2019 JFL Review: Eric Andre
Don’t call him Eric Andre, that’s his father’s name*. He is Eric “Muthaf’ck’n” Andre to his fans.
When I took my unsuspecting guest to see Eric Andre, she knew nothing about him. Some would say this is cruel. Especially as her temperament could only be described as “fresh out the nunnery” (May the Lord Open).
As we were taking our seats, she asked me, “What’s he like? What’s his thing?”
I, honestly, had no idea how to answer that. Eric is… well, he’s… no, that’s not it, he’s more like… Okay, first, he’s a little vulgar, but not Dice Clay vulgar… he’s a weed-head, but… is he though?… cause he’s done some super quick, smart stuff. He’s a black… no-wait… he’s like Nick Kroll doing a Jimmie Walker impression. He’s… comfortably disturbing? Is that a thing? He’s… well, he’s funny, okay. Let’s not overthink this.
One thing Eric Andre is, is a goddamn genius. He does not need to write anything, truthfully. He clearly did write parts of his set, but he didn’t need to. He gets a laugh from just the way he walks onto the stage as if he owns it… before saying a word. Now he doesn’t have to write anything, but he does. That’s where you see how brilliant he can be, IF he really wants to be. If his audience wanted him to be. They generally don’t, so he sticks, mostly, to crazy things that one may say or think, while they’re high on … something, even though at the time he says them, he’s not (his delivery is too… perfect for him to be intoxicated in any way). The content is so creative and coherent, it’s even hard to believe that he even wrote these jokes in any state of true inebriation. So, what that means is, Eric Andre, most likely, creates a lot of his content while sober in order to give the illusion that he is high at the time, to be relatable to an audience that is most likely made up of people who actually are high at the time. Oh, Andre does partake in rampant drug use, I’m sure, but not while he’s working. Eric Andre…. is a genius.
The endearing thing about Eric is that he just doesn’t care. He does not give a flying f-word what you think about him. Like,… at all.
It is this indifference to any audience that has allowed him to be completely free in his craft. He has a show on Adult Swim named after him that has just been renewed for it’s fifth season. It is on the first episode of this show that he chose to run out buck-naked and crowd surf on top of his studio audience of just a few curious on-lookers, some of which didn’t even know who he was. It is this same indifference that has permitted this man to engage in totally crazy and dangerous pranks on unsuspecting people that may involve some sort of self-deprecating disgust or nudity (which he has reformatted into an upcoming feature film called “Bad Trip“). It may even be this indifference that perhaps allowed his popularity to be a slow burn, rather than a raging inferno.
Most importantly, it seems to be this indifference that endears him most to his loyal fan base. I looked around the audience at his “Legalize Everything” tour and I saw all types. Yes a lot of weed-heads, but also a lot of hipsters of all shapes, colours and sizes, and then the rest of us who are just sober fans of the alternative creativity on Adult Swim. All gathered together to see the ultimate I-may-or-may-not-get-buck-naked-in-front-of-this-entire-theatre-tonight-just-because type of guy do his expectedly unconventional stand-up comedy thing.
Eric is not known for his stand-up as much as he is for his own show, and his supporting character and voice work. He doesn’t do long jokes with big setups. His average joke-punchline performance is usually a two-liner, with something outrageous thrown in. His delivery makes every single one land. But you can’t do that for an hour and a half exclusively. In the middle of the show, Eric does some great audience work, and literally allows the audience to take over the show while he riffs with them.
His closer is an absolute killer. I will not give it away here. If you read other reviews, I’m sure you will see reference to it. It is extremely interactive and there is audio-visual aid, so some may call that cheating. I call it evolution. The concept itself is funny, but with Andre’s signature adlibbing and freshness, it tops the Chappelle Laugh Scale at 11 and should be nominated for the Mark Twain Prize for American Humour. I have never seen such a strong and original concept in a stand-up comedy show in my life. It is a must see, that, in Toronto, at least, had a perfect ending (which is not guaranteed with this risque concept) and left the audience laugh-cry-screaming for more.
We were all blessed with an encore that was good, but ultimately, didn’t matter because his greatest hit had already been played.
Eric Andre is not for your kids. He is not for your parents. He is shocking and says and does things just because he can. He is not for everyone. Just like my tone in this review. But if you can relate to the feeling of just not giving a f*ck, at any one time in your life, no judgement, no concern, just… whatever, …unplug yourself from The Matrix, flee the nunnery and get to his show immediately and laugh your d^ck off.
*This may or may not be true. Who cares? F’ you.
To read more reviews on TIFF, and JFL42 from Mobster, Curtis Morgan, just click here.