Eric Andre NXNE Hub, Toronto ON, June 20
Published Jun 21, 2015Much like his bizarre talk show on Adult Swim, Eric Andre was a torrent of hilariously surreal energy that shone in both his improvisation and his written material. Along with some amusing opening acts, Andre delivered a brilliantly smart yet rabidly animated hour that had the crowd consistently roaring with laughter.
Although many of Andre's jokes were several years old, he managed to maintain the vitality of someone with a brand new hour. He skilfully did so by being self-deprecating about his material, such as when he described the structure of every one of his jokes as merely "a vague premise, an obscure '90s reference and scatting." Moreover, Andre achieved this by adding new riffs to his jokes, such as his absurd line at the end of his once topical bit about Precious: "What if Gabourey Sidibe and Mo'Nique were just played by Eddie Murphy?" Some other examples of his classic material included his skewering of the use of reggae music at the beginning of Cops, his comical portrayal of the teenage angst of his band in high school, and his joke about how ridiculous it is that he spent $100,000 to play bass in university.
Likewise, Andre had some fantastic new material as well. A few highlights included his hysterical dramatic reading of a Cuban souvenir that bore an incomprehensibly bad English translation, his segment about tattoos that he packed with Canadian references, and his brilliant impression he called "Andrew Nice Clay," which involved Andre delivering Dice's bits with feminist twists. Furthermore, his hyping of a silent, shy girl he brought on stage was wonderful, as was his crowd work with a girl who was taking notes in the front row, a guy who looked like Edward Snowden, and a guy Andre dubbed a "hunk" who randomly sat on top of a platform near stage left.
Additionally, opener Matt O'Brien was outstandingly funny. He wittily called a group of nerdy young men in the front row "the cast of Silicon Valley," sharply observed that the price of Plan B could be any amount and they would have just as many customers, and joked that unicyclists decrease the property value of their neighbourhoods. In contrast, James Hartnett delivered an average set about getting an earring, why it's stupid to brag about how many people you've slept with, and how an Australian accent cushions the pain of sad facts. Ashley Barnhill was similarly unremarkable. Her takes on the difficulties of dating and her experience paying off massive student loans while working at Jamba Juice were very ordinary and unsurprising.