Tim & Eric: interview

Tim & Eric Tim & Eric
Posted: Wed Jul 6 2011

Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim are bringing their own distinctive brand of comedy to London, says Time Out. Now all we need to do is set up a meeting with Prince William for them…

Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim - aka Tim & Eric - met as students studying film at Temple University in Philadelphia. They soon began making shorts together, earning acclaim for an early piece 'Tom Goes to the Mayor'. After showing the film to comedian Bob Odenkirk, creator of HBO's 'Mr Show with Bob & David', T&E went on to make two series of 'Tom…' for the Adult Swim strand on America's Cartoon Network - which led to five seasons of their best known series 'Tim & Eric's Awesome Show, Great Job!' whose guest stars have included Will Ferrell and Jonah Hill. All of the duo's projects share the same distinctive style: a combination of the bizarre, the deliberately bad and the downright silly. We chatted to them both on the phone. At the same time…

This could get confusing, there being two of you…
Tim Heidecker: 'It'll get even more confusing when Eric gets on the phone.'
Eric Wareheim: 'Hi.'

Thank God, you sound quite different.
EW: 'I'm talking in a low voice so you know it's Eric.'
TH: '[In a high-pitched voice] And I'll talk like this.'

As students, what was it that first drew the two of you together?
EW: 'We were just goofballs. In one of our first media classes we were just goofing off, making each other laugh, quickly realising that we had a small group of friends that shared the same kind of comedic sensibility. We started hanging out and making stuff together. Spiritually, I think we already knew each other; we both have sisters who are three years younger than us…'
TH: 'Our parents are both still married…'
EW: 'Both our dads have Wilsons leather jackets. Tim's mom has a Wilsons leather too.'

Were there any particular comedic inspirations or was it simply what you guys found funny?
TH: 'That's pretty much the core of it; what makes Eric and I laugh and our particular sense of humour. We try to stay true to that and not box it into any kind of traditional television format. We don't have a room of 30 writers, it's not like a broad cross-section of ideas. It's pretty specific to three or four different people.'

Your TV work includes lots of lo-fi film techniques. How does your show translate that to the stage? Is it a multi-media performance? Or is it a lot of wigs and dancing?
TH: 'Ha, yeah, quite a bit of that.'
EW: 'A lot of dancing. What's interesting about comedy in England is we're finding out that everybody sits down. When we tour the States, it's like a rock 'n' roll show - we come out and sing and dance and the crowd sings along and everything. So, it'll be interesting to see how it translates.'

You strike me as the type of comics who might attract an oddball fanbase. Is that the case?
TH: 'We certainly appeal to a more eccentric group of people. When you come to our live show it's really a club sort of feeling. Like a meeting of fans. Everyone's happy that they're in a group of people where they think the same thing's funny, like this special micro-world.'

Do you feel you have a big following in the UK?
TH: 'Nope, we've confirmed this. We talked to Scotland Yard and no one's seen the show in England. So we're a little nervous…'
EW: 'We're doing some of our old-fashioned American comedy. We have four shows and three of them are almost sold out. The fourth, we're opening up to a bigger venue so more people can come.'

You've built up an impressive cast for your TV shows over the years. Were they fans of the show or have you been blackmailing them?
EW: 'No, I mean we started with a few guys that were our friends and it kinda just spiralled. We would just ask the biggest names we could get and we would say: “Well, we had Jack Black and John C Reilly in the show, you should do it too.” Some were fans and some of the people had no idea what we do so it was always fun to see who we could get.'

Anything you'd like to do given half a chance?
EW: 'Well we just made our own movie, “Tim & Eric's Billion Dollar Movie”. That's going to come out early next year.'
TH: 'Unfortunately there's nothing we haven't done that we want to do.'
EW: 'Nothing at all.'
TH: 'We're probably going to jump off a cliff later tonight. That'll be it.'

Well, you're going to have to think of something else!
TH: 'I would like to meet Prince William. That would be nice. I've always wanted to meet him, since I was a small child.'

Are Americans really that interested in our royal family?
TH: 'Americans are more royalist that the British. Eric and I are royal family nuts.'
EW: 'We go gonzo for it.'
TH: 'You should see Eric's house, it's decorated with all sorts of royal stuff.'

For more info about Tim & Eric and to see clips, visit www.adultswim.co.uk.