Week One: Tim and Eric Interview

From The Onion

January 15, 2009
By David Wolinksy

When Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim started out making awkward, off-topic film-school projects (like saluting the lobster’s contribution to cinema), they really didn’t consider what they were doing ‘comedy.’ That’s long since changed, though: They’ve since made a cottage industry out of their surreal, polarizing sketches — the fourth season of their bizarre live-action, sketch-based Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job! Premieres on Feb. 8; the second season of their show comes out on DVD on Feb. 10; and they’re working on an Awesome Show spin-off that premieres this year, and a movie that’s still in its embryonic state. Most immediately, however, Tim and Eric are hitting the road.

The A.V. Club: Why Have You Opted To Bring Some Of Awesome Show’s Performers With You On This Tour?

Tim Heidecker: [On the] last tour we did four dates on the West Coast with some of the regular odd fellows from the show as sort of a test to see if we could manage it. And it went really well, so now we’re going to do the whole country with them.

AVC: Manage it?

TH: Well, just how the audience would react with them and how we would react to traveling with them and how hard it would be to travel with more than just us. It worked out pretty well, so we’re bringing them to the rest of the country.

Eric Wareheim: It could be the worst disaster ever, the worst decision we’ve ever made. Dave Liebe Hart and James Quall, they’re part of our family here. We see them on a weekly basis. They’re eccentric people. They’re very different — they’re not professional performers. We’re practically living with them for a month, and that could get pretty trying at times. [Laughs.]

AVC: During your live shows people often try taking pictures of you performing with the flash on, and you usually stop the show to mug for the camera. Is that done sarcastically?

TH: Yeah, that’s something we picked up after doing the show a few times. We were noticing that people were taking pictures with their flashes. So we decided to exploit that a little bit and make a joke. Like one, people are always taking these pictures and they look terrible — cause we’re not posing for them. So we were like, let’s just pose for them and get it over with. But it’s also just a ridiculous thing to do. Every bit we do live there’s something. Like, what were we saying yesterday, Eric? We’re fucking with the audience the whole time. There’s constantly another level going on.

AVC: What’s coming up in the next season of the show?

EW: We have some big special guests — Alan Thicke.

TH: The real Alan Thicke. Sylvester Stallone’s brother — Frank Stallone.

EW: That’s number two. It really goes down after Alan Thicke. [Laughs.] Then we have Peter Stormare, who is one of the bad guys in Fargo.

AVC: Your show mixes a lot of non-professional-performers with more famous ones. Have there been any notable or unusual interactions between them?

EW: That one with Peter Stormare and some woman. We had a really dark commercial called ‘Cinco Boy’ for when your son dies. It’s an artificial boy, sort of like AI. It’s just a doll — and over time you get redelivered taller dolls.

AVC: Because it grows?

EW: Yeas, as it grows. And we usually write the script down and we overwrite it so that we have some stuff to work with. And so we get on the set and this woman, the mom, has some lines. And we’re cutting them for time and telling them what to do and she just didn’t hear that direction and Peter Stormare goes to the next part and she’s like, ‘Are you going to let me do my line?’ She didn’t know who she was talking to really. [Laughs.] Or maybe she did, and she didn’t care. [Laughs.]

TH: She had a little bit of an attitude, and when you work with people and, you know, you’re giving them an opportunity, you’re like almost all the time you get a certain amount of, ‘Oh yeah! Whatever you say!’ You know, really good-spirited people who are just happy to be there are happy to work. And she just had this diva attitude, this undeserved diva attitude. [Laughs.] Really? No, that’s not the way we do things here.

Tim and Eric perform Jan. 15 at Mezzanine at 8 p.m. Tickets are $25 and the show is 21+

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