Comedy duo jars audience, delivers ‘awesome show’

Aaron West

The Paramount Theatre, Austin’s oldest theater, was also the city’s freakiest when the perversely hilarious comedy duo, Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim, invaded the venue on Saturday for their Chrimbus Spectacular 2010 tour.

Tim and Eric, the creators and stars of Adult Swim’s bizarre television show “Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!” is weird enough on TV, so when it’s converted to a live show, things get insane.

Offensive, awkward, surreal and straight-up odd are Tim and Eric’s bread and butter, and the two spread it on thick for the show-goers. There were glittery, over-the-top Christmas-themed musical numbers; a furry, anatomically correct onesie; guest appearances; uncomfortable audience participation; a performance by Pusswhip Banggang, Tim and Eric’s band; and plenty more.

Audience members familiar with the TV show had an idea of what they were getting into and, judging from the crowd’s reactions, they were satisfied with the performance.

“I knew that it was going to be absurd and off-the-wall,” said Zach Hutchens, a local actor and glass technician who attended the show. “My sides hurt from laughing. And man, when Steve Brule came out, I was on my feet.”

Dr. Steve Brule, played by a somewhat-confused but always sincere John C. Reilly, was a highlight of the night. People jumped out of their seats and clapped like crazy when he came onstage and conducted an unsettling mammogram for Misty, a “patient” he chose from the crowd. Misty seemed freaked out, which is what Brule was going for, so mission accomplished.

Other bits involving the audience included a strange, two-man wet T-shirt contest emceed by Tim and Eric’s pierced, fratty alter-egos Jim and Derrick, and some onstage dancing when Pusswhip Banggang played several songs at the end of the show. Also, a privileged few were able to snag the Christmas gifts — packets of frozen shrimp — that Tim and Eric tossed out.
Classic Tim and Eric skits from the TV show that were projected onto a screen and selected by the audience’s applause kept everyone entertained in between performances. The chosen clips were “Ooh Mama!” and “Celery Man,” the latter featuring a sweaty, coffee-gulping Paul Rudd watching funky, kinky videos of himself on a computer.

The seating arrangement in the Paramount worked fairly well for most of the show, but when Tim and Eric donned their guitars and American flag pants for the Pusswhip Banggang performance, about 30 fans abandoned their chairs and went to the front.

“Pusswhip Banggang was awesome,” said Amy Offield, a Tim and Eric fan who drove from College Station to see the show. “Eric’s pants were the most patriotic pants I’ve seen in a long time. And I didn’t know that they could shred so hard.”

The band played some favorites from the TV show like “Poke On,” and even came back for an encore after they had left the stage, making the weirdness last until just before 11 p.m. Afterwards, the audience cheered and left without many regrets.

“I just wish I could have gotten my hands on some of that frozen shrimp.” Offield said.