The Eric-Andre Show a Look into Avant-Garde Humor and Feminism
The Eric Andre Show first aired on May 12th, 2012 and had received a multitude of criticism from first time viewers. The image on the screen is an unmanned set. There’s a desk with a Andre’s chair behind it on the right. In close proximity is the guest’s armchair, and a plethora of hanging decorations in front of the curtains. A voice from a loudspeaker announces, “Ladies and gentlemen, it’s the Eric Andre Show!”(Narrator). The band starts playing as Andre comes yelling into the frame, proceeds to leaps off the armchair and through the golden curtains.
The band plays an upbeat, mostly jazzy introduction piece as Andre runs towards the band members themselves, picks up the drummer’s bass drum, and whips it across the set. Watching Andre destroy the set while the music plays combine two contrasting traits, the calm vibe of the music, and the destruction of the set and Andre’s rage. After this partition of chaos, the music continues as Andre now tackles the drummer, while a production assistant replaces the bass drum he destroyed earlier with another. Other episodes in the series involve using various weapons to further add destruction to the set. Some of these stunts clearly cause Andre pain, in one episode they light the recliner on fire and “interview” the element.
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After all of the ruckus, Andre is visibly exhausted and sits himself down on the only piece of furniture left: his single chair. The rest of the set is in rubble. The destruction of the set and the chaotic rage that Andre portrays throughout the series promotes the dominant social position of men in society and women as subdominant. The Eric Andre show does one thing perfectly to attract the attention of viewers. You are never able to comprehend or estimate Andre’s next move. At one point in the program, Eric Andre has a grizzly bear as an interviewee.
You can see the look of fear in Andre’s eyes as the massive creature approaches him. The ignorance and lack of normality in the show attracts viewers to continue watching. In history, the bear has been seen as a symbol of courage, strength, and leadership. Traits likely attributed to Andre as well for being so close to such a massive beast. The connotation and denotations present in the show require viewers to understand the sign of a bear on the set. In nature, we are warned to avoid grizzlies based on the fact we could lose our lives.
This is the connotation, the symbol of the bear in such a close proximity to Andre and Hannibal signifies an impending danger. The fact that Andre even tries to interview the bear breaks societal norms of sanity and common understanding that makes the show so intriguing to watch. The show completely disregards the typical format of a late night talk show. Andre does get featured on other talk shows as well as his show. During these interviews, he interrupts the host, yells at random intervals and makes the job of the interviewer interesting and absurd simultaneously.
There are many sides to the humor present on “The Eric Andre Show.” On one hand, everything is easily dismissible as nonsense due to the show’s fast pace and altered editing to add to the chaos. Andre stated in an interview that the producers and editors of the show will take several hours of content and reduce it to a few minutes of madness. On the other side of this view, Andre’s employment of fear into his guests, especially women, shows his benefits of the patriarchy. Many comedians agree that there are a number of topics to exclude from comedy yet Andre breaks this bar yet again in his show’s content.
In an article published by PBS, they discuss these comedic boundaries and how the society is impacted when these boundaries are broken. Dave Chappelle, a legendary comedian is known for previously going over the moral bar of comedy. Paste Magazine reviewer Seth Simons noted: “Gay people, he says, are too angry. He wrings his hands over the “Q” in LGBTQ, whining that it denotes people who are only gay when it’s convenient for them, for instance, when they are in prison. And in a joke that seems to have been transported straight from 90s network television, he admonishes gay couples for wanting to do away with the terms “husband” and “wife,” suggesting that they just talk it out, and whoever is “gayer” is the wife.”
This type of comedy is subjective to the viewer. Each person watching Chappelle’s skit will react differently to his content. As one can presume, the quote regarding homosexuals and prison did not fathom well with the LGBTQ population. Furthermore, The studio is Andre’s realm, and he has all the tricks up his sleeve to make his guests uncomfortable. Unsuspecting women are subject to some of their worst fears, such as American actress Naturi Naughton. Having a fear of snakes, it was commonplace for Andre to fill a coffee mug with them and chase her down with the reptiles.
Backstage at Webster Hall in New York one night in March, Eric performs a show that truly breaks the limits of comedy. In this show, Eric says some of the most progressive and outlandish statements that the audiences are astounded by. “…Later, he told a slow, masterful joke about the ways religious people circumnavigate no-sex rules — with anal (Catholics) and soaking’ (Mormons) — reaching peak raunch and peak logic. God’s a fuckin’ perrrrvert!’ he yelled. Who is God?’ God’s the guy at the end of Requiem for a Dream yelling, Ass-to-ass! Ass-to-ass!'”
Andre has no sense of boundaries which is obvious to see, which is why his fans adore his content so much. Additionally, Eric Andre advocates practices in public that promotes the dominant social position of men and the subordinate social position of women. An example of this occurrence is during an interview with Lauren Conrad, a television personality and fashion designer. Andre vomits on his desk and then begins slurping it back up. In response, Conrad gags and runs off the set. During an interview with The Onion’s AV Club, Andre responded: “Her publicist flipped out on us and tried to get us banned (from) all their clients.”
They called us and said, “You can’t air this!” It was chaos. The publicist literally said this: “He drew a swastika on his face, and my grandparents died in the Holocaust!”(Modell) It’s clear that Eric has no sensitivity when it comes to his ethnicity or its history, but this quote also makes another point: nearly everyone involved in the show’s production is Jewish. Disrespecting another person’s beliefs openly shows that Andre is on top of the ladder. He will say anything because he knows that the individuals he’s near will hesitate to do anything at all. Through his street acts and in the studio, his progressive level of violence paints his character as masculine and the alpha male.