If you’ve been missing Eric André’s antics since the release of his hidden camera/scripted hybrid film Bad Trip (2021) and the previous season of his self-titled show (2020), prepare to whet your whistle with some brand new episodes. (He also co-hosts a prank show that’s coming to ABC on July 9.) And if you’re not familiar with the Adult Swim series that bears his name, which kicks off season six on June 4, here’s some context: Most episodes begin with André crashing through his backdrop, tackling his band’s drummer, and destroying his set in ever more bizarre ways, ranging from tap dancing to scaling the columns that flank the stage and pecking them like a woodpecker until surfacing with a mouth full of worms. After all of this exertion, the host plops, exhausted and panting, into his chair while the set reassembles around him: The curtains drop, the props are pulled into place by visible wires, the show begins. While actor and comedian Hannibal Burress served as co-host for many years, André now rotates through different options, with stand-up Felipe Esparza most frequently filling the role these days. A monologue follows the co-host’s entrance, and it’s often nonsense, then the show moves on from there.
Guests appear on the program, too, and they aren’t exactly interviewed so much as continually tricked. For example, they may be offered grapes hanging from a boom as in the case of Lil Nas X, threatened by a stabby little “Chunky” doll come to life (like Chucky, but legally different), or left to watch dumbfounded as André tends to a full turkey he has just burned in his desk/oven like poor Jaleel White, who says, laughing, “This is a different kind of show, man.” (André’s desk is magical in this. It can become a careening little vehicle, a container for wet clay, or, at its weirdest, a creature that André has to inseminate manually, that pees when you scratch it.) He confronts Mia Khalifa with references to her being an anti-masker, which she denies, shocked, as he references his “notes” (two slices of deli ham on a purple notecard). He asks Daymond John of Shark Tank a jargon-riddled question pressing him on the evils of capitalism, then when Daymond answers, rejecting the idea, André replies with “that’s sick,” and high fives him, both men then acknowledging that neither understood the question to begin with. The whole thing is cringe, by design, and you have to be down with that to get into this show.
This batch of episodes has been referred to, in the show itself and in the press release as “Sexy Season 6,” but the only real nods to that are the purple satin curtains behind the set and Eric André’s periodic dance breaks in which he strips down to leopard-print undies (a signature move of his that’s not at all unique to this season). The aesthetic changes, his hairstyle changes—this season his hair is slicked back into a single long braid—but the rest is pretty much what fans have come to expect. It’s still a late-night parody show that flouts whatever late-night conventions it possibly can. As mentioned, strange gags stand in for interviews, entrances can consist of Esparza gliding face-down across the floor to his position beside André, and band engagements extend beyond polite laughter at the host’s jokes into out-of-place solos and even a band-member chugging from a gallon-sized bucked labeled “white paint” then contentedly wiping his mouth with the back of his hand as a guest watches, mouth agape. We also get full-on hidden camera pranks in place of remotes/man-on-the street bits popularized by the likes of Leno, and these can make people really mad.
While many of those pranks this season involve some clearly fake setups, and those being pranked seem fairly aware that this can in no way be real, others straight-up anger people, as when André enters a realtor’s open house as his “Ranch it up” character in neon raver gear with sky high shoes. (He’s typically seen squirting ranch dressing on things for folks on NYC streets.) He pesters the realtor, culminating in the arrival of a slew of party guests he has invited to party in the house before he decides whether to buy it. Then the cameras cut, and cartoon smoke is edited to look like it’s coming from the realtor’s ears. André has been physically beaten by prank victims before, and this seems like it could have been one of those times. The most obviously fake pranks are the silliest ones, and they often land best. In one particularly outlandish goof, André plays his established exterminator character who sprays every surface and food item in sight, eating the food as he goes, only to end up chasing a “queen fly” (definitely someone in a costume) who bursts through an office cabinet and scurries past as André calmly talks to the shrieking, laughing receptionist. It genuinely seems to bring joy, and a little thrill, to her day. As in his film Bad Trip, others of his pranks highlight the best in people as well, their willingness to help an addled stranger in need.
Honestly, this show can be a little much at times. Dick and poop jokes, gross-out humor, and simulated sex acts abound. However, with its rapid-fire pacing and quick runtime (around 10 minutes per episode, in classic Adult Swim fashion), the jokes you don’t like are over quickly, and there are many big belly-laughs to be had. Conan O’Brien has heralded André as carrying the torch of silly comedy as O’Brien has moved to the podcast format, and André himself has said, on Conan’s podcast, that his sweet spot is when his highly intelligent writing staff channels their inner third grader to craft perfectly stupid jokes. The absurd highlight of this season comes when a character known as the FRIDGE KEEPER comes to co-host in the final episode. The press release describes him as “mysterious,” but it’s exactly what it sounds like: a Tales From The Crypt-style puppet who lives in a freezer and pops out to make puns or rap about himself. The conceit of this episode in general is ridiculous. It’s a “Cold Episode,” because since they’re “union now” they’re contractually obligated to film a cold episode(?). Of course it makes no sense. It’s The Eric Andre Show! That’s what they’re all about: peak strangeness and having fun, and it’s worth a watch. We mean, it’s just 10 minutes, right?
The Eric Andre Show season six premieres June 4 on Adult Swim