We’ve got a brand-new “Guest List,” in which an interesting person lists some interesting things. This time around, our guest is comedian Eric Andre, host of “The Eric Andre Show.”
That title is the only conventional thing about series. Each episode begins with Eric destroying his own set, and then he lobs bizarre questions at often-unsuspecting interview guests.
Here’s Eric to list a few disastrous interviews that served as… “inspirations.”
Kennedy & Major Lazer
Eric Andre: Okay, so my first favorite train wreck interview is Kennedy’s interview with Diplo’s band, Major Lazer, at Lollapalooza, I believe.
She was a VJ on MTV, and she pisses the band off right off the bat. And she’s kind of like trying to joke her way out of it, but insulting them more and more, and digs herself a deeper hole.
Soooo painful. It’s so clear, like, that the band hates her and wants to get out of it. And… like, Howard Stern is the best interviewer. You gotta be a conduit between your audience and the guest because your audience doesn’t have access to that guest, but you do. So when you blunder that opportunity, it’s just a beautiful train wreck of humanity. I’ve been there before, Kennedy.
David Letterman & Crispin Glover
Another great train wreck interview is Crispin Glover on David Letterman.
I had a theory, I was like, “Why was all the best train wrecks on Letterman in the 80s and 90s?” And I just think like, Dave was in New York — so when the celebrities got to New York, they just partied harder than they did in L.A. And I think Letterman was more late night, and it took him a while to get big names. So he was just having lunatics on.
[Glover] looks insane. He’s got weird platform shoes on. His hair looks like a witch’s wig. And he is oddly strong; he has like, crazy-person-muscle. Like, Iggy Pop muscle. And he’s, like, demonstrating his strength for some reason.
When I watch Crispin Glover’s foot almost kick David Letterman in the face, there’s a danger there that I appreciate. I actually wish more late-night was like this because there’s conflict. Conflict is what drives scenes. Something’s at risk and you don’t know what’s gonna happen next. Versus most late-night shows, where it’s very rehearsed.
Ali G & Buzz Aldrin
So these examples [so far] are real, unintentional train wreck interviews. But the master, who does it intentionally, is Sasha Baron Cohen on “Da Ali G Show.” He knows how play with people: pushing them to their limit and then backing off… then push, then back off, push and back off, and keep the person confused, like, “Wow, is this guy actually this idiotic?”
Sacha Baron Cohen’s a genius and I did as much research as possible on tactics he used to make the guest uncomfortable.
Like, as “Borat,” he never washed that suit that whole season. So I was like, “I shouldn’t wash my suit. I shouldn’t even wear deodorant the whole season!” So I just reeked. And then I tried to take it a step [further] and I grew out my fingernails this season, and didn’t brush my hair the whole year. So I do all these, like, method things to make the person I’m interviewing think that I’m actually deranged.
On my show, “The Eric Andre Show,” we strive… we stride… Strided? Striveded? We striveded to make the world’s worst talk show. ‘Cause a decent interview is a dime a dozen and it’s kind of just like, “OK, that’s interesting.” But when it’s a total train wreck, it’s just more rare.
I don’t know. Don’t overthink it, man.