Upon first entering the Warfield Theater on Wednesday, it was clear that this was a Tim and Eric home crowd.
To an outsider, these uniforms probably seem amusing at best, baffling at worst, but to the cloistered world of Tim and Eric acolytes, they meant you were among family.
The followers of Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim have always been drawn to the comedy duo’s unique brand of humor (please do not call it anti-humor or outsider humor), a beguiling mix of over-the-top gross-out pranks, daring social commentary (seriously) and bone-dry irony. For the group’s legion of fans (a cadre that is overwhelmingly white and male, but at least growing slightly more diverse after all these years), those contrasting elements were on full display at the Warfield, and as expected, the sold-out crowd embraced every bit of the nuttiness.
Since creating their beloved animated show, Tom Goes to the Mayor, Tim and Eric have maintained a breakneck pace to expand their comedic universe, mostly through their Adult Swim vehicle, Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!, but also through their various side projects, like YouTube series Tim’s Kitchen Tips, Dr. Wareheim and Tim & Eric’s Go Pro Show. The result is a rich array of outré characters — nearly all of them skewering corporate, milquetoast television personalities — that were reflected in the aforementioned clothing choices of the audience members.
The show on Wednesday was essentially a greatest hits package of their most recent work, with Tim leading an audience-heavy run of his cooking show — a skit where he plays a clueless wannabe chef constantly shilling a grotesque brand of yellow mustard (“Pitzman’s is the best!”) Various members provided the spices necessary to garnish a frozen (and gargantuan) piece of Stouffer’s lasagna (things got messy.)
Wareheim took the live lead for a spinoff on his Dr. Wareheim YouTube series, a “medical procedural” that usually involved him investigating Tim’s poop. For the Warfield show, the duo decided to go with a live colonoscopy feed, with a camera and probe being extended up Tim’s asshole (replete with a particularly hairy taint). It was fucking gross, but also hilarious.
The show also had plenty of less-overt comedic takes, such as the duo’s on-and-off conversation with their tour manager, “Brad” from AEG and the numerous references to the Cinco Family Corporation, the Halliburton-like demonic business behemoth that has been a standard reference in their work since their founding days.
Tim and Eric will always be accused of catering to an insular, cultish following of fans, a criticism that isn’t entirely unwarranted. I went with my girlfriend on Wednesday and she was absolutely mystified by what she was seeing.
Still, there is something comforting in being able to reliably turn to familiar faces for your laughs. Like Tim and Eric themselves, the audience members are outsiders — people who are turned off, or outright rejected by convention — who take solace in their own strange community.
When you see someone wearing a Steve Brule t-shirt, there is an immediate sense of kinship. Tim, Eric and their fans are fucking weirdos. And I think everyone is okay with that.