Last week I made my sketch comedy debut in the proudest and classiest of ways: as the caboose of a human centipede on the Eric Andre Show. I have always been a huge fan of outrageous avant garde comedy. Between Two Ferns. Da Ali G Show. Jackass. Upright Citizens Brigade. They kill me. The first time I heard of the Eric Andre Show was from American Authors’ manager Alex who showed me some raucous clips on his phone, and then we found out our lawyer Neil went to high school with him. I have since watched every episode and extraneous YouTube clip he has ever put out, and I literally can’t get enough. I die laughing at every gag. I. DIE. And funny enough, he actually graduated from our alma mater, Berklee College of Music, as an upright bass major. If you are unfamiliar with his style of comedy, I recommend watching his recent antics at the RNC and also the time he dressed up as Ronald McDonald.
As fate would have it, our drummer Matt Sanchez ran into Eric at SXSW in Austin, TX last year, and after some chatting and niceties, Eric suggested: “Hey, would American Authors wanna come on our show and perform as a human centipede?” “Sure,” Matt said, thinking perhaps he was just spitballing a wacky idea. Lo and behold, Eric and all of his producers and directors have been trying to find a musical act to perform as a human centipede since season one, and when we finally arrived last September to film this ridiculous comedy bit, the entire crew was ecstatic that this dream was going to be realized. (If you’re still reading this and are unfamiliar with the cult horror film ‘Human Centipede,’ do a quick google and come back).
We donned our skimpy white outfits for showtime, lined up on all fours on that filthy carpet, crawled out onto the set, had to gather our instruments blindly. We were instructed to sort of perform badly so it appeared like we were struggling to play the song in our peculiar position (we’re pros, clearly we could have nailed it under these and any conditions). The whole segment that aired was only 30 seconds long, but we did a few takes of us tromping around while Eric whipped us, screaming “Sing Happier! This song isn’t happy enough!” (and YES, they indeed added some tasteful sound fx)
We filmed the whole segment about a year ago, but it only aired last week, on the season 4 premiere no less, so I have had to keep a lid on this story ever since. It has not been easy, but well worth the wait. I ran into Hannibal Buress (Eric’s co-host and one of my favorite standup comics) a few days ago in Williamsburg, and said “Hey man— I was the caboose in the human centipede on the Eric Andre Show from last week.” He laughed and said, “Oh yeah. That shit was funny.” I think we are pretty much best friends now.
Eric, for real though: if and when you need a new band and bandleader—how about ZT & The Ranchers?