Eric André may very well be one of the hottest comedians in the world right now. Sure, you’ve got his standout role in FXX’s Man Seeking Woman, but it’s his own The Eric André Show, for which he “plays” an incompetent and slightly deranged talk show host, that has really propelled the comic onto a whole new level of comedy. It’s one that moves away from the nihilistic realities of Louis C.K or the sly social jabs of Dave Chappelle and pulls on self-destructive absurdism. On first watch the criminally short Adult Swim show may seem like Tom Green for the meme generation, but dive a bit deeper and you may start to notice that the often perplexing zaniness is stuffed full of substance, flipping the traditional Talk Show into a self-deprecating nonsensical wave of crass editing, non-sequitur interviews, and even some violence. It’s satire on steroids, escalated by André’s fearless blend of Jackass badassery and Space Ghost Coast to Coast oddity, often balanced with his deadpan co-host: funny man in his own right, Hannibal Buress.
You’d expect Eric’s stand-up to be the same then, and while much of the absurdity does carry over, the comedian you see on stage is a tad calmer than his television counterpart. That’s by no means a detraction, as Eric André rips through his stream-of-consciousness routine with balls-deep hilarity. There is no over-reliance on punchlines to his flurry of jokes, but an escalation that’s as intense as anything he does to his various Talk Show guests (okay maybe except Steve Schirripa – never disrespect a man’s pasta sauce).
When punchlines do hit they rarely mark the end of each bit, Eric riffing on his own beats while escalating the joke further and further, often towards unexpected and slightly disturbing heights. The assumption seems to be that you’re there because you’re a fan of The Eric Andre Show, so pretty much anything goes as far as content; he knows the audience are desensitised to vivid images of absurd Amish perversions (‘soaking’ is a thing, look it up) or comparisons likening ass-eating to Mortal Kombat fatalities. Anyone who can’t see past offence need not apply.
At times he’ll interrupt his own highly caffeinated delivery to point out the unreality in his own unbelievable stories, grimly mocking himself before returning to bouncing around the stage, at least verbally – he is surprisingly still for such an energetic performer – like a mad man who just chugged some ranch in the quad before taking the stage. It’s all held together by the fact that this guy is a brilliant, engaging storyteller who conveys conviction even when he admits to us that he’s making the whole thing up.
Like Chappelle and Louis C.K, Eric also has the gift of perfect timing, controlling his cadence and delivery in such a way that it’s almost impossible for him not to make you laugh, even when he’s in the middle of his weakest bit and just reading shit off a list. It’s this that pretty much guarantees you’ll be walking away wishing his hour-long set was at least double in length, and that you put your hand up when he asked for a volunteer. Actually, wait, you’ll probably be glad you didn’t volunteer, but thankful there was at least one audience member brave enough to get on stage with such an uncontrolled and unashamed artist. Yah Boobay.
Eric Andre will return to Australia and New Zealand in May 2017, playing 8 shows from the 12th to the 20th. Full dates and ticket details can be found HERE.