Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim on Ball Jokes, John C. Reilly, and their Awesome Show
Tim and Eric Awesome Show Great Job! runs every Sunday night in 11-minute episodes on the Cartoon Network's Adult Swim at 12:30 am.
"We have dick jokes and ball jokes and fart jokes and dry comedy and sort of intellectual comedy and 'ooh-ma-ma.' We try to keep things balanced."
Tim and Eric, respectively
If you're not into fake vomit and mock turtlenecks, here's some good news: There are plenty of comedians for you to like besides Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim. The bad news, of course, is that you'll miss out on some of the most absurdly inventive humor to feature on your TV/PC/iPhone lately. The creators of The Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job! are not yet household names, but given their growing number of die-hard fans, may soon achieve that status--almost certainly if said household is under the age of 40 and favors ball jokes. Heidecker and Wareheim have been busy taping The Awesome Show's 20-episode third season on Adult Swim (which premiered this past Sunday, July 27), releasing a DVD of seasons one and two, and staging their live tour, the aptly-named Tim and Eric Awesome Tour, which passed through the Highline Ballroom in late April. I sat down with them to learn their thoughts on random humor, what happens when you search for "Doors horny" on YouTube, and about upcoming projects that may or may not involve Dr. Steve Brule.
It seems that people are either really into Tim and Eric, or they aren't. There's not a lot of in-between. Why?
Eric Wareheim: Tim and I have a set of rules that that we go by in the comedy world, which is just, 'Use what we think is funny.' We don't do any popular culture and we don't do a lot of stuff that people can relate to. It's one of those things where you're either in the club, or you're way out of the club. It confuses and angers a lot of people when they don't get it--when they don't understand why Chippy is funny.
It angers people?
Eric Wareheim: Yeah. The first show we did, Tom Goes to the Mayor, one, it was just very different than other cartoons, and two, the pacing is different, the jokes were different, and just the way the stories go over is different. It freaks people out when they don't get stuff, and their first reaction is like, "Okay, fuck that."
Tim Heidecker: Yeah, you become defensive, because you feel your intelligence is being questioned if you don't get it. [Pauses] And maybe it's just not funny to people. Comedy is so subjective. I mean, the most successful shows on TV are apparently comedies that we don't find funny.
One of the things that makes the show challenging to watch are the 'unfunny' bits; the sketches that you can't readily dissect into traditional elements of comedy. Like the one where you are both rolling around on the ground, yelling "ooh-ma-ma" over and over again and breaking things. What is the role that these skits--which are disconcerting and feel somehow 'wrong'--play in your shows?
Tim Heidecker: First of all we do think it's funny, but we acknowledge that there may not be a literal or apparent punch line in the sketch. But there is a emotional reaction to the repetition; to the mood that it evokes. It's a 'why would they do that' joke. You're laughing at the craziness of, "Why are they doing that? It's absurd."