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Adult Swim’s The Eric Andre Show is not for the faint of heart – especially if you’re one of Andre’s guests. The show, which he co-hosts with fellow comedian and good friend Hannibal Buress, is a prank show masquerading as a talk show, and, as Andre tells us in this episode of Off the Cuff, “99 percent of the time they have no idea what’s going on.” Take, for example, Lauren Conrad, one such guest who was chatting with Buress when Andre, mid-interview, interrupted her with a gag involving a cup of oatmeal he had kept hidden under his desk.
“I puked myself during her interview,” he explains, and Conrad “was trying not to throw up so she just bee-lined out. Her publicist was like, ‘He thinks it’s funny and it’s not funny.'” Needless to say, “Lauren Conrad’s publicist is not a big fan” of Andre.
Despite these on-set antics, which some guests (like Seth Rogen) are admittedly much more game for than Conrad, Andre insists that he’s “not trying to make anybody look bad,” and that he and Buress are “just trying to look like we are the two most incompetent talk show hosts on television.”
Before pioneering this bizarre breed of public access meets Punk’D, Andre was a Berklee College of Music grad who moved to New York for an internship at Matador Records, making photocopies, grabbing lunches and noticing how impossible it was for some of his favorite musicians to break into the industry.
“At least comedy, the more work you put into it, the more you get out of it,” he realized. “I knew some of the best, most virtuosic musicians, players, songwriters, and they were broke. It didn’t matter how good you were at your instrument, it didn’t matter how good you were at writing a song. Ashlee Simpson was making millions and you were eating beans by candlelight. But if you were really good at comedy, you were going to work.”
So Andre started doing stand-up gigs at “chicken shit bars in the East Village” while barely paying rent in pre-gentrified Williamsburg.
“Hannibal and I were like homeless. He was sleeping on the subway. I would rent out my room to my friend and sleep in a park behind our apartment building.”
When asked if he sees a bright future for himself now like some of his idols he grew up watching, he responds optimistically:
“Woody Allen has a pretty nice career. Except his personal life is utter shit. But his resume is fantastic!”
Listen to Andre’s full interview in this episode of Off the Cuff, and be sure to subscribe to #THRpodcasts on iTunes for all the latest episodes.
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