Why Eric Andre’s Putting His Body On The Line For Comedy

5 December 2016 | 5:02 pm | Daniel Cribb

"I’m worried I’m going to get injured, beaten up or arrested."

Eric Andre

Eric Andre

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“Maybe I’m not allowed to say that – maybe that’s off the record,” US comic Eric Andre begins, leaving the Adult Swim studios in LA where he’s been working on a secret project.

Those acquainted with his talk show on the same network will know just how chaotic things can get and part of that is Andre’s over-active mind. “It’s actually way more organised than it seems,” he tells. “The chaos is on top of structured bits. It’s basically just a mock talk show, so we just satirise and do our own versions of pre-existing talk show bits.”

One of the standout elements of the show are insanely bizarre street pranks, and while they produce comedy gold for viewers, they’re sometimes not the most fun to film. “I’m very, very nervous and concerned for my safety. I’m worried I’m going to get injured, beaten up or arrested,” he admits.

During the latest season, he’s assaulted by an agitated karate instructor. “Yeah, he went nuts. What you don’t see is, a lot of the time to really get people riled up, I’ll go back into the location like three or four times, but for times' sake we’ll edit it like it’s one big take. I kept going back into that karate dojo; that was my third time going back in there and he absolutely lost his mind. He kicked me out and locked the door, but he forgot to lock the side door.”

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It’s a polar opposite to Andre’s role on Don't Trust The Bitch In Apartment 23, which he starred in before getting his big break. “Apartment 23 was me on unemployment, just a broke actor in Los Angeles looking for any job. I was like eating beans by candlelight. I co-incidentally sold The Eric Andre Show a few weeks after I booked Apartment 23. I didn’t even know if I was going to do The Eric Andre Show or not. I was just editing it in my shithole apartment.”

Somewhere in the middle of both is FXX hit Man Seeking Woman, which enters its third season in January. Andre plays the bachelor best friend of Josh Greenberg, played by Jay Baruchel. “Fuck, it’s such a blur,” he says of the new episodes. “I cut off my penis,” he adds. “It’s really graphic, it’s hard to watch. It’s like a goddamn snuff film – if that’s too hardcore, you let me know,” he laughs.

He’s testing the boundaries of the Australian sense of humour before his first visit, and will continue to do so during his whirlwind east coast run, which takes in intimate Melbourne and Sydney venues. The five headline dates are sold out, which Andre wasn't expecting, but it isn't surprising considering the cult following he's earned through The Eric Andre Show. “I’m glad you guys get the show down there. Is it on TV or do you watch it online, like torrents?”

A potentially loaded question, but Andre’s quick to respond with approval of certain fans' actions. “No, no, no - that’s great, I’m a pirate, too.”

It’s perhaps why he’s already looking into a potential return trip. “There are two different live shows; there’s me doing stand-up and there’s The Eric Andre Show live. I figured for my first trip to Australia run I’ll keep it simple and just do some stand-up, and see what the turnout is like.

“We already sold out all the shows on this leg, so I want to build an Australian audience and then come back and do the live talk show. I want to see how this one goes, get the lay of the land a little bit and then make a decision.”

With Eric Andre Show co-star Hannibal Buress’ Australian tour wrapping up the same day Andre’s begins, he’s hoping they might cross paths. “I’m going to see if they can stay and hang out with me.”

But perhaps they won’t be meeting up to party in Sydney after Buress’ recent experiences in the state. “What are the Hannibal headlines? Give me the deets,” Andre asks. The headlines in questions revolve around Buress calling out the city’s lockout laws via Twitter and then on stage. “Your Prime Minster is a dickhead, right? Isn’t the world going to shit? We got Donald Trump, England has Brexit... I barely know American politics, so maybe I’m wrong.”