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Can We Trust Eric Andre?

The surrealist comedian takes us through the mysticism of his silly career and live show.

by Stephan Boissonneault 

It’s a tepid evening in Glasgow, Scotland and Eric Andre is late for his own show. The surrealist  shock comedian must be on stage in 15 minutes, so he’s frantically rushing to the sold-out venue in an Uber. He’s on his way to host the live edition of The Eric Andre Show, an extended, somewhat improvised live version of his ridiculously popular Adult Swim sketch comedy series where he delivers ludicrous monologues and interviews celebrities while trying to scare them. Much like the live show, the best way to describe it would be organized chaos. 

“I hate being late, but I’m always a little late. It’s kind of in my nature,” Andre says, appearing through a shaking phone screen while running his hand through his unkempt afro and rubbing his face. He looks tired, if not a bit anxious.  

His tardiness makes sense: he got caught up in experiencing everything Glasgow has to offer in about three hours. For your average tourist, that might come in the form of a couple different food options and a few notable landmarks, but Andre was expectedly looking for a little more mischief. He was in Dublin the day before, and he admits he was a bit of a tease. “We were doing a bunch of offensive stuff over at that New York-Dublin portal. We’re the ones who got it shut down,” Andre jokes. “Everyone says it was some OnlyFans girl, but I was the one who showed my titttaaayyys through the portal.” 

Part of touring for Eric Andre is hectically running around the city while meeting his fans and random people on the street—and, of course, taking photos. “Without sounding too kumbaya, that’s how you get to see what your stupid 11-minute surreal comedy show has done for people, which is something I could have never imagined,” he says.

Since debuting in 2012, and now having six seasons, The Eric Andre Show has skyrocketed the 41-year-old comedian to stardom, earning him a starring role in his own Jackass-esque movie, roles in popular animated TV shows, and stories—like the time he got lap dances with his good friend Madonna. “Yeah, we’re good friends and hit up the strip clubs a lot.” This kind of statement is par for the course when it comes to Eric Andre’s brand of humour, which is full of non-sequiturs and untrue statements. There’s a bit of sincerity in the joke, though, so you want to believe it’s true. 

The Uber pulls up to the front of the O2 Academy and Andre hops out with his phone still in his hand. Three Scottish lads wait for him to walk by the entrance and scream at him. “We were worried we weren’t going to catch ya!” “I’m here now, baby,” Andre growls. They ask for a photo and Andre happily obliges, holding up his phone so it’s in the photo.  

“What’s the way to say, like, ‘Fuck yeah’ in Scottish?’ Andre asks. “Fuck yer Pope and Bawbags,” the lads scream. “Well, fuck your Pope, then you ball bags.” The crowd gathering outside roars and Andre heads into the green room. “You can’t say no to the Scots,” he says before the screen freezes on his face. 

A few moments later, the connection is back and Andre is shirtless, getting handed his powder blue suit jacket and zebra print dress shirt. He’s also rocking some knee pads—probably the most important part of the outfit. Yes, while crashing through his desks, moshing with the crowd, and running around like a lunatic, Andre gets hurt—a lot. “I don’t recover from injury that quickly anymore. I mean, I’m 41 now,” he says.

He starts doing a few breathing techniques to get into the live show zone—his id, the innate crazy part of his mind. “It’s my heightened state of consciousness and it’s how I perform and kind of get into character.”

As we talk more, Andre is full of gratitude. There are no guarantees in the entertainment industry and back when Andre pitched his show to Adult Swim, he was dead broke. “I had this useless jazz degree and my dad wanted me to go to med or law school, which was the last thing I wanted,” he says. “Could you imagine me teaching high school jazz music?”

“Could you imagine me teaching high school jazz music?”

— Eric Andre

He wanted to do something creative and comedy seemed to make sense. Even as a kid, Andre would get into trouble for his pranks—like the one time he smashed his head through the glass enclosure of a fire hose and sprayed his teacher and classmates. “I’m pretty sure that’s a federal class felony,” his opener, DJ Doug Pound, says while overhearing it. 

“Yeah, but it was funny and chaotic,” Andre says.

By the time he turned 20, Andre had started doing stand-up all around New York, figuring out his alternative, abstract style. By his late 20s, he had sold his show to Adult Swim, but thought it would last “maybe a season.” “I had really low self-esteem about it, so it was like a miracle that it grew and grew and now I’m able to talk with a fine gent like yourself about my stupid, silly career,” he says.

The green room door slams open. “Ten minutes Eric,” a production coordinator tells him. “Shit, I guess I better get dressed then. Ah dammit, this suit is all wet,” he says, holding it near the screen.

It must be wet because of sweat from last night, right? Nope. It’s due to the random fluids Andre shoots at the crowd and pours all over himself – ranch dressing being a predominant one.

“Yeah, it’s basically like being at a GWAR show,” Andre says. “You’re probably going to get wet even if you’re in the back row. Sometimes I like to sneak around the crowd like a ninja and blast people.” 

This world tour is to be the last Eric Andre Show live, and while it’s bittersweet for Andre, he realizes it’s the right time to focus on something new.  “Again, I’m 41, and the physicality to it … I think it’s a good time to retire it. I’ll definitely tour again, but not with this interpretation of the show, so people better get off their asses.”  

Whether or not that is a statement to induce more hype on this tour remains to be seen. Eric Andre is a guy who has literally made a career off of consistent lies with his sketch comedy, so really, can we trust anything he says?

Eric Andre will bring his chaotic live show to Eastern Canada on June 13 (Montreal) and June 14 (Toronto).