Here’s How Tim and Eric Changed the Face of Comedy

When tasked to create a new show or comedic special of any kind, there are none who would approach the assignment in quite the way that Tim and Eric would. The two Pennsylvania natives first met and began collaborating during their time at Temple University in 1994, and nearly 30 years later have amassed a widespread catalog of television shows, shorts, movies, and commercials. Their unique and off-putting style of absurdist and fast moving comedy, with heavy visual editing and purposefully uncomfortable moments, have garnered a widespread audience online, and from those who tuned in to their shows on Adult Swim.

Ripples of their influence can be seen all over to this day, and for good reason. Being responsible for a yet unseen style of comedy, the Tim and Eric mission statement would always be to leave the audience so over-stimulated and unsure of what they just saw that they’d have no choice but to bust out laughing. In a world of proper and structured comedy, they stood out like a sore thumb, if that thumb had a high-pitched screaming face green-screened on to it. Drawing inspiration from their work has brought us countless new artists and ideas, building upon their foundation of surrealism and taking new spins on the style, though fans can always tell when the unmistakable footprint of Tim and Eric can be spotted.


Breaking Into the Industry

Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim continued collaborating after graduating from Temple University, producing all kinds of comedy projects. One of these projects, titled Tom Goes to The Mayor, found itself selected for by the Philadelphia Institute of World Cinema and ended up included in the University of Pennsylvania’s Institute for Contemporary Art, giving the duo their first stepping stone in creating their new careers. Hoping to catch the eyes of anyone and everyone in the media industry, the two compiled their work into a portfolio, and began showing it off to anyone who would dare to take a look. After sending it to one of their personal comedy heroes, sketch comedy veteran and Better Call Saul star Bob Odenkirkthey finally received the response they’d been hoping for.

Tom Goes to the Mayor
Dipshot Films / Abso Lutely Productions / Williams Street

Odenkirk loved what he sawand reached out to the two boys suggesting that they’d make another Tom Goes to The Mayor, insisting that he’d help produce and create it. Their pilot and series pitch was picked up by what would end up as their longtime home, Adult Swim, and had a successful two season run. With their foot now in the door of television, they were able to pitch their next idea, one that would define their careers most of all.

Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job! premiered on Adult Swim in 2007, and was a sketch comedy show, allowing the two comedians to stretch their legs and relish in their own absurd concepts, jumping from idea to idea in a format that felt perfect for their brand of anti-humor cringe comedy . Clips from the show to this day receive millions of views online, being passed around and quoted by many fans of the bizarre and atypical nonsense.

Related: These Are the Weirdest Talk Shows of All Time

Awesome Success, Great Job!

It was not long before the success of Awesome Show allowed for the pair to branch out, creating new shows and ideas under their production company, Abso Lutely Productions; these shows would help redefine what Adult Swim was in the 2010s. In 2010, they created the cult favorite Check It Out! With Dr. Steve Brule, starring regular collaborator John C. Reilly as the lead character, a bizarre and socially inept doctor, who leads the viewer in learning about various subjects of the week, in a mock-public access format. The show was another success, scratching a very obscure and specific itch for fans of the eccentric style, and allowing both Tim and Eric to start to become recognizable and beloved names in comedy.

Doctor Steve Brule
Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution

With the continued success and notoriety, the two began production on their very on movie in 2012, Tim and Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie, starring them both in a style akin to their sketch comedy show, essentially acting as one long movie-length sketch. While not a major financial or critical success, the film did help in further creating recognition for the Tim and Eric brand, and bringing aboard new fans, transfixed by their off-beat comedic language.

Staying busy is the name of the game for the two sketch comedians, and projects with their stamp of influence remain abundant. In 2013 Tim and Eric’s Bedtime Stories premiered on Adult Swim as their next project, with a focus on dark and horror-themed comedy. The two also had a short-lived sitcom parody, Beef House, premiered on Adult Swim as well in 2020, so far with only a single season. Their online presence is responsible for introducing most fans to their bizarre world however, with YouTube clips from their shows spreading like wildfire, and in leaning into this success, producing online exclusive clips and sketches for their personal YouTube page.

The two creators aren’t inseparable however, and have found success in their solo ventures as well. Tim has produced numerous shows in which he has written and starred in, such as On Cinema At The Cinemaa parody movie review show, as well as Decker another spoof series, this time focused on the secret agent trope. Eric has ventured into the world of cooking, publishing a book titled FOODHEIM: A Culinary Adventure in 2021, and directing music videos and episodes of Master of None on Netflixin which he also starred.

Related: Mister America Trailer: A Murderous Tim Heidecker Campaigns for District Attorney

Leaving a Lasting Impression

As years pass, those who grew up influenced by the stylings of Tim and Eric have since made their own mark on comedy, with their production company producing a wide variety of excellent shows (Nathan For You, Review, Moonbase 8, Magic for Humans), one of the prime examples being that of Eric Andre. The Eric Andre Show, a parody talk show relishing in shock and cringe humor, was made under the Abso Lutely Productions company, and has found massive success. It’s unmistakable to see the groundwork left by Tim and Eric within the show and, with its massive popularity, an influence that has spread even further, being seen in many new creators online who grew up watching one or all of these comedies.

Tim and Eric
Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution

Perhaps most especially for those sleepless stoners tuning into Adult Swim late at night, Tim and Eric will always have a place on the Mount Rushmore of abstract and uncomfortable comedy, paving the way for those who did not know how to translate their niche humor into the world in quite the way they did. Timelessly funny and effortlessly iconic, the comedy duo remains unmatched in repertoire, continuing to churn out new and groundbreaking projects, and never letting their visions be compromised. You always know what you’re going to get when it comes to Tim and Eric, that being the last thing you’d ever expect to see, and fans hope to witness the absurdity for many years to come.

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