Opening credits are a microcosm of the TV show to come. They offer broad character intros and a glimmer of the show’s sensibility to ease viewers into it. At least that’s definitely the case on The Eric Andre Show. Each episode begins with the besuited host, who seems to have just escaped from an Amazonian death cult and teleported to a talk show, trashing the set in ecstatic, screaming panic. Instead of an invite, the opening is an ultimatum: if you don’t like this, leave. Eric Andre wouldn’t have it any other way.
“It’s the first thing I thought of,” the comedian says of the way his show begins. “The rest was, and still is, all filler.”
He may be exaggerating a bit. The opening is a revolutionary exercise in format deconstruction, but the show that follows does indeed follow that thread all the way down. Andre’s interviews with actual celebrities (Seth Rogen), quasi-celebrities (Jodie Sweetin), and miscellaneous humans (a man in a blonde wig billed as “Reese Witherspoon”) resemble no other interviews on TV. The host alternates between uncomfortably personal questions and go-nowhere prompts like “Have you ever heard a guitar?” while co-host Hannibal Buress stands awkwardly to the guest’s immediate right. There are also interstitial segments in which Andre hustles around New York City, performing the kind of confrontational man-on-the-street bits that would make Johnny Knoxville wince.
The opening, however, is the show’s signature moment; a solid gold hood ornament that tips the whole vehicle into greatness. Each new introduction finds the berserk host rampaging through the set in a different way. There are a few recurring targets (“I think we went through 27 desks this year and six bookcases,” Andre says) but there are always touches unique to each episode. You never know when Andre will punch the head off of a snowman, make out with a trout, get chased around in a straight jacket, or appear in a perfectly executed simulation of Mortal Kombat with Hannibal Buress. The protracted tantrum always ends the same: with Andre sitting down, battered and exhausted, while the crew rebuilds the set around him. One can never guess, or prepare for, what might happen after that.
The last new Eric Andre Show of 2014, a year in which Andre sported a Katt Williams perm in every single episode, aired on December 18th at 12:15am. (New episodes start on January 9th at the same time.) Catch up on old episodes here, and have a look through the slides above to see Andre’s five favorite openings so far.