After dropping hints ad nauseam, comedian Eric Andre’s late night Adult Swim talk show, The Eric Andre Show, finally “investigated 311” on Friday for the show’s season finale. For Andre, investigating 311 — yes, the numerically-named alternative rock band — meant having the Omaha, Nebraska-based chart-toppers bound, beaten with baseball bats, and waterboarded while they attempted to perform their 1996 No. 1 hit single, “Down.” Watch the clip below.
The cringe-worthy, torture-themed musical segment was a fitting end for Season 4 of The Eric Andre Show, Eric’s bizarre television program with sidekick and stand-up comedian Hannibal Buress. The season finale episode featured interviews (what The Eric Andre Show calls “interviews”) with School of Rock star and Tenacious D frontman Jack Black and iCarly actress Jennette McCurdy. At the tail end of 311’s significantly impeded performance, rapper T-Pain made a brief appearance to join Andre in the bat-wielding mayhem.
As reported by The Fader, Eric Andre’s ploy to investigate 311 has been suggested throughout previous seasons of The Eric Andre Show. In an episode from last year, Eric’s interview with Odd Future rapper Tyler the Creator was interrupted by a protester entreating viewers to “investigate 311,” an outré parody combining the incredulous nature of 9/11 truthers with that of the ’90s-era, feel-good music of 311. On Friday’s episode, the unlikely combination of pop-rock and conspiracy theories finally came to fruition.
The Eric Andre Show, which has featured famously absurd interviews with everyone from former Incredible Hulk star Lou Ferrigno to MTV icon Lauren Conrad, is renowned for its peculiar segments and near-barbarous treatment of its guests. In a 2014 interview with The A.V. Club, Eric revealed that the show’s early anonymity helped keep probable celebrity guests in the dark on the true nature of Andre’s insipid interview aesthetic.
“Some people don’t even know the name of the show when they get to the set! People are flying blind. I guess they talk to their publicists for five seconds. Maybe they think that it’s a wacky talk show, they don’t think it’s a talk show run by two sadists. So I have people do promos for the show and they’ll be like, ‘You’re watching… What’s the name of the show?’ I’ll be like, ‘The Hannibal Anderson show.'”
Like parody interviewers who came before him, specifically actor Sacha Baron Cohen in character as hip-hop simpleton Ali G, Eric Andre’s comical interviews rely on the unwitting nature of celebrity guests. As Andre indicated in a recent Reddit AMA, he doesn’t envision The Eric Andre Show as carrying on for too much longer — as more and more of the show’s guests come to understand the satirical essence of the program before appearing, the show’s shock-and-awe comedy is significantly undermined.
The Eric Andre Show first premiered on Adult Swim in May of 2012, its extremely low-budget first season featuring guests such as Masters of the Universe star Dolph Lundgren, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air actress Tatyana Ali, and popular ’90s comedian Sinbad. As the program gained popularity, the caliber of guests and quality of the broadcast gradually improved, while still staying true to its public-access style of underground comedy.
It is currently unknown if a fifth season of The Eric Andre Show will be produced. The first, second, and third seasons of the program are available to download at outlets like Hulu, Amazon, and iTunes, while Adult Swim’s website is now streaming various episodes from Season 4.
Did you watch The Eric Andre Show‘s Season 4 finale on Friday night? What did you think of 311’s musical performance of “Down”? Were you excited at Eric Andre’s chance to finally, as he says, “investigate 311”? Do you have a favorite Eric Andre Show interview or sketch? Let us know in the comments section below.
[Featured Images by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images & Bryan Bedder/Getty Images]