The Eric Andre Show is not your typical late-night show. There’s recurring bits, sure. And celebrity interviews. A monologue. Man-on-the-street gags. A sidekick to banter with in Hannibal Buress. But if you’re expecting Carpool Karaoke or Jimmy Fallon giggling as his famous guests rattle off their pre-selected, pre-approved anecdotes… Yeah, no. It’s much, much weirder than that.
Every episode begins with Andre completely destroying his set and tackling his house drummer, followed by a mix of hidden camera man-on-the-street bits and celebrity interviews that range from garden-variety uncomfortable to outright psychological torture. (Lauren Conrad famously walked off after Andre pretended to throw up on his desk and then eat it mid-interview.)
The New York Times called it an “anti-talk show.” Larry King… well, Larry didn’t seem to know what to call it. Think Tim & Eric meets Da Ali G Show meets The Tom Green Show meets Jackass. Part late night spoof and part 11 minutes of complete and total anarchy, in the best possible way.
With Adult Swim finally launching its own dedicated channel in Canada this month, that means Canadians now have a place to catch up on the first four seasons of the strange, surreal late night series. And while there hasn’t been a new season of The Eric Andre Show since 2016 – the comedian’s been kind of busy lately, starring in Matt Groening’s Netflix series Disenchantment, making a hidden camera movie with Get Out’s Lil Rel Howery, and doing some tiny, lesser-known passion project called The Lion King… – brand-new episodes are currently in the works. Andre told me so himself. At least, I think he did.
One of the traps that people who do celebrity interviews fall into – whether they’re entertainment writers or late night hosts – is this tendency to want to get the other person to like you. You definitely don’t seem to have that problem.
Yes. I’m unburdened by that problem.
Is it difficult at all for you to fight that urge and lean into the discomfort?
No, no. That’s what I’m here for. I’m not Jimmy Fallon. I’m mining your discomfort.
Why do you think you’re able to be so successful at catching people off-guard? After four seasons, shouldn’t guests know what’s coming at this point?
We intentionally do a little recon to make sure they know little to nothing about the show before we have them on the show. We’re not booking talent that’s like “in the know,” we’re intentionally booking people that are fish out of water. In the dark. That’s part of the producing of the show.
Your interviews kind of seem like psychological torture. Basically, the worst, stress dream version of what a late-night talk show appearance could be for a guest. Beyond just the questions and bits themselves, is there anything else you’re doing to help get them in that headspace?
It’s a ton of different little things. We don’t run the air conditioning while we’re doing a show, so it’s boiling hot in there. We put old clams and garbage under the chairs so it smells really bad. I do things like I don’t wear deodorant, and then we just assault them with a combination of different gags.
What’s your ideal guest: someone who wants to play along, or someone who has no idea what they’re getting themselves into?
Someone who has absolutely no idea and is completely blindsided by the interview.
Did it start to get difficult for you to book guests at a certain point? Did you start running into the same problem that Sacha Baron Cohen did, where people are onto you a little more?
A little bit. But not too much. If you think about the demographic of the show, it’s millennials. Anybody over 40 is totally out of the loop. So as long as our guests are middle-aged, we Gucci. Especially now, we’re inundated with so much media. Like, when I was growing up, basic cable was just coming out. Before that, my mom’s generation, they had like three television networks. Now, you turn on Apple TV and your options are infinite. So people are inundated with so much media that anyone over the age of 35, 40, they don’t know what my show is. They’re barely caught up with Game of Thrones.
Was there anyone who was clearly completely unprepared for what was about to happen?
We had this one guest, Abby Lee Miller, she’s like a “dance mom” from some reality show. She walked into the building, and she walked up to my assistant director and she was like, “Now what exactly is this? Is this Cartoon Network or something? Am I doing the voice of a cartoon?” And my assistant director was like, “Not exactly…” [Laughs.]
We’ll have, in the middle of the interview, I’ll be like, “Do a promo for the show!” And Vivica Fox, for instance, I go, “Do a promo for the show!” She’s like, “Hey guys, it’s Vivica Fox and you’re watching… What’s the name of this show again?” That happens all the time. People don’t know my name, they don’t know the name of the show. They just love being on camera. Especially if their star has faded a little bit. Or for whatever reason. People just want to be on camera. The camera is a relatively new invention in the span of human history and it’s like a magician’s wand that captures the human experience. Whatever. That’s a little bit existential. [Laughs.] But yeah.
I know you’ve got a lot coming up: you’re touring, you’ve got the Lion King remake, you’ve got a movie coming out in the fall, Bad Trip. Are you too busy right now to make a new season of the show, or is that something you’re trying to make time for?
Well, my friend, I would love to be able to answer that. I don’t think I’m allowed to. But… Don’t you worry your pretty little heart. Wink, wink. If you know what I mean. That’s all I can probably say without getting in trouble.
That’s a pretty good answer. That works for me.
[Laughs.] I love you, dude. I appreciate you. Talk to you soon.