Interview date: 04/23/2008
Run date: 05/07/2008
How often does your average joe get to do an in-person interview with a couple of his heroes? I’m not sure, but personally, this was a first for me. In a weird fit of karma, I was able to land just such a thing with Tim and Eric, stars and creators of “Tom Goes to the Mayor” and “Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!” while on their current tour. This evening was their return to their home state of Pennsylvania, appearing live in Philly at the North Star Bar. After getting to see them rehearse a song during sound check, I was led downstairs and was introduced to the duo. They were genuinely very nice guys, and the whole encounter was as laid back as it could get as I took my seat next to Tim Heidecker on a comfy but beat up old sofa, while Eric Wareheim sat across from us, semi-stretched out. Many thanks to the guys for taking a few minutes for this interview.
Bullz-Eye: All right! So here we are with Tim and Eric of “Awesome Show, Great Job!” Love the show!
Tim Heidecker: Thank you!
BE: I reviewed the DVD, loved it, gave it five stars.
TH: Oh, great!
BE: So, this is like the big homecoming show? Back in Philadelphia.
Eric Wareheim: The Liberty Bell!
BE: So, how’s the tour been going so far?
TH: It’s been fantastic. It’s been sold out and the last time we toured, we realized that there were exactly four shows that had aired at the time of our tour. So, people knew the show, but they weren’t, you know, avid about it. And now the show’s been out for a year, and people have gotten a chance to watch it multiple times. So now, it’s like a whole new world. People know all the words and all the, you know…
BE: Yeah, I was happy the DVD came out ‘cause I had bought the episodes on iTunes and tried burning them to a DVD, which wasn’t as nice (laughs). But I became fans of yours through “Tom Goes to the Mayor.”
TH: Oh, thank you!
BE: I’ve known some people that just don’t “get it.” Do you have a lot of that still, where people just have this kind of brick wall?
EW: We say you’re either in the club, or you’re out of the club. You know what I mean? Just like a club, there’s rules…you join because you like, or you know, you don’t like.
BE: Yeah, because I have tickets for the show tonight and I had a friend who was going to go, but she wound up saying, “Take someone along who appreciates this.” (laughs)
TH: Oh, well that’s nice! (Tim was actually being very sincere here, for the record.)
BE: So, what are your influences? I pick up some local cable access in there, and in my review I mention where the show reminds me of a time before cable TV took over everything and you’d see a lot of weird local programming being shown.TH: It’s a step up from cable access, because cable access is really just a blue room, a fern and a chair.
EW: More like local…local stations, I mean, we get a lot of inspiration just by local news and watching local stuff. And I was in the A/V club in high school, you know, all that kind of technology, that look and feel kind of infiltrated into our early stuff.
TH: We kind of use just that aesthetic as a frame to put our ideas into. It goes a little deeper than just making a little parody of something.
BE: Yeah! And I also wanted to ask about the music on the show. Do you write most of the music for the songs?
TH: Well I write some of the music, and then Davin (Wood, a professional musician who’s done a lot of the music for Tim and Eric’s TV projects) writes the music and then we collaborate on stuff. I usually write the “Casey and his brother” stuff, the simple stuff (laughs). The idiot savants!
BE: (laughs) So you guys were in a band together?
EW: At one time, yeah! We both grew up playing music and were in bands and stuff like that.
BE: So how do you get people like Rob Zombie and Jeff Goldblum and all these great people to participate on the show?
EW: Well, I saw Rob Zombie back in the day at the Trocadero (a local Philadelphia theatre), and somehow I got backstage and I asked him, and was like, this was really forecasting my future, I was like, “We really need to work together sometime.” And he was like, “Who the fuck are you?”
BE: Yeah! (laughs)
EW: You know, “You’re some teenager!” And once we had the show, I let Tim listen to all my Rob Zombie CDs, and he’s like “I’m on board!” And, we just called him and said “Do you remember that moment?” And he did actually somehow remember.
EW: He said, “You know what, dude? Because you were persistent and you tried really hard, I’m going to do your first episode (of the second season). He did “Raz” and he was so good at it.
BE: Yeah, I loved that episode.
TH: Coincidentally after that experience, we’ve been collaborating musically. It’s been crazy, it’s weird.
BE: Excellent! So how did Jeff Goldblum come about? (Okay, so I’m a huge fan of Jeff’s and just had to get to the bottom of his participation on the show.)
TH: Oh! Well, he was a friend of Bob Odenkirk’s, and when we were first making “Tom Goes to the Mayor,” Bob was really involved and he put in a call. He said, “Jeff, would you…dammit! Do me this one favor?”
EW: He did us a solid, you know!
BE: Have you had anybody you wanted to come onto the show that weren’t able to, or just, didn’t want to?
TH: Ah…there was a few people, you know. I really wanted Jonathan Winters to do this one thing. He was not available. And he was, uh, I think he was…not excited about the opportunity!
BE: (laughs) I used to love watching his show on Showtime when I was a kid, so yeah, I love improv comedy.
At this point in the interview, an assistant brings Tim and Eric a box of Imodium. Tim asks, “Is this Advanced?” Eric reaches for some and then explains the situation.
EW: We had some pizza at a place called Pepe’s. And…it just went through us like the dickens! You know.
Of course, I jump at the chance to discuss my own digestive problems with two of my heroes. Hell, who wouldn’t?
BE: Yeah, I always have the, uh, Zantac on me.
BE: ‘Cause certain things…it’ll be Grape-Nuts, or uh, fried eggs! (much amusement and laughter ensues) Grilled onions will usually do it for me!
EW: Yeah, it eats you up!
BE: Yeah, so I notice there’s the “all ages” show tonight, and then a later one for the older crowd. What will the kids be getting in their version?
EW: Well, the first show we do simulated nudity. We have some body suits (Eric then shows me one from the costume rack), and then for the late show we go all out! Full nude! This is the first time we’ve ever done this.
BE: Yeah, I saw that on the clip from the Vegas show.
EW: Yeah. This is the first time Tim and I have been…we just want to take our comedy to the next level and, we’re like, we’re going to show our real balls.
EW: So, it’s very controversial and we’re lucky we haven’t been shut down yet..
BE: Oh, really?
TH: I don’t mind. It’s weird, you get into that character. We’re comfortable being naked in front of each other, so you just go out there and do it. You know. Nobody judges you.
BE: Yeah, that’s great!
TH: It’s who you are. It’s how you’re built.
BE: Yeah, so you’ve got the CD coming out soon that you’re also selling on tour.
EW: It comes out May 6, and we will have it for sale on the tour. Forty-three songs, all show-related.
BE: Yeah, I’ve been waiting for that, too!
EW: It’s a good record.
TH: What did you think of all the extras on the DVD?
BE: I loved it, I loved it! I loved how you had certain skits like the crash helmet stunt that didn’t get used in its original form, but got recycled into another bit. I loved all of it. I thought it was well worth watching it all.
TH: Yeah, there’s so much stuff that we shoot that doesn’t make it onto the show.
BE: Yeah, well like I said, I gave the DVD five stars.
EW: Thank you so much!
TH: Five out of 10!
BE: (laughs) No! Five out of five! But I wanted to ask about “Tim and Eric Nite Live” (yet another all-original program the guys do for Super Deluxe online). How’s that going?
TH: Yeah, it’s gonna come back. We’re making this miniseries about the tour that we’ve been shooting on the road, and that’s going to go up on Super Deluxe. And so we’ll probably be back at the end of May or the beginning of June.
BE: And how about “Steven and Stephen?” (This show is an animated program created by Tim and Eric that is going to be aired on Comedy Central.)
TH: “Steven and Stephen” is going to come out…soon! It’s been held up because of, uh, some Comedy Central thing.
EW: We just got an email from the Webbies that we’ve won “Honorary Best Actor” award.
BE: Awesome! That’s great!
EW: We’ve never been to the Oscars for the Web, but I guarantee we’ll be flying there. They pay!
BE: Yeah, that’s really great! So are there eventual plans to branch out to the bigger screen?
TH: Yeah, there is! Nothing concrete, you know.
BE: Yeah. Do you aspire to do that?
TH: Yeah! We have a three picture deal with Paramount. So they said, “Whenever you’re ready, make your movie.”
BE: That’s great! Well hopefully it’ll fare better than the Aqua Teen, uh…
TH: Comedy’s a tricky beast! You gotta have a romantic comedy with a Judd Apatow in it. That’s how it works, I guess.
And so, our casual, comfy conversation came to end. I thanked Tim and Eric once again for their time and all their great work. And, like an uberfan, I got them to sign my DVD copies of “Awesome Show” and “Tom Goes to the Mayor.” Unfortunately, my son had run my camera’s batteries down the night before (unbeknownst to me), so good photos were not to be had. I did manage to snap one for myself with my cell phone, though. At any rate, do check out Tim and Eric live if you get the chance, and of course, be sure to pick up the fantastic “Tim and Eric Awesome Show Great Job! Season One” DVD available at all your finer outlets right now.