Eric Andre

The Eric Andre Show

Eric Andre (b. 1983) is an American actor, comedian, and television host. He is the creator, host, and co-writer of ‘The Eric Andre Show,’ a surreal parody of low-budget public-access talk shows that airs on ‘Adult Swim’ (a nighttime programming block on ‘Cartoon Network’). Andre also played ‘Mike’ on the ‘FXX’ comedy series ‘Man Seeking Woman.’

‘The Eric Andre Show’ premiered in 2012. The series is hosted along with comedian Hannibal Buress, who serves as André’s sidekick. The show was influenced, in part, by surreal spoof talk show ‘Space Ghost Coast to Coast,’ a series that has previously aired on ‘Cartoon Network’ and later ‘Adult Swim.’

Andre has said that prior to shooting the first season, he rewatched several episodes of it to ‘absorb as much ‘Space Ghost’ as I could.’ Andre also asked many question to the show’s creator, who according to Andre had no interest in the old show. Both shows also make frequent use non sequitur.

For the first season, principal photography was done in an abandoned bodega in California. The painting of red rectangles in the set decoration also serves as the logo, emulated on the screen titling during shots with the band. The show is shot using old vacuum-tube cameras, background music often from stock media, and low-budget titling effects to make it feel like a public-access show from the 1980s.

All of the opening sequences for the show were filmed at the end of the shoot all at once over two and a half days. After being sick earlier in the week, André commented, ‘Fuck, it takes so much energy to break the set for that long.’ The desk at which André sits is constructed of drywall to make it easier to break during skits. A Jazz Band plays on the set during the introduction and transitions. Shots of the band are mostly pre-recorded with a few spoken lines and callbacks during on-stage skits.

For the second season, the show changed to an HD Camera, a new set design, and a new announcer. Because of the difficulties with gaining consent under California’s regulations, some of the impromptu and hidden camera sketches had to be re-recorded in New York City. André also admitted to using tactics on real celebrities to make them visibly uncomfortable during the taping without informing them, such as ‘put[ing] old, rotten clams under their seat before they come out, or heat ducts in their seats so they’re just sweltering.’

Every opening of the show starts with an announcer saying ‘Ladies and Gentlemen, it’s the Eric Andre Show!’ as Andre begins to destroy the backdrop, desk, and various furnishings as the opening song is played on by the stage band. Everything is restored to its prior condition immediately by off-camera stagehands when the music stops and the show commences.

Another staple of the show is the ‘We’ll Be Right Back’ freeze-frame interstitial at the end of every on-stage segment, usually occurring at an inconvenient time. No continuity after the interstitial is maintained at all; Andre always appears in successive segments of the show ignorant of, or unharmed by, any prior events. Besides the studio segments that are the main focus of the show, short sketches, candid camera footage, and non sequiturs, usually focused on Andre’s absurd behavior in extemporaneous settings, are featured throughout the program.

Guest stars appear throughout the show, with a number of the guest stars being faked with impersonators or random people (e.g.: Jerry Seinfeld, Russell Brand, George Clooney, The Hulk, Beyonce, Arnold Schwarzenegger [portrayed by Bruce Vilanch], and Jay-Z.) As the seasons have progressed more actual celebrities have appeared, including musicians (Pete Wentz, Devendra Banhart, and Chance the Rapper), actors (Ryan Phillipe, James Van Der Beek, Dolph Lundgren, Chris Jericho), or 1980’s/1990’s television stars (Sinbad, Lorenzo Lamas, Jodie Sweetin), although other guests have appeared, including fashion designer Lauren Conrad, actor Seth Rogen, talk show host Jimmy Kimmel, and adult film actress Asa Akira.

At the end of the show, a performer of some type plays over the ending credits. Ending performances are usually parodies of amateur acts common to public access television, while other times are musicians playing their music except with heavy twists. For example, powerviolence band ‘Trash Talk’ once played while wearing volume sensitive shock collars. Mac DeMarco also once played while André initiated a segment styled after Japanese game shows titled ‘Attack DeMarco!,’ where numerous samurais entered the stage and began tormenting DeMarco.

Host Eric Andre is hyperactive and dysfunctional, has awkward moments with guests, makes senseless criticisms, and otherwise fails to properly maintain his screen presence. He often overreacts during interviews, acts aggressively towards his crew members, diverts from the script, and refuses to read the cue cards (all of which is intended acting, nevertheless, a tactic used on celebrity guests to show the distinctions between each of their reactions to the environment of the set).

Co-host, Hannibal Buress, offers anecdotes during the show that are similar to Buress’ stand-up acts. Otherwise, he serves as the straight-man to André’s antics, giving an occasional reality check to André and his often manic behavior. Buress usually ends up correcting André’s mistakes, shaming him on stage, or just interrupting people in general. Since there are only two chairs on ‘The Eric Andre Show’ set, Buress ends up giving away his seat when a guest appears, standing off-camera at times.

The house band is also notable for regular participation in the show. The initial house band was on the show for the first three seasons, and consisted of Tom Ato as the guitarist, Early McAllister as the saxophonist, Pfelton Sutton as the drummer (who is almost always tackled during the show’s opening), Jerry Wheeler as the trombonist, and Adora Dei as the keyboardist. The original band was replaced at the start of the fourth season with a group of elderly men, including Don Peake as the guitarist, Emilio Palame as the keyboardist, Harold Cannon as the singer, Oscar Rospide as the bassist, and Tony Katsaras as the drummer.

Andre was born in Boca Raton, Florida, the son of a Haitian father, a psychiatrist, and an American Jewish mother. He identifies as both black and Jewish. After graduating from Dreyfoos School of the Arts in West Palm Beach, Florida in 2001, Andre studied at Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts, where he played the double bass and graduated in 2005 with a BFA.

Andre was also known for his role as ‘Mark Reynolds’ on the ‘ABC’ sitcom ‘Don’t Trust the B—- in Apartment 23’ when the series launched, was warned by ‘ABC’ network executives not to mention the series on ‘The Eric Andre Show,’ as they did not want to create an association between the two shows. ‘Don’t Trust the B—- in Apartment 23’ was later cancelled in 2013.

 

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