What’s to be anticipated when Adult Swim’s most degenerate program hits the road? On Monday night, a sold-out crowd filled the Rickshaw Stop, ready for just about anything short of a Mitt Romney endorsement.
A love letter to the Reddit-surfing, bong-ripping, Flying Lotus-bumping demographic, The Eric Andre Show stampedes through its weekly, 15-minute time-slot with reckless abandon and utter perversity, hanging onto its “talk-show” descriptor by a single Funyun. If Pete & Pete, Hype Williams, and Gary Busey invested in a sleazy public-access channel, transmitted from the bowels of Suave Ben’s house in Blue Velvet, The Eric Andre Show would be its flagship broadcast.
MF Doom’s Special Herbs played over the soundsystem as the doors opened, aptly reflecting the intoxicated, Bohemian crowd shuffling in. The show kicked off with three stand-up routines, starting with co-host and Andre-sidekick Hannibal Buress, followed by local comics Stroy Moyd and Chris Garcia.
Buress was by far the funniest, transitioning from scrambled eggs to Eddie Griffin without the slightest thread of contrivance. Moyd’s set, while mostly successful, was hindered by a sense of forced confrontation, while Garcia uncannily recalled every schtick-dependent, guitar-equipped comedian you’ve ever seen on Comedy Central at 1am.
After a short break, Andre stormed the stage impolitely and unapologetically, ketchup and mustard bottles in hand, dousing the feverish crowd in red and yellow corn-syrup sludge, with GWAR-like contempt for social etiquette. After plopping down behind his big-kahuna desk, Andre invited Buress on stage, trading quips like Letterman and Paul Shaffer all fucked up on Ween’s Scotchgard.
Despite its chaotic pretense, the show barreled forward with an astute sense of rhythm and timing, flipping between stand-up bits, video clips, live music from the delightfully inept house band, and fake celebrity appearances, in a fast-paced spectacle, tailor-made for the goldfish-like attention spans of Adult Swim’s viewership.
The audience was treated to guest appearances from Tatyana Ali (Will Smith’s little cousin from Fresh Prince, remember?) and a very fake Russell Brand. Counterfeit TV commercials were shown, the most memorable of which involved Andre, dressed as Ronald McDonald, slamming whiskey and sobbing uncontrollably. In the most gut-bustingly hilarious moment of the night, a clown of the childrens’-parties variety took the stage, fashioning balloon animals with Seal’s “Kiss From a Rose” playing seductively in the background.
After the unrestrained, brain-frying energy of Andre’s set, acclaimed Oakland hip-hop duo Main Attrakionz cooled things down beautifully with their balance between rugged, hard-boiled lyricism and luminous, electronic soundscapes. Taking the stage with great authority, Squadda B and Mondre delivered a steadily compelling set that, at a short-and-sweet 30 minutes, never overstayed its welcome.
Sauntering back onto Fell Street, with mustard-caked belongings, the audience was visibly gratified, and for good reason. Given the scarcity of live events that merge stand-up comedy, live hip-hop, and whatever the hell Eric Andre does, Monday night’s show was as satisfyingly complete as it was totally unpredictable.