On Man Seeking Woman, Eric Andre plays Mike, the prototypical wingman character who is always trying to break his friend Josh (Jay Baruchel) out of a funk and keep him clear of commitment. On Adult Swim’s The Eric Andre Show, he pushes guests and people on the street to their limit by seemingly eliminating his filter and unleashing his wildest impulses. It’s interesting to talk to someone who is capable of such range and it’s entertaining when you get a little taste of the charm that propels Mike and the “weirdness” that fuels Andre’s talk show host persona bundled tightly into a 10 minute phone call.
During the interview, we discussed Salvador Dali’s penis, Mike’s in-progress evolution, Andre’s initial desire to play Josh, how that whole Seth Rogen’s cell phone number thing went down, and why Andre thinks Eddie Murphy didn’t go after Bill Cosby during the SNL 40th Anniversary Special, among other things.
You know Salvador Dali? The artist. He was so insane, he built a castle for his wife so that she could escape him and have her down time once in awhile.
That sounds like a good idea.
Yeah, his penis didn’t work either. He was impotent. So, they had their conflicts.
Do you think the castle had something to do with his busted dick, or do you think it was separate?
I can’t say. I’m not comfortable saying.
I understand. You don’t want to speak on somebody else’s relationship, either.
I don’t want to speak on the late Salvador Dali’s relationship.
(Laughs) So, last week’s episode of Man Seeking Woman — the destination wedding — seemed to show more of a pro-romance side of Mike. Is that part of an evolution that we’re going to see with the character?
Yeah, it is. That is a very calculated evolution via Simon Rich’s brain. Yeah, we’re starting to see a more softer side of Mike.
Is that something that you’ve been pushing for?
Nope. I showed up to Canada and the writer’s [had already] figured it out. They figured out my arc.
Speaking of that arc, is there any kind of relationship on the horizon for Mike before the season ends?
We’re not really… I think if we come back, potentially. But nothing on the horizon, really. Well, in a way, yes. In the finale, but not in a traditional sense. I’ll put it that way without trying to spoil it.
Is he gonna hook up with Tanaka? Is that what’s up?
(Laughs) I wish!
Just so many penises. So many penises…
A hole’s a hole.
Exactly, that’s what love is. I think Salvador Dali said that.
Salvador Dali… that’s exactly what he said, “A hole’s a hole. Capiche!”
(Laughs) Were there any specific ladies man/male chauvinist tropes that you were eager to play with on the show with Mike?
Oh my God, all of them. I got into The Game, Neil Strauss’ pickup artist stuff. I YouTube’d a bunch of videos, and I got The Game on tape and listened to it in my car. Yeah, I’m like fascinated with that stuff.
You auditioned for the role of Josh at first, right?
Yeah, I was like, “I could play Josh! I get it!” And I met with Krisel [Executive Producer/Director Jonathan Krisel], and he was like, “No, you should play Mike.” And I was like, “No, man! I am J-O-S-H!” and then I read it again and I was like, “Oh, I’m not right for this guy at all. I should totally play Mike.” I think at first, Mike was an investment banker or some kind of yuppie and kind of buttoned up, so I was like, “I’m not going to pull off that.” But then I met with Andrew Singer and he was like, “No, no no, we can make Mike whatever. We can play with what his job is and we can play with him.” And Simon said, “It’s all about, Mike is a ladies man so that Josh looks even more pathetic and kind of spiritually impotent next to Mike who is this kind of Alpha.” So, once I figured that out, I was like “Yeah!” And I just love Simon. The first time I read the script, I was in love. I fell in love with that young man.
Were you familiar with his book?
No, I wasn’t at the time and then I crash coursed. The guy’s a genius. Simon is a brilliant, beautiful mind. Super funny. I love working with the guy.
How has your approach changed when you’ve been looking for a part over the last few years? Are you more selective? Are you more looking for something unique like this show over something that might be more mainstream?
No man! I’ll do a f*cking non-union regional ham commercial and they can pay me in ham. I mean, I’m pathetic. I will sell out at the drop of a hat. I would suck Ronald McDonald’s dick in front of a Walmart.
(Laughs) Jumping to your show for a second. With the remotes on The Eric Andre Show, do you want people to freak out or do you want them to play along?
Definitely more the former. I want people to react frightened and confused. Them playing along is kind of a dud.
Are you seeing that more? You’re in season three, are you encountering people that know what’s up, people who know how to react to you?
Knock on wood, it’s been pretty good. I’m usually doing something so unexpected and outlandish that people are reacting appropriately. I think there’s something wrong with the bit if people are just like, “Oh, that’s nice.” We try to look for those weaknesses in the writing process.
What about the celebrity guests? Same question. Are you looking for them to play along or do you want them to be completely thrown off their game?
I want them to be taken out of their comfort zone a little bit. Taken out of their element and have to cope with Hannibal [Buress] and I. Yeah, we’ll see what the future brings, but for now, we’re still in a good space.
Let me ask, the Seth Rogen cell phone number thing, how did that come to be? Was it planned, or did you just throw it up on the screen?
We just threw it up there.
Did he know?
Oh hell no! And if he’s got a problem, he can talk to me.
Alright. I’ll pass it on even though I’ll never talk to him. Though, I guess I could just call him on the number and let him know…
Call his ass up.
I would assume that he probably changed the number after the whole Interview thing.
He might have changed the number by now.
Obviously, you’re a bit fearless with your comedy. When you hear something like Eddie Murphy allegedly saying that he didn’t want to take a shot at Bill Cosby when he’s down, how does that strike you? Is that completely foreign? Somebody not wanting to get the laugh because they don’t want to kick a man when he’s down — does that sound weird to you?
I think what Eddie Murphy was sensing was… I think he just didn’t feel comfortable making that joke yet. You know what I mean? As a comic, you get pitched stuff all the time… sometimes you think stuff is fine and its edgy and funny, and sometimes you think it’s in bad taste. And honestly, when Kenan did the joke, it did kind of tank. Like, the audience wasn’t ready to laugh about that. I mean, some audience members think he’s falsely accused, some audience members think he’s rightfully accused but maybe they don’t feel good about joking about serial rape. So, I think he made the call like, “Ah, I’m not really ready to make that joke. It’s out of my comfort zone.” You know, you gotta make those calls all the time. So I don’t fault Eddie Murphy for that at all. I would have done the joke, I don’t give a f*ck. But you could tell the audience was uncomfortable.
I thought it was f*cking hilarious.
I thought it was hilarious too. I was actually surprised that the audience didn’t laugh that hard. I thought that it wasn’t too much, it was just like bing, bang, boing.
Man Seeking Woman airs on Wednesdays at 10:30 p.m. on FXX.