here’s a look at ten of the most absurd, uncomfortable but ultimately gratifying celebrity interviews from the show to date, both real and fake.
Andre told Conan O’Brien he was confident Lauren Conrad fired her publicist after coming on the show. She walks out mid-interview, but not before enduring a raft of eye-boggling psych-outs. The last straw is when Andre throws up on his desk then proceeds to gobble up his own spew. It sounds gross because it is, but it’s also a delight to watch, and your enjoyment doesn’t hinge on being familiar with the reality star and fashion designer’s work.
Tyler, the Creator
Tyler, the Creator is a seasoned prankster himself and proves a great offsider to a lateral humourist like Andre. The Lynchian overtones are undeniable in this segment, which sees Tyler brought to tears after Andre tells him to “focus; your dad’s here.” It’s a crafty homage and one of the rare Andre interviews that prompts a feeling of warmth.
“I want to talk about Asian Anal Aces.” Adult film star Asa Akira is a little thrown off by Andre’s opening question, perhaps because she anticipated something more polite. The madness heats up from there – someone falls from the rafters to smash apart Andre’s desk; Buress roars while tearing open his shirt before a one night stand storms the stage and slaps him around. Akira takes it all in her stride, however, and proves to be one of the show’s more up-for-it guests.
Semere-Ab Etmet Yohannes has appeared multiple times in his role as Russell Brand, including in the second episode of season one. Whether or not Andre has the pull or persuasion to secure the real Brand is beside the point – casting an elderly African man in the role amplifies the scope for absurdity. Andre plays it straight in this first appearance, though at one point he starts digging into a tub of ice cream while Buress gnaws on his favourite snack combo, strawberries and ham. The high point, however, is when Brand breaks out into a sensual rendition of ‘Irene, Goodnight’.
Andre underlines Stacey Dash’s Fox News affiliation early on in her appearance, telling the former Clueless star he’s “on board with 110% of [her] politics.” This includes Dash’s pro-life ideology, stating his belief that “these rape/incest babies need to contribute to society!” Buress shows Dash his Drake impersonation as a number of rats begin to crawl out from under Andre’s desk. Dash, appropriately freaked out by the infestation, gets Burress to piggyback her from the stage.
During an appearance on the H3 podcast, Jack Black spoke of how pumped he was to be a guest on The Eric Andre Show. “In a way it was torture, but it was also a rite of passage.” Although a fan of the show, Black wasn’t aware how he’d be treated. He takes all the chaos in his stride, taking a hit from a whippet canister only to get covered in whipped cream, before Andre’s coffee cup turns into a machine gun hose.
Beyonce & Jay Z
A couple of Andre’s favourite season one guests, Beyonce and Jay Z, made a triumphant return in season three. The segment contains some straight-up pillorying of the talk show format, with Andre asking Jay Z, “where are you from originally?” Jay, played by the diminutive Huynh Quang, responds the way you wish every guest would to a pointless and lazy question: “Why you asking me all that shit you already know?”
Another returning guest is Reese Witherspoon, portrayed by comedian Kyle Bostic. Other than a silver wig, Bostic puts little effort into resembling the Oscar winning actor, donning a hoodie and clutching a red solo cup. Witherspoon confronts Buress about some money he owes, punching him in the face when he refuses to cough up. She finally takes a seat on the sofa only for Andre to hand her a couple of spoons and instruct her to “play these spoons baby doll.”
Even though Ryan Kwanten quickly identifies the show’s irregularities, he doesn’t know how to handle himself. The True Blood (and former Home & Away) actor perseveres with a good attitude, however, as Buress gets hot and heavy with a supposed flame and Andre takes to his desk with a drill, then his head. There’s also time for a bit of nudity and Andre to ask, “what’s the difference between Australia and South Africa?”
It’s hard to gauge whether Wiz Khalifa knows what he’s got himself into. Andre starts by telling an on the nose story of how he and his friends used to feed LSD to a mentally disabled girl and torment her by incessantly chanting “nightmare.” “You can’t do that,” says Wiz. Andre and Buress then try to get Wiz’s support for their nascent hip hop careers, before George Clooney (played by David Haskin) emerges from under the desk. Clooney directs some dad-joke scatting at Wiz then log rolls out of there. The insanity crescendos from that point onwards.
Eric Andre will be headed to Australian & NZ shores this December. Head here for dates and details.