The air was thick with smoke Sunday night as bodies packed close to the Backbooth stage in downtown Orlando for a glimpse at what an Eric André set might look like.
The 33-year-old Boca Raton native (“I’m from Boca…If I said that in Boca, two guys in the audience would die of a heart attack") isn’t all that known for his live appearances.
Two-minute skits of him paralyzing pedestrians by blending his hand to shreds have been most responsible for his fame thus far.
More recently, he mocked the ubiquitous - and always obnoxious - convention coverage season by attending both the DNC and the RNC in his usual character of Completely Inept Talk Show Host.
At the Republican convention, he asked conservative conspiracy theorist Alex Jones to have sex with his wife before being pushed off the stage.
He took it one step further at the Democratic convention by dry-humping a Hillary Clinton impersonator as onlookers did all they could do – stare.
“The Republicans got more pissed at me then (sic) the Dems, but I didn’t really say anything political at either one. The Republicans seemed more uptight even when I was agreeing with them,” André told NSM.Today via email.
These stunts, part of The Eric André Show on Adult Swim, have garnered him a loyal following among young people who see him as a messiah of a raucously absurd brand of humor that leaves nothing untouched and nothing in place.
The target is everything, even the audience itself, and the limit does not exist. The 10 confiscated vape pens on the entrance lectern don't surprise anyone.
“I got a lot of energy,” André said. Indeed.
Breaking his desk and torturing the guest are staples of his 15-minute midnight satire. Faced with the kind of recognition that comes with four seasons on cable, André is resorting to more conventional methods to reach his audience.
He’s appeared on long-form interviews in The Howard Stern Show, AOL BUILD and he stopped in Orlando twice – once at Backbooth and one more time for a late show at Will’s Pub – as part of his Florida promotional tour.
His dimly-lit 40 minutes relied on set-ups and punch lines swirled with his idiosyncratic erraticism.
He described himself as a feminist before proceeding to reverse misogynistic sex acts to highlight male humiliation. He poked fun at FAU (“find another university”) and drew loud cheers from asking if anyone in the audience is either A) in college or B) a drug user.
“Never before. The crowds were fucking amazing. Great energy,” André said of performing in Orlando for the first time.
Reminiscent of when rapper T.I. walked off André’s set this season after jokes involving multiple dildos, Andre ended his set by inviting a male audience member up to the stage with him before stripping down and, at last, baring it all for his audience.
Story originally published on August 12, 2016.