This morning we spoke to comedian, actor, writer, director, musician, music video director Eric Wareheim, known to us as one half of the incomparable ‘Tim & Eric’ duo. It all started for them when Bob Odenkirk (He of ‘Mr Show’ or Saul Goodman from ‘Breaking Bad’ fame) took an interest in a tape they sent to him. The result was the Adult Swim cult classic series ‘Tom Goes to the Mayor’. Next came the utterly absurd manic sketch show Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job! and five seasons later, they emerged as American comedy’s best kept secret. Over the course of that series, names like Ben Stiller, Will Ferrell, Jonah Hill, Rainn Wilson, Michael Cera and Ted Danson all guest-starred. Zach Galifianakis and John C Reilly were among core cast members. This year, their debut feature film Tim & Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie premiered at Sundance and now, they are bringing their live show to Australia for the first time. We spoke to Eric about cat cloning, working with Beach House and interviewers that blew it.
Hey Eric- where do we find you today?
I’m at home in LA, just fed by my cats.
Are they the ones in your Twitter profile photo?
Well the ones in that photo aren’t real but they are replicas of my cats that I actually own. I do cat photography, like cat calendars and stuff. So that was why I invested a lot of money in those cat replicas so I could put them outside, driving cars, skiing and that sort of stuff.
So would you be the type of guy to taxidermy your cats once they die and display them in your house?
Well I don’t think so, I do have some friends that got their cats cloned after they passed away and i think that’s actually a really scary idea. I think you give them the best life that you can and you move on to the next kitty cat. I mean there’s tonnes of them out there that need homes.
Can you actually clone them? I had no idea.
You really can. I literally know a dude that was like “I have the best cat”. I wish I could tell you his name. He’s a big Hollywood guy, I mean I don’t think he’d appreciate it but… his first name could possibly be Leonardo… or Leo. He did have one of his cats cloned and it’s very scary to me.
So let’s talk about the live show you’re bringing out to Australia. You’ve recently released Tim & Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie, you’ve obviously got the TV shows and the live show- what format do you find you guys work best in?
Tim & I started by doing live performances in film school. We’d play in bands together- some serious bands, some silly bands and through that we developed all these live acts- that weren’t stand up and weren’t music- more like a weird hybrid of stuff that we thought was funny.
So it’s very different to watching the TV or watching the movie, it’s really interactive, live experience- a lot of singing and dancing. We really feed off of that, our fans are really amazing people and they’re really energetic and they sing along to the songs and they know all the intricate little details so it’s a whole another thing from making the TV shows. We really enjoy the live shows. When you make a TV show, you make it and once the filming is done, you wait. And then when it’s actually ready to air, you’re at home, by yourself, with your cat just watching this thing. But when you tour, it’s like you do a joke, there’s this like infinite energy and instant feedback which is really a fun thing.
With B$M, since it was your first film, and there’s bigger budgets and there’s a studio involved etc. etc. Did you guys have any restrictions? I mean it doesn’t seem like it from watching, but was there anyone in your ear saying “You should we make it more like this…” or “Tone this part down…” or was it completely up to you both as per usual?
It was more as per usual- we got really lucky. We partnered up with Will Ferrell, Adam McKay and the guys at Magnolia Pictures- they get our humour. They saw the script and they were like “How do we even give notes on this?” (laughs) The film is a very ‘Tim & Eric’ thing and they accepted that the best idea was just to let us go and do it. I think that’s what I’m most proud of on this movie, apart from the fact that I think it’s really funny- I think in that weird universe within the film where we’re allowed to make a movie, that’s exactly what this is. You can’t get much purer than that, for us.
You’ve also directed a number of music videos by people like Major Lazer, MGMT and Health- who is a dream artist, you would you love to have the opportunity to direct a video for?
That’s a good question… to be honest, I’m doing a Beach House video coming up next month. They’re literally one of my favourite bands. Every time I’ve heard any of their songs, I can totally visualise them and they happen to be fans of mine and we became friends. So we’re doing this big video starring Ray Wise next month. I have to say, I hold out for really amazing songs to come my way. Right now, I’m listening to Beach House… and Liars. (Beach House were in Eric’s Top 10 Albums of 2010 when we spoke to him last)
If you could sing any song to a packed stadium of people what would it be?
Angel of Death by Slayer.
Last week, The Comedy starring yourself and Tim was screening at Sydney Film Festival. Since you normally write/ direct/ star/ run the show on the projects- how was that experience for you?
I’m really picky with what we work on. So this guy (Rick Alverson) made a movie called New Jerusalem that we watched and it was fucking amazing. And with The Comedy, it’s actually done in an improvised style, so all he has are outlines. So in essence, although we didn’t write it- it’s almost 100% improvised so it’s just Tim & I getting in to our rhythm and being weird heightened versions of ‘Tim & Eric’.
OK so last night while I was doing some research for this, I got caught in a YouTube hole of some of your recent interviews and…. like there are some terrible interviews- the Young Hollywood one? Does it get to a point where you’re just there trying to entertain each other?
Oh my god, that interview! So when we did this movie, we decided almost as a joke that we would do every interview press outlet that contacts us. I would say 90% of them were like that where’s it’s like “We’re not gonna be part of this weird comedy interview that you’re trying to do”, we’re either going to be straight or fuck with you. Actually someone put together all the interview footage that we did for Billion Dollar Movie and it’s a 5-hr piece of video of us just fucking with people for that long. It’s kind of an amazing thing.
So you & Tim directed the infamous Old Spice commercials starring Terry Crews which were such a huge success, and you’ve also worked with ABSOLUT vodka on the mini movies- do you guys get a lot of these type of offers now?
We do. We really do. We get tonnes of offers to be in commercials but we don’t really like doing that- maybe when we need retirement money. But we’ll direct things that we think are kinda cool.
Thanks for your time Eric, great to talk to you. Great to talk to you, I can’t wait to come to Australia for the shows, we’re really excited!
Tim & Eric’s Awesome Australian Tour 2012, Great Job! (presented by Pedestrian.TV) tickets are on sale tomorrow:
MELBOURNE, THE FORUM- Sat Sept 29- Book at Ticketmaster
SYDNEY, METRO THEATRE- Tue Oct 2- Book at Ticketek or Metro Theatre Box Office 9550 3666
BRISBANE, THE TIVOLI- Thur Oct 4- Book at Ticketek
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