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How the Internet Got Awesomer

Tim and Eric’s plan for online domination.

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Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim made their first shorts as film students at Temple. Ten years later, the second season of the off-the-wall, antic Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job! premieres on Cartoon Network's Adult Swim, on November 19 at 12:15 a.m. And that’s just the beginning: Already, we’ve been enjoying their hysterical podcast on Superdeluxe.com, which just premiered their new weekly live online show, Tim and Eric Nite Live (it streams live every Tuesday at 10 p.m. Eastern). Soon, Comedy Central will premiere their new project, Steven & Stephen, a show about twins conjoined at the penis. But it’s not all, um, as awesome as that: After years of filming screwy, brilliant low-budget shorts with some of biggest names in comedy (Bob Odenkirk and David Cross, for example), the pair still can’t get David Byrne to return their calls.

What are you doing now?
EW: We do a lot of comedy experiments. Downstairs in our studio waiting for us is this small Japanese man who has some sword experience and a really large fat man who is going to be his assistant. They’re not very good actors, but we just want them to fool around for a few hours. I guarantee we’re going to get some serious magic out of these guys.
TH: The Japanese man’s name is Kaz, so we had the idea for a show being named Kasual Swording With Kaz. It’s basically how to use your sword in everyday activities like opening your door, spreading ketchup and mustard on a bun, and picking up trash. Swords aren’t just for violence anymore.

Do you have more fun on the Web than on cable?
EW: It’s a totally different experience, because you have much more freedom—especially when you’re not getting paid for it. It’s unbelievably fun and satisfying. With Tim and Eric Nite Live, there aren’t as many restrictions. We love making the TV show, but the Internet shorts have less consequences.

How did Nite Live come about?
TH:We thought it’d be fun to use live Web streaming. We’re not trying to overwrite it so much. We’re trying to just set up a couple scenarios that will probably be a disaster—but hopefully in a good way. It’s kind of like a calculated disaster.
EW: I feel like I’m going to start giggling. I’ve been having a major giggle problem recently. I tried to do the lip-bite thing … it doesn’t work; it just makes me look weird. It can be a little charming.

It’s kind of comedy for the comedy fan. Any crazies?
EW: We have one fan who had a birthday party for my birthday in her bedroom. She put it on YouTube, so you can see it. She’s a really sweet and not-threatening girl, but for my girlfriend to show me this video of this girl with streamers and Eric balloons, alone by herself with her cats …
TH: We just had a song contest where people made videos of themselves covering songs from our show. We got 40 or 50 entries that are all so unique. It’s weird to see someone in their living room lip-synching our songs.
EW: It’s amazing to see these kids start to edit in the style that we do—this bizarre, choppy editing.
TH: Secrets revealed: It’s not that hard!
EW: I mean, the stuff that we find funny is a lot of low-budget, crappy cable-access shows and commercials. Usually the most low-budget wins. The spirit is, we want kids who have no money to be able to turn on their video cameras and make something.
TH: When we originally started making shorts we had no money, so the aesthetic was really there in the beginning. We couldn’t make something that looked good; we were incapable of it.
EW: We can be funny on a bigger budget, but other times it’s what saves things. It could be an idea that would be funny on SNL but looks way too real and good … "sketchy."
TH: That’s a phrase we use here. It’s too "sketchy"—too sketch-comedy-ish. We’re more Monty Python or Mr. Show.

Your guest stars are always amazing.
EW: This year we had John C. Reilly back, and Jeff Goldblum. I mean, we have David Cross and Bob Odenkirk. These guys are literally our idols that are on the show. But we still want David Byrne! We’ve been trying to get him for years.
TH: If you get too big of a person, it takes you out of the fit a little bit. It takes a certain person to work in that world.
EW: Our studio’s made up of people we hired three years ago that came out of film school and art school. It’s kind of like a little commune. We make a point not to let any Hollywood assholes in this world, they’re not welcome. People know that. When they come over they’re having fun. No douche bags here!


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