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September 3, 2015

Tim and Eric Celebrate Chrimbus and Talk Tour, 'SNL' and a Possible Season 6

by Nick Zaino, posted Oct 15th 2010 5:00PM
'Tim and Eric, Awesome Show, Great Job! Chrimbus Special'Tim and Eric fans have a lot to be happy about these days. Their "Awesome Tour 2010" is about to kick off in November. The duo returns to Adult Swim Dec. 5 for their holiday 'Chrimbus Special.' And, as they told TV Squad last week, there may yet be a season 6 of 'Tim and Eric, Awesome Show, Great Job!'

Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim are busy rehearsing for the new tour, which includes a set by comedian Neil Hamburger and the duo's band, Pusswhip Banggang. "It all comes together at the last minute," said Heidecker.

After that, they'll be working on their big screen debut, 'The Tim and Eric Billion Dollar Movie,' co-produced by Will Ferrell. But when that's finished, they wouldn't rule out coming back to the 'Awesome Show.' "You never know," Wareheim said. "We'll never say it's over."

Tim and Eric spoke with TV Squad by phone about the show, the tour, their increasingly influential style of comedy, and the recent dust up over a 'Saturday Night Live' sketch that had a lot in common with an 'Awesome Show' sketch called "Tiny Hats."

Did you have to rethink what you were doing for bigger venues than that first tour. I remember seeing you here in Boston at a small rock club called TT the Bear's.
Tim: Oh yeah. We think our first show, and all our shows, would work on big stages because we always try to make big ridiculous sketches for the stage. Even if they're on TT the Bear's stage.

There was a certain intimacy; at the show I saw, there were a lot of die hard fans packed up front and they were with every reference and every sketch. Is that something that's harder to replicate in bigger places?

Eric: Not really. There are more die-hards that are coming out nowadays. It's still usually the super fans up front, which makes it really fun for us.
Tim: Yeah, we let the people come up right to the foot of the stage and we play out to the audience a lot. It's an interactive kind of show.

Are you excited to get Neil Hamburger out in front of your fans?
Tim: We're the biggest fans of Neil and we're so glad he's coming out with us. We think our fans are going to love him, too.

Do you think they know him already or do you think you're introducing him to people?

Tim: I think there's going to be a lot of awareness of Neil, but a lot of people who probably haven't seen him, though.

So what is Chrimbus?
Eric: Chrimbus is a holiday celebrated on December fifth. It's about receiving. And there's a guy named Winter Man that comes and inspects your Chrimbus bush, and if it's nice and trim and nice and wet, you get a present. But if it's unkempt and messy and dry, you don't get a present. We have a one-hour Chrimbus special in honor of that holiday that's airing on Dec. 5.
Tim: It's also a lunch holiday. It's meant to be celebrated on the lunch hour.

One of your more under-celebrated holidays.

Tim: Well not anymore. After the fifth, after this Chrimbus, I think it'll take off. People are tired of Christmas and Thanksgiving and Chanukah. Those are junk holidays. They've lost their meaning.

After you've created a show that defined a style, how do you follow that up? What do you do next?

Well, we're making a movie in the early part of next year. That will hopefully be a step forward for us, raising the bar of what we're capable of doing. And then I don't know. I don't know what we're going to do.

Will there be an overall story arc to the movie, or will it be like 'Kentucky Fried Movie' or 'Amazon Women on the Moon?'
Tim: No, it's just a movie. It's not a sketch movie. It's got a story to it.

I haven't seen many details about it yet. Anything you want to reveal about it?

Tim: The name of the movie is called 'The Tim and Eric Billion Dollar Movie' and it features a lot of the same people you might see on 'Awesome Show.' A lot of friends of the show. A lot of big guest stars are confirmed. It follows Tim and Eric on a little adventure. But it's definitely ... you won't be shocked by [it]. We're not gong big time or nothing. We're doing what we always do, making some f---ed up shit.

How did Will Ferrell get involved?
Tim: John Reilly, who is friends with Will, has been telling those guys for years about us, begging them to check us out. And eventually they did. Will is just such a fan of comedy, and is into some weird stuff. He gets our stuff and connected right away. He came in and did something for the show that he had a fun time doing. I think they just see themselves as being in a place to help people like us. We're excited about it.

'Tim and Eric, Awesome Show, Great Job!' Did Adult Swim try to persuade you to keep 'Awesome Show' going?
Eric: Yeah, they want more seasons of 'Awesome Show.' We haven't necessarily said no to it. But we want to try some other stuff right now.

Is it something where you could take a couple of years off and then resume?
Yeah. There's no rules to the 'Awesome Show.'

Getting back to the style question, do you feel like you have to keep topping yourselves after doing something that feels so specific?

Eric: Yeah. For sure. In the 'Awesome Show,' anything that really worked, anything that's very successful, we usually try to kill it off and do new and interesting stuff. The 'Chrimbus Special' feels like the 'Awesome Show,' but it's a new approach to the musical special.

Obviously you are who you are, and that's what produced the style, but if you want to push yourselves out of your comfort zone -- sorry for the cliché -- how do you go about that? Where do you start looking to do something different?

Tim: Format's a big thing. With the 'Chrimbus Special,' we were given an hour, so that all of a sudden changes certain pacing issues. And when we do the movie, that's going to be another consideration. There's pacing and coming up with different approaches to try to handle that. You can't work at the same pace as the 11-minute 'Awesome Show.' So that automatically changes the way things feel. But like anyone, I think you'd look at our earlier videos and what we've done lately and you'd see similarities, but you'd definitely see growth and change happen throughout our little career. So I think that'll just keep happening.

Do you get the feeling that your style of comedy is perhaps more widely recognized than the show itself? You have the commercials, and it's seeped into a lot of different corners. People might be watching a style of comedy you defined and not necessarily be familiar with 'Awesome Show.'

Tim: That's got to be the case. If you're going to run a commercial during the Super Bowl that millions and millions of people are going to see that, we don't have millions and millions and millions of viewers. So, for sure. We know that Madison Avenue is aware of us and uses our stuff as an influence. We see it all the time. It's cool.

What was the impetus to start doing the commercials? Was it a money decision, or did you see the opportunity to do something different?

Eric: I just like dong something really short format. Very simple and easy and fun.
Tim: We're pretty choosy. We don't do stuff unless it's like, okay this is in our vernacular. It won't be a challenge. We're not going to have to fight with anybody. They're going to end up dong it like our shit anyways, so we might as well be part of it.

What kind of feedback have you been getting on the 'SNL'/"Tiny Hats" sketch controversy? The Tiny Hats War?

Tim: The feedback from 'SNL' has been nothing. No interaction with them. But most people enjoy the little controversy it seems.

You had some fun with it on Twitter and online. Was it something that actually bothered you, that got under your skin?

Tim: Well, a little bit. But not probably to the extent that it appeared online.

It appears it still has legs. People are still talking about it online.
Tim: The best thing that came out of it was that our "Tiny Hats" sketch and their tiny hats sketch both got posted all over the place and you could watch one and then watch the other and our show got a lot of great exposure from that. You got to see our kind of humor right up against their kind of humor. For some people, it showed how different those two approaches to an idea could be.

I know you're both friendly with some people over there. Have you talked to anyone who's been on both shows since then?

Tim: I talked to a guy who edited and co-directed a lot of our shows who works there now. And he said his job is usually to stave off any comparison, any ideas that are similar to ours. But he thought it was just a coincidence.

When you think of influences, is there anything you can think of that you took from older 'SNL' or 'Python' or 'Mr. Show' that you adapted for yourselves?
Tim: We try to not directly lift words and language and specific concepts. But all of those shows heavily influenced us. I'm sure we've done things that someone else has done in a different way. I can't really think of anything specific.

Have you ever done something you thought was all your own, and then you found something similar elsewhere?
We've done that to 'Mr. Show' many times. We'll make something and then I'm watching an old episode and go, "Oh my god, that's exactly what we did." So there's a lot of coincidences that happen.

Do you ever hear from those people?

Eric: No. A lot of the stuff we write with Bob [Odenkirk, of 'Mr. Show'] and he forgets too.

I suppose that's the danger in working with people who have influenced you.
Eric: It's a pretty friendly community. We're friends with all the guys from 'Saturday Night Live' and 'Mr. Show.' We've never been in a situation where it's been coldly, blatantly and in an evil way. It's always an accident. For example, we did a 'Saturday Night Live' opening for season 5 and The Whitest Kids U Know wrote us and said, "Guys, we just have to tell you, we just did the same exact idea, and our show doesn't air for a couple of months. We just want you to know that we're not ripping you off." They did the same joke, we're just much faster with getting stuff out.

I realize it might be ironic for me to ask this five questions in on the topic, but do you think other people take this kind of thing too seriously? Or more seriously than you might? Fans looking at it and being upset on your behalf.
Eric: That's what's so great about our fans. They do all the heavy lifting for us.
Tim: I didn't know about it. The reason I found out about it was because people were sending me notes. Like, "I can't believe 'SNL' ripped you off.' It wasn't me who started it, it was people out there writing to us saying "check this out."

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Don't buy the hype! Join the People's Chrimbus Liberation Army, The PCLA, on facebook and help preserve the true meaning of Chrimbus!

Follow the hair!!!

January 28 2011 at 12:01 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

That's what's so great about our fans. They do all the heavy lifting for us. Well written and insightful.

October 19 2010 at 9:25 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

i fucking love tim and eric. sucks because the single tour date in my state is an 18+ show and the venue's policy won't even let you get in with a parent.

October 15 2010 at 9:37 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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