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Comedian Eric Andre Talks ‘Eric Andre Show,’ Pranks In Virtual Q&A

Penn State’s Student Programming Association (SPA) hosted actor, comedian, TV host, writer, and producer Eric Andre for a virtual lecture Thursday evening.

Andre discussed his eponymous comedy show, “The Eric Andre Show,” pulling pranks, and more. Fellow comedian, actor, and writer David Gborie moderated the Q&A session.

Andre began the event by talking about the early stages of “The Eric Andre Show.” He said that he, co-star Hannibal Buress, and one of his producers started making a sizzle real of different pranks, showbiz talk for making a short promo video to pitch to production companies.

“We went out and filmed some street pranks with me as Ronald McDonald smoking a cigarette inside a McDonald’s, firing everybody behind the counter, and crying and drinking whiskey,” Andre said.

He talked about how he met his co-star Buress while they were doing stand-up comedy in New York City. According to Andre, Buress has been with him since 2006, which is when he started writing the script for his show.

“He wasn’t really famous, and people were like, ‘How’d you get him on the show?’ and I was like, ‘I text messaged him?'” Andre joked.

Andre edited what would’ve been considered the first episode of his show for about a year. But it never aired until TV host Conan O’Brien showed the McDonald’s clip during an interview with Andre in 2013.

He described himself as a lifelong comic, saying that he received a class clown award each year beginning in kindergarten.

Andre also shared some of his favorite pranks that he’s pulled. One that came to mind was a prank that he pulled on a friend while in college at the Berklee College of Music.

“Me and my buddy Brian knew that [our other friend] Dan hated [the band] 311,” Andre said. “So we, one night, smoked a joint, and we made a flyer that said, ‘Hey, my name is Dan Ellis…I’m looking to start a 311 cover band’…We put his real cell phone number on the flyer…We put it all around the school without his knowledge.”

Andre played the bass when he was younger. He attended the Berklee College of Music, which he thought was a good idea before going into college because he was unsure of what he wanted to do at 18 years old. At 22 years old, he said he realized that he “made a huge mistake.”

Since then, Andre said that he hasn’t ventured much into music, despite buying a bass guitar a few years ago.

He also discussed feeling embarrassed when doing pranks and other crazy things while in public. Despite the challenge, he feels you need to push through the uncomfortable feelings in the end.

“It’s like you can’t think about how awkward or uncomfortable it feels in the moment,” Andre said. “You have to think about what it looks like in the editing day…I’m still getting used to it. It gets easier every year, but it’s never easy.”

Andre said that while his pranks can push people to their limits, he never intends to harm anyone.

Andre also shared his advice for people who want to get into the entertainment industry, noting that it isn’t the easiest path and that you have to work your way up. He also mentioned that you have to be in places like New York or Los Angeles to actually find good work.

“It’s a lot of hard work and you just have to be driven to do a lot of grunt work.” Andre said. “You have to become kind of obsessed with work if you’re going to do it seriously. And you got to get in a place where it’s happening.”

Andre ended the Q&A session by answering the hardest-hitting question of the night: What is his favorite kind of soup? Turns out, it is Matzo Ball soup with chicken, carrots, and noodles.

“Love y’all, thank you,” Andre ended. “I’ll see you guys in the future.”

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About the Author

Mackenzie Cullen

Sadly, Mackenzie graduated from Penn State in 2022. She majored in English and served as one of Onward State's associate editors. You can keep up with her life and send compliments to @MackenzieC__ on Twitter.

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