To be a guest on “The Eric Andre Show” is to take your sanity to the edge. The Adult Swim series, produced by Andre, Kitao Sakurai and Andrew Barchilon, opens with its titular host destroying the set in a minute-long violent orgy, and is then followed by a combination of on-the-street pranks and some of the most bizarre celebrity interviews ever captured on film.
Ryan Phillippe scatting, Lou Ferrigno getting pissed off over paint getting on his shirt and Lance Reddick paying unusual tribute to the work of Levar Burton are just a few of the semi-improvised moments of madness that have occurred over the past two seasons.
And Season 3, which will premiere Thursday, November 6, is poised to go even further. Just some of the unsuspecting souls appearing, according to Andre: Chris Rock, Jimmy Kimmel, Seth Rogen, Andy Samberg, Tyler the Creator, Wiz Khalifa, Jillian Barberie, Victor Ortiz, Mac DeMarco, Lauren Conrad, Ryan Kwanten, Nick Cannon, Carmen Electra, Lil Jon, Pauly D from “The Jersey Shore” and Ryan Phillippe (again).
What have these people signed up for? In this exclusive interview, Andre told Indiewire about the level of preparation (or not) that goes into each segment, the trouble they got into while filming some of this season’s pranks and which of the above people “fucking haaaaates” him.
So when you bring in a guest, how do you feel out what they are going to be game for?
I sort of just don’t. A lot of the time I have to figure it out in the moment. We have very little time, and this year sometimes I would just not introduce myself to the guest beforehand, so it was completely improvisational and they had no idea what was going on. So…I don’t really? We watch clips and see their other interviews and try to figure out what would be the best thing to do during their interview.
For the Jonah Salk bit, did you have the concept for doing that cut-away before he came in? Or did that just kind of evolve?
Vaguely. No, it was kind of like half pre-planned/improvised. I think we just had that backdrop and those props lying around and were just throwing him wild lines.
Did you you film that before or after the “interview” portion?
That was Season 1, I don’t even remember. Maybe afterwards? I think afterwards because he had to pick his kids up from soccer. He was like, “I got to get out of here, I got to get to soccer.”
How in-the-can is everything now? Are you completely shot and done?
We’re done. We’re trying to finish up editing now, we’re totally done shooting.
What bits are you most excited about, coming up?
We got a bunch of great stuff coming up. We have a great Lauren Conrad interview, she walked out during the interview. We have a great Seth Rogen interview, and Wiz Khalifa. Chris Rock does a really fun segment with us in New York, it’s a segment that we do called “Bird Up,” which is like, the worst television show, one of the worst things on television.
So with the Lauren Conrad interview, she walked out. Was that for real?
Yeah! She fucking hates me! Fucking hates me.
Did you sense that that would be the end result going in?
No, I wasn’t really sure. You never really know. Some people are totally cool and fine, and some people are uptight and like, “What the fuck!” But she fucking hates me.
Is that going to be the most talked-about moment from this season or is there something else that happened you think is going to even more controversial?
I don’t know, it’s up there. Gosh, I’m trying to think what’s a good thing to tease out but not ruin the joke of.
Of course, I don’t want you blowing punchlines.
I definitely almost got punched in the face a lot with the street stuff. So a lot of good high stakes street pranks this year too. As well as interviews and stuff.
Do you feel the need to escalate the pranks each season?
Yeah! Absolutely, totally. You want to be better and better and better and get more hardcore at stuff. We got the cops calling on us like every other bit I’m in the street this year. One time, two ambulances and a fire truck and a cop car were dispatched in Chinatown — I was dragging around a bloody bodybag all through Chinatown, and this cop liked reamed us out. He was like, “Oh, you think you’re funny, huh?” And we’re like, “Uhhh.” And he’s like the Gunnery Sergeant from “Full Metal Jacket.” So that’s a good sign.
You didn’t say “Of course I think I’m funny!”
Definitely not. We’re like, “uhh, sorry.” And he’s like, “Where’s your permits?” And we’re like, “We didn’t get one.” And he’s like, “Why not?” And we’re like, “Man, they’re like 300 bucks.”
Adult Swim doesn’t make you guys get permits?
Oh, I don’t know. Maybe I shouldn’t have said anything. [Laughs] No comment.
I’m curious how much the set costs. Because I would imagine it’s a significant part of the budget, because you have to rebuild it every time.
Yeah, we destroy all of it pretty much at the end. So all that set destruction you see at the beginning of each episode is like two days of destroying it. But it’s made out of incredibly cheap material and our budget is not anything crazy.
Can you ballpark how much it actually costs?
It’s about the same budget as like when you see your nephew do his fifth grade play. An elementary school kind of budget.
For you, in terms of satirizing something that is already meant to be funny, the whole “talk show” format — are there specific elements you’re trying to screw around with?
I don’t really think a lot of talk shows are funny. They’re usually really cheesy or the host has to be all kissy-wissy with the guests, no matter what their real opinion is about. So I think there’s plenty to satirize. Like Jay Leno will stick to the script so much and be like [really good Jay Leno impression] “You’re from Florida originally!” You don’t give a shit where the fucking person’s from. So, I think it’s easy to satirize. I think it’s funny to see a talk-show host be completely inept and incompetent and zero research on the person they’re interviewing, and just be wildly inappropriate.
How did it work having Jimmy Kimmel on?
He was awesome! He was just laughing the whole time while me and Hannibal argued and were wildly inappropriate with him. We had an intern lie under his seat and tickle his taint from within the seat the entire interview, so he was kind of confused and didn’t know what was going on. He was like, “I feel like there’s something human in this chair.” And we were like, “no no no no no, it’s fine, it’s fine.” So we were just slowly psychologically torturing him.
How do you tell an intern to climb inside a couch and do that?
As simple as that.
Was Kimmel one of the ones who knew what he was getting into?
I don’t think so. I feel like no one knows what they’re getting into. Most of the guests have a vague understanding of what Adult Swim is and they’re pretty much flying blind.
Was there anyone from this season who definitely did know what they were doing?
Nobody ever really knows one hundred percent. And the majority of people are completely in the dark.
“The Eric Andre Show” returns to Adult Swim Thursday, November 6 at 12:15am.
This article was updated to correct a reference to the producers of “The Eric Andre Show.”