Eric Andre Says Good Riddance to ‘Cops’ and Talks Pranking While Black
On this week’s episode of “The Last Laugh” podcast, Eric Andre breaks down how the absurdity and hypocrisy of the police have played a constant role in his comedy career.
Eric Andre’s new Netflix special contains an elaborate bit about the “Bad Boys” theme song to Cops.
“Is it just me or is reggae the most inappropriate music they could have picked?” the comedian asks his audience. “You can’t slap reggae over police brutality footage and call it a day.” For the next minute-and-a-half, he delivers a tour de force demonstration of the egregious incongruity.
It’s a bit that takes on added resonance in this moment of political and cultural awakening in America, but as Andre tells me on this week’s episode of The Last Laugh podcast, it’s actually one of his oldest jokes.
“I've been complaining about police brutality and racism my whole life,” Andre says. “So it’s not new to me. Now people have a front row seat to it. Thank God for camera phones. And God bless the people that filmed George Floyd’s murder. They need a round of applause. Because we wouldn't be seeing the change that’s starting to happen now, if it wasn’t for that. People have just had enough.”
From The Eric Andre Show, his meta-absurdist talk show that premiered on Adult Swim eight years ago and is set to return for its fifth season soon, to his upcoming prank movie Bad Trip, which will also premiere on Netflix later this year, the police have been a constant theme in Andre’s work. His new special, Legalize Everything, opens with a sketch in which he hands out drugs to strangers in New Orleans while posing as a police officer.
Andre reveals that some “middle-aged white people” at Netflix urged him to consider taking it out given the current climate. “I’m like, no, guys!” he says. “This is the best time to do these jokes. This is what we need! We need to point out the absurdity of the police department and what a fucking hypocrisy and a disgrace it is. We need to point out police brutality. I am blessed that my stand-up special is coming out in this time.”
Among the many ripple effects of the massive protests against police brutality was last week’s cancelation of the TV show Cops after more than three decades on the air.
That news broke barely an hour after Andre and I spoke but when I informed him that the show’s 33rd season premiere had been postponed, he let out a laugh and said, “I didn’t even know they were still in production!”
Generally, Andre says he’s disgusted by the way Cops “portrays cops as the good guys and poor people and Black people and marginalized people as the bad guys,” adding that the officers inevitably “turn it up a notch for the camera.”
“People have been shot unnecessarily and they've used excessive force to make good television,” he continues. “So I think the show Cops is pretty corrupt.”
“They had a 32-season run,” Andre says. “I think we’re fine. I think it’s time to fucking hang up the jersey.”
Highlights from our conversation are below and you can listen to the whole thing right now by subscribing to The Last Laugh on Apple Podcasts or wherever you listen to podcasts.
On pulling pranks while black
“Jackass and Sacha Baron Cohen, they set the bar so unbelievably high that unless you are risking your life, you can't even come close to those guys. But yeah, it’s more dangerous to be Black in public, period, clearly. If George Floyd was white, he’d be alive. I don’t really look at it like that, though. Because clearly Johnny Knoxville and Sacha Baron Cohen are at the level where they almost have a death wish. Sacha’s pranking terrorists. So I don’t know. I mean, I’m not looking at those guys with such ‘woke’ eyes. But I think in general, in America, it’s more dangerous to be Black in public. George Floyd wasn’t pranking anybody. You don’t have to prank somebody to have your life at risk just being Black.”
On ‘disappointing’ his fans with his real personality
“My fans are wild. They love anarchy. It’s the first time I’ve felt understood in my life. They like it down and dirty and punk rock. They’re not easily offended, which I think is a misconception about ‘millennial woke culture.’ They’re the opposite. They almost want to be offended. So I am, I’m blessed and I’m just so happy that I have a fan base and have a career. They think I’m as crazy as I am on the show, which is a testament, I guess, to my performance on the show. Because I’m completely insane. I’m like an unthawed caveman on the talk show. And in reality, I’m kind of boring and suburban. I meditate twice a day. I try not to eat sugar. I’m very mild-mannered day to day. If it’s my birthday party, I’ll turn up, but I’m not the guy on the show 24/7. I get that out of my system in front of the cameras. So I think it’s almost like a disappointment when they meet me. I think that guy’s in me always, but that guy couldn’t function in the real world.”
On holding his nose and voting for ‘Grandpa Biden’
“I think that America is being held hostage by Donald Trump and we have to just push Grandpa Biden through the door. Like what can we do? Those are my two options. I gotta hold my nose and vote for Biden. We're in a crisis situation. Just push old man Biden through the door. I’ll vote for a fucking turtle over Trump. Clearly this country is in great jeopardy and great danger at the hands of this guy. Trump has worms eating his brain. The [Bernie supporters] I talk to are holding their nose and voting for Biden. We’re now in an emergency situation with Trump at the wheel. Anything is better than Donald Trump.”
On Hannibal Buress pushing the Bill Cosby rape story into the mainstream
“I think people wanted to talk about it for a while and Hannibal put it eloquently. And I think the guy was a serial rapist and it was only a matter of time before he paid the piper. I also think there’s some race politics in there. Maybe white liberals didn’t feel comfortable taking Bill Cosby down, but when a Black liberal, and a Black comedian talked about it, it was like, OK, now we can finally talk about it. But I think it was just his time and social media now gives voice to the voiceless and the powerless. But that guy is fucked in the head. That’s a sociopath. Someone that has no remorse. And his comedy always fucking sucked. His stand-up was so boring. I begged somebody to tell me a funny Bill Cosby joke. He’s such a crock of shit.”