Eric Andre is one of the craziest and most chaotic of comedians, at least when he’s not acting in mainstream fare and is left to his own devices, as with his Adult Swim series The Eric Andre Show which is a beautifully insane piece of tv. A mixture of bizarre interviews where the celebrities either don’t have a clue what’s going on and do their best to cope with the insane or inane questions they’re asked, or are impersonated by people who don’t look a thing like their real life counterparts, it also includes the very low energy side kick that is Hannibal Burgess and some surreal pranks with Andre screwing around with people in real life, and it’s a downright hilariously unusual creation, and one which almost never fails to make me laugh hard.
But though Andre’s first Netflix special opens in a similar way to one of his pranks from the tv series as Andre pretends to be a policeman, falling out of a police car and offering anyone around him various drugs (with the best moments being when they accept them), this otherwise shows us a very different side of Andre. He’s still an anarchic entertainer without any doubt, and often says things he clearly doesn’t believe, but it’s all performed in a far more charming manner, and it’s a much higher energy show to that of the tv series.
Given the title of the special it’ll probably be unsurprising that a large element of the show is all about Andre’s relationship with drugs, as with most of the set he’s often ridiculously provocative and that makes it all the funnier, as he comes out with obvious lies about how he enjoys blowing marijuana in to a baby’s face or sprinkling coke in to his younger brother’s cereal, and Andre clearly relishes the absurdity of such ideas. Even better though are anecdotes about his past when he got his Mom high (who supposedly once said “Bill Cosby didn’t do it, I did it”) and a story about taking too much Xanax at a gig is as deranged as you might expect.
After that the special is a little more scattershot but it’s no less funny, as we’re given Andre’s thoughts about homophobia and how everyone should sex with everyone else as “We all feel like hot spaghetti in the dark”, which is one of my favourite examples of his preposterous word play. Then he launches in to a story about how he was once mistaken for Key and Peele by a person who thought they’re just one person, and there’s a superb segment about how the use of reggae in the tv show Cops is ridiculously unsuitable, and allows Andre to tear in to the police in a part which has never been more timely.
Perhaps unsurprisingly Andre thinks sex work should be legalized too, which leads in to an anecdote about paying for sex in Amsterdam, which he gets big laughs out of by using deliberately plain language to boast about what happened, saying in the best part “We started making the sex, I’m talking penis in vagina type shit. Straight missionary position, cuz, regular size condom on bro”, and this is then followed by an completely unconnected story about a souvenir he bought from Cuba, but the lack of any continuity doesn’t matter as Andre’s such a dab hand at telling these unusual tales.
The final third of the show continues the trend of stories from his life and random thoughts or observations, including a fair amount of provocative teasing – like when he suggests KFC grow mutated chickens with giant breasts, and how he wants to titty fuck them. But there’s also some very pointed commentary about the political situation in America, the strongest part revolving around the third amendment and how ludicrous it is, before he leaps in to a routine about eating ass, and the surprising mix of the profane and the profound works beautifully together.
The show ends with his thoughts on religion, parents having sex, an attempt at hooking up with an old flame and then a second prank, this time taking place in the theatre as he uses an audience members phone to call their mother, with the phone’s predictive text deciding what he says to her. This could have gone wrong, or been borderline unpleasant (as Andre’s sketches in the tv series occasionally are) but thankfully it’s one of the best parts of the show as the mother in question is more than happy to go along with Andre’s madness.
It’s a masterful set from an amazing comedian, easily one of the best on Netflix right now, up there with Maria Bamford’s Old Baby, John Mulaney’s Kid Gorgeous at Radio City, Hannah Gadbsy’s Nanette, Patton Oswalt’s Annihilation and Tig Notaro’s Happy To Be Here – it couldn’t be more different from those specials if it tried, but it’s just as memorable and Andre is on the same kind of form as those other comedians. The special shows him to be a master of the unpredictable while always remaining hilarious, and he controls the tempo of the show perfectly so that his unique brand of chaotic comedy never risks becoming exhausting, and instead it just gets funnier and funnier as it goes on.