After premiering in February of 2007, Tim and Eric’s Awesome Show, Great Job! has far surpassed the expectations of most, becoming a cult hit on Adult Swim’s late night run with five seasons of barely-11 minute long episodes consisting of absurdist sketches, at times bordering on surreal. The show’s quirky musical performances, cameos from Hollywood’s finest (including Michael Cera, John C. Reilly, David Cross and many more) and The Office-style awkwardness meets David Lynch freakiness has cast the show as one of the strangest, yet most enjoyable alternatives to watching late night infomercials while plowing through a gallon of chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream.
Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim, the show’s two stars and creators, are taking their love of bizarre slapstick and musical oddities on the road this winter with The Tim and Eric Chrimbus Spectacular, a national tour complete with a live rock band. Tim and Eric were kind enough to take a few moments away from prepping for the tour to share a few of their thoughts with The Aquarian Weekly about the past, present, and future of Tim & Eric, not just as a television show, but also a vehicle for exploring some of the oddest comedy seen on late night TV.
How’s it going guys?
Tim: The good news is you are our last interview of the day. We’re feeling good because this is the last one, but the bad news is we’re very much on our last strength, so I just pray to God you are a reasonable man.
I’ll do my best for you guys.
T: You’re not reading off a piece of paper with some questions that your friends gave you, are you?
T: All right then. You wanna talk about your shit? We got 10 minutes with you so let’s talk. C’mon, let’s go!
I don’t want to talk about my shit. I want to talk about your shit, specifically the Chrimbus Spectacular. Will there be any cameos from people you have had on the show as recurring characters? Will there be skits from the show, new original material, or live music? Tell me what’s going on with this thing.
T: You just answered the question bro.
I answered it?
T: It’s all in the question. Just take the question and put it into answer form.
So is there anything you guys would like to add?
T: No, I think the question hit the nail on the head.
E: One of the big changes is we got a full rock band this time.
A Full rock band? Neat. Do you have a different working process when it comes to prepping for a live tour as opposed to shooting a television show?
E: Yeah this is a big thing. We gotta get in shape, we gotta learn our lines. We do a lot of characters from the show and we write new raps. The live thing is a totally different monster, much different from making the TV show.
Which do you prefer?
E: Playing to 1,000 people that are all part of our Tim & Eric family is probably one of the best things about doing the show for me.
T: You just gotta live off the energy of the crowd. You can’t do it without them. It’s like a dynamo. You can’t do it without a great crowd. If you get up there and you got a bunch of punks out there, it’s just no fun.
What are the audiences generally like at your live shows?
T: Our audiences are usually pretty polite, but exciting, so you don’t have a lot of heckling. We’ve had a really good experience where people are laughing and shouting and participating, but they are respectful also. They want to hear what you have to say. They’re not trying to take over the show. So we’re grateful to the audience.
They are part of the show. I’d say they are 50 percent of the show.
When you guys first started working together on Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job! did you ever think that your brand of bizarre, absurdist humor could get this popular, where you’d be able to do a national tour?
T: No. Everything has just built so gradually, it just feels like the natural progression of things for us. Back in the day, no, we’d go out and play for maybe 80 people and that would be pretty good.
Speaking of back in the day, you guys used to perform together in rock bands in Philadelphia. Did that have any influence on what you two would eventually do together?
E: Tim and I played in a band called Tim Heidecker Masterpiece at one time in Philadelphia very early on, and I think that was the genesis of us doing live stuff and integrating our love for playing live music with comedy.
Do you view your bands and musical numbers as separate musical material or an extension of your comedy into music?
E: It’s impossible to separate the two. We obviously have a great love for both. I don’t think we’re strong enough musicians to be able to pull it off seriously, but we love it so much that the comedy helps sort of give it a bed to rest on.
Cool. So what can we expect for the future of Tim and Eric after the show?
T: We’re taking things one week a time over here. We’re trying not to look too far in the future. We’re making a movie next year called Tim and Eric’s Million Dollar Movie and I think that’s as far as we can see into the future.
And how far into that process are you?
T: We start shooting in March so pre-production starts in January. The pieces are just starting to come together.
Will we be seeing any big name cameos?
T: I don’t think you’ll be surprised by who we have in the movie. I think it will be impressive.
We’ve had great relationships with almost everybody that you see on the show. I think all of these people would be excited to work with us in the future.
How do you get celebrity cameos on the show? Do you normally reach out to people you are interested in working with or do they contact you?
E: It’s a combination. We reach out to a lot of people, but as the show’s become somewhat popular, a lot of people asked us to be on the show which is very flattering.
T: We’re actually pretty picky about who we have on the show. There’s even a lot of people that I don’t want to name that we personally like, but we’re very cautious about who we let on the show. If a funny guy is on the show, it’s usually because we thought they were just right for the part. There are certainly a lot of people that we have privately said “no” to just because we feel they wouldn’t work within the context of our show.
What, overall, does Tim & Eric mean to you? Not just the show, but also the musical numbers, the skits, the characters, the tour, all of these elements. What’s the point of it for you guys?
T: That’s a big question for us huh? That sounds like it could be the subject of a book.
E: I’d say it’s so very simple for me: to make people laugh. It’s one of the greatest things about life and when Tim and I work together, when we can crack each other up, that’s a good job to go to everyday, just laughing and making our shows and sharing our particular kind of thing with other people and them really enjoying it. That’s the feeling. That’s the reason I’m doing it.
T: Everything starts with either “you know what would be funny” or “you know what would be great” and then it’s just a matter of executing—just getting it down and making it.
The Tim and Eric Chrimbus Spectacular will be stopping at The Best Buy Theatre on Nov. 27. For more information, visit www.timanderic.com.