Eric Andre doesn’t quite disappoint in Fall Comedy Show
Most of the crowd in front of me were jerks. Charlie, my friend and ex-roommate, arrived at 4:30 p.m. to get a close spot. Around 50 people were in line at that point. Two hours later, as we filed into Graham Chapel, nearly three times that number entered before we did. I am not exempt from the jerks part of the crowd; I arrived at 5:40 p.m., got a ticket, then meandered to the front of the line to stand with Charlie. But the excitement was understandable. We were there to see the immaculate, the absurd: Eric Andre.
I didn’t know what to expect for Andre’s performance on Monday. I had seen “The Eric Andre Show,” a spoof of talk shows like “Space Ghost Coast to Coast” that was somehow more ridiculous. I would have loved to see a live taping of the show, but he was coming here to do stand-up. The question lingering as I found my seat was whether Eric Andre’s performance would be more traditional comedy or would it be more like his show. It would wind up being a slightly underwhelming mix of both.
David Gborie, a writer for “The Eric Andre Show,” opened the show and did a great, traditional set of stand-up comedy. Gborie was sharp and did a nice job priming the crowd for more comedy. A couple in front of me really enjoyed his jokes about indie rock music. “The specificity of Fleet Foxes really made that one land,” they said.
However, Gborie’s comedy was not a good primer for Andre. The most excited person for Eric Andre to perform was Eric Andre. As soon as the announcer introduced Andre, he was at the front, screaming and high-fiving students. The first words out of Andre’s mouth were, “Satan is back tonight!” Andre was a ball of chaotic energy, from start to finish. His set was not as tight as Gborie’s was. He told too many jokes about Bill Cosby and Louis C.K.; he did not shy away from racy topics. But he was—undeniably—funny.
In the beginning of his set, it seemed like he was feeling the audience out. He told the audience stories about his drug usage and shouted out ridiculous punchlines to pretty normal premises. At one point, I asked Charlie if Eric Andre was funny or if he was just loud. Later in the show, as he settled down, his strength as a performer and writer shined through periodically.
The best example of this was a bit that he did about police brutality and reggae. The premise was plausible and relatable, the punchline was poignant and hilarious. By the end of it, he had the audience reeling. That section was excellent, but it left me wanting more.
There was a lot of crowd work. Andre asked the crowd if they had ever walked in on their parents having sex and then maintained a conversation with an audience member as she talked about walking in on her parents having sex on Father’s Day. The biggest laugh in that section came when the audience member confirmed that she was, in fact, “a little faded.”
Andre also closed the show with crowd work. He asked for audience member’s phones and sent their parents messages completed using autocomplete. It was a funny bit, but ultimately the phone was doing more work than Andre. He ended the show by FaceTiming the mother of a student and having her say goodbye to the audience for him.
I stood up to leave and started moving towards the back when the lights dimmed again and the screen flashed “Encore?” I quickly filed back into my seat as Andre came back out and announced a fifth season of “The Eric Andre Show” and that he was starring in a “Jackass” style prank movie next year, of which he showed the crowd a “never-before-seen clip.” The movie seemed like it would be funny, but it also highlighted that Andre’s strength is as a writer of sketches and absurd premises as opposed to stand-up comedy.
Leaving the show, I was pleased, but not blown away. A person behind me told his neighbor, “This was better than I thought it would be. I was ready for an hour of Pizza Ball, so this was pretty good.” He hit the nail right on the head.