Eric Andre's new stand-up special, Legalize Everything, is now streaming on Netflix.
The special makes for an incredible showcase of the comedian's brand of absurdist humor and persona, and some unique social commentary.
Andre, who became famous for his Adult Swim show The Eric Andre Show, puts his skills from that show on display here in a fantastic 51-minute special.
On June 9th, the long-running reality show Cops was cancelled by the Paramount Network just before what would have been the show's 33rd season. In the midst of nationwide protests following the killing of George Floyd by the Minneapolis police and with an increased nationwide eye on racial injustices and inequality that still exists today, there simply was no place for a show that glorifies that very police brutality. Two days later, comedian Eric Andre shared a stand-up clip to his Twitter—talking about Cops, and using his uniquely outrageous comedic voice as a way to satirically showcase just what is so depraved about the show. The clip was from his new special, Legalize Everything—which was filmed back in October 2019.
Legalize Everything, which is now streaming on Netflix, is a perfect showcase for Andre's bizarrely unique and absurdist comedy. In the clip he shared—which has since garnered more than 5,000 retweets—he breaks down the perplexing choice that Cops made in aligning itself with reggae music (its actual theme song is Bob Marley's "Bad Boys"). His bit goes on to compare the unfair brutality and punch-down mentality with which officers on the show treat their targets, contrasted with feel-good reggae gibberish that he sings throughout the joke. The juxtaposition is spot on, and Andre's heightened awareness and voice not only make you laugh, but bring the exact distanced perspective you need to realize that something's not right here, especially in the aftermath of the show's cancellation.
— Eric Andre (@ericandre) June 11, 2020
Andre, 36, is a figure unlike any other modern comedy. He's acted in shows (FXX's little-seen but very funny Man Seeking Woman, 2 Broke Girls, Disenchantment) and movies (Rough Night, The Lion King) but has built a legitimate fanbase through his years of making The Eric Andre Show for Adult Swim. The show is a surrealist, absurdist, quasi-prank show take on a late night talk show, where he and sidekick Hannibal Buress interview celebrity guests who may or may not be in on the joke for an hour, and cut it down into an outrageously funny segments that rarely exceeds four minutes. These segments include anything and everything, from slurping vomit in front of a reality TV star, to shooting his sidekick (and spawning a million memes), to Chance the Rapper in a coffee cup. The show's mantra is simple: don't expect to understand it, just embrace it, and laugh a lot.
In Legalize Everything, Andre shows that the skills on display in his Adult Swim show are actually even greater than first appeared. He opens the special with an Eric Andre Show-esque 'Man on the Street' segment, where hidden cameras follow him playing a cop who is taking all sorts of drugs that he "stole from the evidence room," trying to convince patrons to join him (if you liked this, keep an eye out for Andre's Jackass/Borat-esque prank movie Bad Trip, which will also hit Netflix soon). Once the set—filmed at a warehouse-turned-venue in New Orleans called Republic—kicks off, he's off to the races, aggressively into the Eric Andre persona of the show, an insanely off-the-walls absurdist humor. This isn't what Eric Andre is like if you meet him in person—this is an expertly crafted persona.
And what the special shows is his ability to do better than anything is the ability to turn it on, sometimes just for the purpose of making outlandish jokes—"You ever go to a football game and you see the guys with the beer helmets?" he asks in one early non-sequitur joke. "I wanna make, like, a cocaine helmet, with two big bags of blow on each side of it. And I want a couple of straws coming out of each bag, and I want to cram 'em up each of my nostrils, and get high as shit, and go to an actual football game, and root for the referee the entire time."
And as quickly as he's making jokes like this that are clearly not meant to be taken entirely at face value, he slips into what would seem to be the more laid back, "real" Eric Andre. In one story, he explains that a fan recently came up to him and asked for a picture, and said that he loved his show. After the photo was taken, he recalls the man identifying him: "You're Key & Peele!" he says the man says, not only misidentifying his mid 2010s comedy TV stars, but thinking that Key & Peele was, in fact, one person named 'Keyand Peele.'
— Eric Andre (@ericandre) June 22, 2020
In that same manner, Legalize Everything keeps you on your toes. A sequence talking about Andre smoking marijuana with his 73-year-old mother, and discussing his mixed heritage as someone with a Haitian father and a Jewish mother finds jokes that are very funny, but also very much from the heart. One segment about the differences between American culture and European culture, and dissecting the Pilgrims connections to John Calvin is a legitimate culture criticism. Another segment features an audience member talking about walking in on his parents having sex as a child, only for a random elderly couple—claimed as his "parents"—to come on stage and start making out and ripping each other's clothing off. They were "closing the loop," Andre suggests. That's the balance we're striking here.
The special isn't going to be for everyone, that's for sure. But for fans of The Eric Andre Show, or perhaps even new viewers who quickly pick up on the cocktail of absurd, insane humor and socially conscious commentary, Andre's special is an absolute home run. And at 51 minutes, you can take it all in quicker than two episodes of Cops.
Legalize Everything is now streaming on Netflix.
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