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Bow Before Eric Andre, Your Demented God

November 7, 2014
Eric Andre Season 3

By its very design, The Eric Andre Show is not for everyone. It is equal parts talk show parody and performance art piece designed to reach the outer limits of comedy, and more broadly, television. If David Lynch, Tom Green and Johnny Knoxville were locked in a room and forced to write a TV show together in order to escape, this is almost as weird as whatever they would come up with. It’s something you have to be baptized into. Once you come up for air, you’re either an acolyte or an acid casualty.

With celebrity guests ranging from Canadian indie heartthrob Mac Demarco to porn star Asa Akira to “real” talk show host Jimmy Kimmel, and a Katt Williams-inspired hairdo for Eric, Season 3 promises to be sexier and scarier than ever. Before it premieres on Adult Swim Thursday November 6 at 12:15 AM (technically Friday morning, if you’re an asshole), take a trip through a collection of essential sketches that help to explain the man’s warped genius.  So smoke a phat bowl of PCP, snort a line of muscle relaxers and enjoy!

Note: Sorry that Adult Swim doesn’t like embedding, so click the headings to see some of these clips.

Set Destruction 

There’s an interesting theory floating around that Eric Andre is trapped in a talk show purgatory. In this context, his destruction of the set at the opening of each episode is an act of existential rebellion . Andre is always confronted with the futility of his efforts, however, as the set is completely redecorated moments later by unseen forces conspiring to perpetuate his failure. Life is kind of like that, I guess.

This Or That 

In this purgatory, rules are arbitrarily enforced and punishments are meted out at random. Also, the milk is all spoiled and yoga is indistinguishable from Tai Chi. Eric Andre is not afraid to suffer for his art, and this fast-paced season one sketch is living proof.

Black Scientologists

“A lot of people may not know this, but L RON HUBBARD WAS A BLACK MAN,” Andre yells to an assembled crowd in Union  Square while dressed in renaissance garb. In the process of teachings the masses the truth about L. Ron Hoyabembe, Eric, Hannibal and (former Daily Show correspondent) Wyatt Cenac implore a nonbeliever to “turn that poop into wine.” It would seem that transubstantiation isn’t unique to Catholicism after all.

Lou Ferrigno & “The Hulk”  (interview starts at 3:05)

Celebrity interviews on late night talk shows usually represent a tightly controlled attempt to humanize the subject in order to disguise the promotional angle that’s really at work. By provoking celebrities with bizarre questions and techniques bordering on sexual harassment, Andre relies on the element of surprise to give us a more authentic glimpse into the life and times of his guests from his celebrity guests. In this example (just one of many), a visit from “The Hulk” succeeds at pushing Lou Ferrigno’s buttons to the point that the possibility of unscripted violence is very much on the table.

James Van Der Beek & “James Van Der Beek”

Yep, that’s right. Dawson. The ‘Beek.  In the flesh.  Even better, there’s two of him.  And two Erics. And two Hannibals.  Oddly enough, there’s only one T-Pain. This sequence is less of an interview and more of a Lynchian nightmare that fractures our understanding of identity.

“Russell Brand”

In addition to provoking celebrity guests, the Eric Andre show also often attempts to impersonate them… poorly. In this early sketch, Andre interviews a homeless-looking older man to expose the inanity of traditional talk show banter.  In his own way, this Russel Brand is at least as brilliant and thought-provoking as his “real” quasi-intellectual counterpart thinks he is.

Killer Mike, Opera Hypeman 

This season one skit first aired less than a month after R.A.P Music reintroduced Killer Mike to a hip hop audience.  Thanks to Run The Jewels 2 and irreverent sketches like this one, the spotlight on Mike and Andre has never shined brighter.  Given what we’ve learned about Michael Render’s outspokenness on political subjects  and his incendiary lyricism, it makes sense that a comedian who mixes gleeful anarchy with a political purpose (See this short sketch for a taste) would consider him a kindred spirit.

At their core, opera and hip hop both speak the same primal language of love, no matter how much flexing or foreign languages may obscure this fundamental truth.  We can only hope that  El-P appears in a future episode to freestyle over La Donna è Mobile.

Ranch It Up

Sup ‘melo? In this standout season two sketch, Andre visits Manhattan’s Financial District to spread vibes and hit some ranch. Just because you’re a financial analyst (emphasis on anal, my man. UP TOP.) doesn’t mean you can’t  still crush it back on the quad before chasing some Cherokee chicks down the Trail of Beers (which, as we all know, leads to Brother Jimmy’s).  Makes you wonder what kind of hoverboard policy they’ve got over at Goldman Sachs.

Bird (1) Up (2)

You don’t get to be “the worst show on television” without a little help from Tim & Eric. It’s clear that The Eric Andre Show owes a debt to this boundary-pushing comedy duo, but there’s also a much more concrete connection between these two creative forces. Heidecker & Wareheim are executive producers on the show, and Andre gets some help in the editing bay from Doug “Dj Douggpound” Lussenhop, who’s worked closely with the duo over the years (and was, as legend has it, also partially responsible for those GI Joe video dubs from back in the day). Yah Boobay, indeed.

Even if you watched all of these clips, you’d only be scratching the surface of what The Eric Andre Show has to offer. Since episodes clock in at around the length of a salvia trip, it’s easy to binge on everything released to date. Even more so given that Adult Swim has every season one and two episode up online. So don’t just take my word for it. Grab some ranch and get watching.

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