When my house mate asked what he should expect at the Tim & Eric Show,
the best I could come up with was, "two funny guys who have way too much editing time on their hands." Little did I know how much more... vomit was in store for the night.
I first enjoyed the quirky Philadelphia duo through their hilarious Adult Swim "cartoon"
Tom Goes to the Mayor
which uses manipulated digital photos to produce limited animation insanity. Produced by Mr. Show's Bob Odenkirk
, the show enjoyed a fairly successful 2 year late night run on Cartoon Network. Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim unleashed their latest twisted vision on the world in February, and they are promoting the Tim & Eric Awesome Show, Great Job! with a ten city live tour. Unsure of how the over-the-top, manic, totally ADHD TAEASGJ! would translate to the stage, I had to see for myself.
An added benefit was that the show was at the Someday Lounge, Portland's only "performance art bar". I had only been to the small space on NW 5th and Couch once, during PICA, too see a gay puppet take on Lewis & Clark. The space was unfinished at the time, so I was pleased to see the interior of the Someday completely renovated, with a small balcony, well stocked bar, and new bathrooms.
I always thought of Tim & Eric as fringe characters, loved by lonely late night weirdos like myself. So I was surprised to arrive half an hour early to find the lounge nearly full. The crowd seemed to range from greasy-haired cartoon nerds to bespectacled older art mamas (though there were many more of the former), packed in tight and facing an empty stage. By the time the opening act began, it was so crowded I had to jostle people to get my drink to my lips.
The show started with DJ Dougg Pound. The short, milky-faced DJ strutted onto the stage with a large diva mic strapped to his face. His act seemed to riff on the "worst DJ in the world" theme, and was surprisingly funny. Most of the bits started with a truly terrible joke that would fall flat, then he would call out "you ready for the remix?!?" and lay down a cheesy top 40 beat to literally remix the joke he just told, scratching, looping, and intentionally overusing goofy samples.
"My girlfriend is breaking up with me because she says I'm such a nerd," says Douggpound, before admitting his love for vintage electronics, "She left with my favorite piece of antique adding equipment from the 60s. That calculating bitch." Then the beat drops and he remixes a quick dance tune out of the joke before the whole thing crashes back into the goofy "D-D-D-DJ Douggpound IN THE MIX!" sample.
I have to commend Douggpound, because his act plays off of awkward self-deprecation, and it works. I'm not sure the whole crowd was into his set, but many people laughed and applause was genuine as he left the stage.
The main act began with a Tony Clifton-esque Tim Heidecker singing "Here She Comes" over pre-programmed Casio music. The balcony was erupting in so much laughter, I was sure there was an audience plant. So I was completely startled to turn and find myself face to face with a heavily lipsticked and wigged Eric Wareheim, hobbling through the crowd on crutches. The 6 foot 6 man in bad makeup was a hideous and hilarious sight to behold.
Predictably, the live show relied heavily on video to pad the performance. This was fine, except the screen was hard to see at times, and I wished I had a seat for longer video sequences. We were treated to clips from Tim & Eric's shows and podcasts
, as well as an indulgently long behind-the-scenes with a Gary Busci coked up freakout. The best T&E moments come when they play with all the best tools of the 80s: keytars, spandexs, smoke machines, and lots of bad video effects.
Also, there was throw up in basically every other bit, including a crew member unexpectedly vomiting on stage as he cleans up Eric's technicolor yawn.
At some moments in the show, like when Tim was belligerently cursing at the audience, gave me the odd feeling that we were a prop for the duo's live DVD. It was as if the performances, taped for later release, were more for future viewers than those actually in attendance. The act is definitely intended to play with audience discomfort, like when Eric begins weeping about his recently deceased twin sons, only to have happy lounge music start blasting as he sobs on the empty stage, finally prancing off stage with a ballerina's flair.
Overall, this was a completely bizarre, genuinely laugh-out-loud night, with a few awkward hitches (like the drunk guy named Dragon who kept pushing past me to get to the bar). The Someday Lounge is definitely worth checking out, especially as they continue to diversify from the fetish acts of its inception.