Comedian Eric Andre Trained at Berklee and Had a Band Called Blarf
[Editor's note: Weekly scribe Jeff Weiss's column, "Bizarre Ride," appears on West Coast Sound every Wednesday. His archives are available here.]
Shortly after Eric Andre enrolled at the Berklee School of Music, he formed the band Blarf. The goal was to be the gonzo zygote of Frank Zappa and the Beastie Boys. It was supposed to be weird, but things just got awkward.
"We didn't last long. Our drummer got married at 18 to an extremely pro-life woman, and I had a song called 'I Love Abortions.' So he quit and killed the band," says the namesake of Adult Swim's Molotov cocktail-of-a-talk-show The Eric Andre Show, in his trailer backstage at FYF Fest.
The 29-year-old Boca Raton-raised, L.A.-based comedian is performing this afternoon at 4:20 p.m. He tells me this information in a faux-stoned bro voice that matches his shirt: a hand flashing a "Hang 10" above the phrase "Fuck You."
This is his perpendicular humor: heavily ironic, oddly confrontational and frequently hilarious.
Andre's appearance maximizes his comic potential: He wears yellow funglasses and puffs out an electric shock of hair with an Adult Swim afro pick. He once mocked his resemblance to Ernie from Sesame Street.
At an alternate FYF, Andre would rap or sing or slap the upright bass, the instrument that earned him admittance into the nation's most prestigious music school. The son of a doctor father and teacher mother, Andre started playing piano at 5 and attended a performing arts high school. In sixth grade, the half-Haitian, half-Jewish Floridian became obsessed with Wu Tang Clan's Enter the 36 Chambers. During high school he made homemade rap records that subverted "C.R.E.A.M. (Cash Rules Everything Around Me)."
"I was, like, 'Everyone in rap talks about money. I don't even believe in money. I'm a communist," Andre says, briefly igniting the Eric Andre performance voice -- a raspier, more absurd and histrionic timbre than his quiet, quasi-monotone normal voice. "Then I did this whole communist rap. I'd never show anyone. It's so embarrassing."