While longtime fans may recognize Eric André from as far back as ABC’s Don’t Trust the B—— in Apartment 23, the actor and comedian sprung into a whole new level of fame on the back of his infinitely meme-able eponymous anti-talk show, The Eric Andre Show. Now a television and movie star in his own right, André provided the voices for both cackling hyena Azizi in this year’s The Lion King reboot and sly demon Luci in Matt Groening’s Netflix series Disenchantment.
André isn’t moving on from the comedy biz by any means. The Eric Andre Show will return for a fifth season, and he’s taken things to the next level in his forthcoming film Bad Trip, a prank-filled narrative comedy made with Jackass’ Jeff Tremaine and seasoned The Eric Andre Show director Kitao Sakurai.
Right now, he’s bringing his unpredictable antics to fans nationwide on his massive Legalize Everything stand-up tour. Ahead of his stop in San Antonio, we chatted on the phone with a very hungover André while he got an IV treatment to rehydrate after a wild night out.
You’re coming off of this summer’s release of The Lion King remake as well as Disenchantment’s new season. Bad Trip will hit theaters next year, and you’ve been filming the fifth season of The Eric Andre Show. How do you keep all these balls in the air?
I don’t know. I’m exhausted. So, just by the seat of my pants. Skin of my teeth.
Well, you certainly haven’t been showing it.
I feel old. I’m aging terribly.
Now that The Eric Andre Show has such a cult following, is it harder for you to get guests? Are celebrities more clued in to the fact that they’ll be tortured?
We do a couple tactics so they don’t know what they’re getting into, but also it kinda didn’t matter this season. We just like brought whoever in. They don’t know what torture’s coming up — it’s a 360-degree house of horrors.
So, you’re still able to fly under the radar?
Yeah, we have various tactics. Kind of like a way to screen people. And even if they knew something was up, we still like attack them with a bunch of crazy gags from all angles —unpredictable things.
You’ve said that a few years ago you almost died at the RNC when filming The Eric Andre Show, but you recently had another near-death experience while making Bad Trip. What happened there?
Me and [Lil Rel Howery] have this scene where our penises are stuck in a Chinese finger trap. We went into this barbershop in the hood and we went up to a guy — it’s all hidden camera, you know — so we went up to this guy, and we’re like, “Excuse me, Mr. Barber, can we borrow your scissors to get us out of this thing?” And this guy came after us. He was looking for a gun — he couldn’t find it — but he came after us with a knife and chased us. We could barely run in this Chinese penis trap contraption, so we’re like, “Ahhhhhhhh!” Then Rel fell down, and I’m running for my life, and then my [first assistant director] stepped in and he was like, “It’s a prank show! It’s a prank show!” And the guy was like, “Oh, you guys are hilarious! Yeah, no problem, I’ll sign the release form.” He was so cool.
It was Rel’s second day shooting and he’s miserable. He was saying, “Dude, you’re gonna get me killed. That’s not cool, man, I have kids. This shit isn’t safe.” Later he called Tiffany Haddish — she wasn’t in the movie, yet. We lost the woman that was going to play Rel’s sister in the movie, the first actress that we cast. So Rel calls Tiffany. He’s like, “Dude, Eric André’s gonna get me killed! This movie’s crazy. It’s not safe.” And Tiffany’s dying laughing. Five minutes later she calls me and says, “What? You almost got Rel killed? I wanna be in your movie. That sounds awesome. That sounds crazy.” So, I said, “Your wish is my command.”
When Rel fell over, did you guys end up getting separated, or did you both go down?
We kinda both went down, and then the dick trap snapped. We ran out of frame before we fell, so it didn’t affect the edit. But yeah, he was fucked up.
That made it into the movie?
Yeah, it’s in the movie. You’ll see it.
You’ve been arrested twice and have been hospitalized while filming The Eric Andre Show. How long do you think you’ll be able to keep this stuff up?
Well I’ve gotten better at it. (Laughs.) When we started the show, we didn’t know what was legal or illegal. We just were like, “Yeah, let’s go for it!” And now I consult with a lawyer. (Laughs.) So I don’t get arrested.
I got injured filming this season [of The Eric Andre Show]. A metal shelf fell on my head. I got a concussion and went back to the hospital. That was bad.
During live shows, you often get nude onstage, albeit with a thoughtful “genitalia tuck” to avoid, shall we say, excessive exposure. Have you ever had audience members freak out on you?
I haven’t gotten into trouble for that. Usually it’s met with wild applause and enthusiasm.
What’s the over/under on the likelihood of you disrobing at your San Antonio show?
I’d say it’s pretty high. Pretty high chance. Pretty high probability.
I think people would be excited to hear that, or at the very least prepared.
(Laughs.) Yes, yeah.
On top of everything else you’ve been up to, your alter-ego Blarf dropped the album Cease and Desist online for free this summer. Blarf told Pitchfork it was “unlistenable,” saying, “I dare you to get through, like, six minutes of my album.” Do you stand by that statement?
(Laughs.) Jeez, I don’t know. I don’t know nothin’ about that album. I haven’t even listened to it. People keep confusing me with that guy. I don’t know nothin’ about him.
He does look a lot like you.
(Laughs.) Very similar.
Is it frustrating that everybody thinks this Blarf guy is you?
No, it’s groovy.
In the end, Pitchfork gave Cease and Desist a solid 6.1 out of 10. That’s pretty commendable for something the artist himself called “unlistenable,” don’t you think?
I wish it was a lower number. I wish they gave it a zero!
$35-$49.75, 8 p.m. Friday, October 11, H-E-B Performance Hall, Tobin Center for the Performing Arts, 100 Auditorium Circle, (210) 223-8624, tobincenter.org.
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