Vulgarity. Absurdity. “Poop and pee mixed together.” These were the ingredients chosen to create the perfect Jewish Haitian comedian Eric Andre.
Andre, 37, guzzles bottles of ranch, trolls Lauren Conrad, and draws swastikas on fans’ faces. He also fights for equal rights, loves his mama, and celebrates Passover. Yes, he made out with a policeman for a stunt, and it’s true that he had sex with Santa Clause on television, but don’t call Andre an “alternative comedian.” He hates that.
To Andre, comedy is comedy is comedy, and like all Jewish comedians before him, he uses it as a coping mechanism to process tragedy: “Good comedy has always been what it’s been, therapy. It’s also a way to distort the truth, and add absurdity to the truth.”
On the scene since his big break on Don’t Trust the B— in Apartment 23, Andre has solidified himself as the most popular bizzaro comedian with a talk show — The Eric Andre Show — that makes Between Two Ferns look as dull as Sunday golf.
With Bad Trip on the way, a new hidden camera comedy film that takes a page out of The Eric Andre Show (of which a fifth season is also on the horizon), a third season of Disenchantment, and Andre’s first stand-up special, Legalize Everything, about to debut on Netflix, we figured it was time to share 18 things to know about this Jewish genius oddball.
1. Covering the bases, let’s begin with The Eric Andre Show. Co-hosted with comedian Hannibal Buress, Andre begins every episode with the total destruction of the set, demolishing everything in sight. And it never. Gets. Old. Entering its fifth season on Adult Swim, The Eric Andre Show is a mash-up of pranks, freeze frames, so much tension, and interviews with celebrities like Seth Rogen and Jack Black. In one episode, Andre hands out KKK hoods to Tea Party supporters. In another, a dog bites his arm as the other is set on fire.
Are the pranks real? Totally.
“My show is all real. You never, never fake reactions. You can tell when the reactions are fake. You can just smell it. The audience smells it. And then that ruins your reputation,” he told Looper.
And if you don’t find Andre’s show funny, you at least have to give it to him for the commitment: He’s been arrested twice and got stitches for his pranks.
2. Before Adult Swim took a chance on his absurd show, Andre was low-key nomadic. While his friend Hannibal slept on the subway, Andre would shack at some random person’s place from a stand-up show the night before. “I had like six toothbrushes all over New York,” he told Vice.
3. Born in Boca Raton, Florida, Andre was raised by his Afro-Haitian non-Jewish father and white Ashkenazi Jewish mom. He identifies as Black and Jewish, saying, “I’m Blewish.”
“My dad looks like Arthur Ashe and my mom looks like Howard Stern,” Andre said. He’s not wrong…
By the looks of his Instagram feed — I combed through it thoroughly — he’s pretty close with his parents and older sister.
His mom is definitely his biggest fan (though I’d like to fight her for the title):
Ah, this is where he gets his humor from:
Okay, one more because this Father’s Day post is definitely the most wholesome picture on Andre’s entire feed:
4. He’s “Blewish,” but religiously? Andre’s an atheist. He meditates twice a day and sees a therapist, but mostly to quell his anxiety. “I’m really not that confident,” Andre told Vice. “I’m actually pretty nervous.” He went on to say, “I’m like Larry David on the inside of this. You should see me on a [first] date… I’m swallowing involuntary… I’ll go to the bathroom every five minutes, I have napkins piled up because I’m drying my hands off, I’m reading the Torah, lighting a menorah…”
Anxious and neurotic? [Insert Chandler voice] Could he be any more Jewish?
5. He actually does light the menorah.
7. Andre’s also known to celebrate Passover seders at Moshe Kasher and Natasha Leggero’s house with friends Nick Kroll and John Mulaney (not Jewish, but we love it when he reminds us that his wife is).
8. One of Andre’s goals as a comedian is to highlight the creativity within the Black community. “I want to prove to America that Black people are the most diverse, creative group of people and we can express any way we want,” Andre told The Fader. Through The Eric Andre Show, the comedian hopes that, along with Buress, their different yet similar points of view can shatter both Black and white people’s expectations of the Black community. “It’s a celebration of evolving Black experience in America,” Andre continued. “Holy shit, that sounded pretentious and high horse-y as fuck. Sorry! Can you fucking put a fart sound in?”
7. In 2017, well into his 30s, Andre threw himself a bar mitzvah party, with the Kaddish and all!
10. According to the rabbi at his bar mitzvah party, Andre’s absurdist art is a form of tikkun olam (repairing the world). I’m right there with you, rabbi.
11. Andre went on a Birthright trip to Israel when he was 22. “For the shwarma,” he admitted. The comedian returned to the holy land in 2018 to performed a stand-up show on Passover. “What’s going on here, everyone has to be married by a rabbi, but most people are atheists, right?” he asked the crowd. After two audience participants chugged ranch dressing for a contest, Andre said to the winner, “Congratulations you receive a stomach ache!” Ah, Jews and dairy jokes — they never get old.
12. Is Andre single? Boy, I hope so, but I’m not so sure. His most high profile relationship with Rosario Dawson (yes, Eric Andre and Cory Booker have that in common) ended in 2017, and since then, his Instagram posts suggests he is, or was, dating another lovely anonymous lady:
14. The comedian has a myriad of talents, including music. Andre studied double bass at Berklee College of Music in Boston, but dropped out to pursue comedy. He left the musical path because of esteemed 20th century composer Charles Ives, who said that if your job is making music, you’ll have to compromise your art. “I was like, ‘fuck music,’ I’m just going to, like, make my own label and put out my own shit,” Andre told Grantland.
15. While at Berklee, Andre and a few friends formed a band called Blarf with the goal of mimicking Frank Zappa and the Beastie Boys. The band quickly disbanded after the drummer, at age 18, married an anti-choice woman, which, considering he made a song called “I Love Abortions,” was a big shanda in Andre’s book.
In 2014, sans his former college musical partners, Andre revived BLARF and released his first EP with record producer The First Seed. Five years later the comedian/musician signed with Stones Throw Records and debuted his studio album Cease and Desist. Though Andre denied being the new anonymous artist, the cat was out of the bag when he performed live as Blarf in July 2019.
16. He’s a Joan Rivers fanboy, through and through. In 2013, the comedian got cozy with the fashion icon for her series, In Bed With Joan. Despite his best efforts to shock her with his trademark vulgarity — he stuck his toes in his mouth during the interview — the late Rivers was unshakeable. She charmingly coaxed Andre into letting his guard down, a feat even Larry King couldn’t accomplish.
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One of my idols just died. This woman was a comedic genius like no other. The fastest mind in comedy. Her work ethic was unmatched. I've watched her documentary over and over and it is the most inspiring thing a stand up comic could watch. She was truly the kindest, sweetest, and funniest comedian I've ever had the honor of meeting. You will be missed Joan. 😔
“You have to look behind the crazy hair and ugly face and the skinny body and the kind of bad odor,” Rivers said about Andre. “Somewhere in there is truly a nice Jew.” Read more about the interview here.
17. Andre is very outspoken about the Black Lives Matter movement, and has long been an advocate for racial justice. Way back when Andre was still an up-and-coming comedian, he crafted a joke about Cops — a show that glamorizes police — and the gross juxtaposition of its reggae theme song. To promote his first hour-long comedy special, Legalize Everything, Netflix shared a clip of the comedian telling that very same joke, which, a decade after its conception, is chillingly relevant. (Good news, Cops was finally canceled after 31 years! Huzzah!)
In a rare series of genuine posts, Andre also pleaded with his two million followers to keep protests peaceful and channel all anger “into the polls and VOTE.”
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The only way we will get anything done and defeat Trump in the November is if these protests remain PEACEFUL and NONVIOLENT! We are RIGHT to protest. We are angry! Police are making peaceful people violent! Looting isn’t morally wrong. We haven’t been able to work for three months because of COVID! WTF does anyone expect! But images of Violence are just gonna help get Trump re-elected. You HAVE to show the humanity in our side and the barbarian nature of any fascist racist policeman or policewoman and the evil of the authoritarian regime. MLK Jr’s peaceful protest led to voting rights, the riots of ’68 led to Nixon. Part of the reason Nixon won in ’68 is because he could easily drum up white fear with footage of black people looting and rioting. We have to make a collation of black, white, latinx, asian, gay, straight, trans, christian, jewish, muslim people who are down for the cause. that is the only way to defeat the oppressing forces. Through a coalition. Strength in numbers. Do NOT wag your finger at someone trying to help the same cause. They may not have the same skin color or know what you been through but as long as they’re nonviolent they are helping the cause. This is a PEACEFUL protest of NONVIOLENCE. We are the adults here. We are on the side of what is right. I know you’re angry. Take this anger into the polls and VOTE. Register now. Not just in national elections but in your local elections. Organize peacefully. Keep disrupting. Keep protesting. Make politicians sweat! 😓 Show people images of the peaceful protesters. Kill cops with KINDNESS and PEACE and LOVE. Love your enemy. Sorry for the fucking typos!!! 💕 ✊🏿✊🏾✊🏽✊🏼✊🏻 💕
“We have to make a collation [sic] of Black, White, Latinx, Asian, gay, straight, trans, Christian, Jewish, Muslim people who are down for the cause. that is the only way to defeat the oppressing forces. Through a coalition. Strength in numbers. Do NOT wag your finger at someone trying to help the same cause,” Andre wrote on Instagram.
In line with his goofball aesthetic, Andre later shared a meme embodying a harmonious mix of comedy and sincerity to draw attention to Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti’s relationship with the police department.
In a recent interview with Uproxx, Andre claimed America is a “police state” and it’s “fucking disgusting.”
“The one request millennials are making is like, ‘Hey, let’s end police brutality, excessive force, and hold cops accountable for excessive force and murder.’ And the cop’s response is like, “Beat the shit out of people!” Like twee, twerpy millennials… ahhh! Just seeing kids that look like Michael Cera get their faces bashed in by police. It’s like, ‘Uh, excuse me officer, have you read the newspaper in the last three days? This is exactly what we’re complaining about,’ Andre said.
Tell ’em, Andre!
We also can’t forget the time the Jewish comic crashed the Republican National Convention in 2016, peed on a public building — “Black lives bladder!” — and interrupted far-right conspiracy theorist Alex Jones’ speech disparaging democrats and the Black Lives Matter movement to ask him if he’d had sex with his wife.
18. Coming from “like four generations” of atheist/agnostic Jews, Andre has said that some of his relatives died in the Holocaust. In a bizarre Elite Daily video, Andre joined chef Jonah Reider and his ex-girlfriend’s mom — “Bubbe” — for some nosh at Zabar’s. After agreeing that the non-fat ice cream they ate couldn’t really be non-fat (a nod to Seinfeld?), Andre told the odd couple, “My mom’s like, ‘You’re not the only celebrity in the family. There’s a lot of famous rabbis.’ I go, ‘Ma, nobody knows these rabbis from like hundreds of years ago.’ She’s like, ‘Yes, they do. Look ’em up.'”
At the time of publication this information could not be verified. Mrs. Andre, if you’re reading this, please send a family tree.
Photo by Gary Gershoff/FilmMagic