If the point of comedy is to make the viewer laugh is the point of anti-comedy to make them cry or get mad? Well sometimes this is what happens but it is not the intention of the comic. Their intention is to make themselves laugh. Some of the most famous anti-comics were Andy Kaufman, the king of anti-humor, and Neil Hamburger. More often than not anti-comedy TV shows do not do well in the eyes of the mainstream viewer because they don’t always get it or don’t find it funny. This did not stop Tim and Eric from making Tim and Eric Awesome Show Great Job. With the use of anti-comedy the show was able to be a successful funny show about cable access that their audiences could be involved with and identify with while at the same time making them believe what they were experiencing was real.
Tim and Eric’s ultimate goal as anti-comics was to make themselves laugh. This meant finding out what was truly funny to them. According to the interview done by the company On The Sound of Young America, Tim and Eric both grew up loving and watching local television. “We always try to make our comedies or our videos look as close to those [cable access] as possible because it immediately signals a laugh.”(Tim Heidecker) This is why Awesome Show is structured after cable access and looks the way it does. To them this was one of the funniest things and they wanted to recreate it. This can easily be seen in their blooper reels for their show.
In the bloopers it is obvious how much fun they are having and how funny and over the top their show is. So as anti-comics this means their show is a success because it does what they wanted it to do; make themselves laugh and in turn make the people who are like them laugh.
Another way to look at the success of Awesome Show is by looking at how Tim and Eric are giving the audience something they can recognize. A lot of people grew up watching local television or cable access. The fact that Tim and Eric are trying to pay homage to these types of broadcasts and are able to recreate the uniqueness of them gives the viewer a feeling of positive identification. The writing, the acting, and even they way things are edited are done solely to create this atmosphere in the show which the fans love. One part of the show that does this the best is when they have the channel 5 news.
Local news is something every viewer has seen and they all know that there can be very bad news broadcasters. This can lead to some unintentionally funny moments. Tim and Eric’s “news team” is no exception.
The shows also creates involvement for its viewers with its very unique way of casting. They have two kinds of cast members on the show. One group is fellow comedians. For example Will Ferrell, Zach Galifianakis and Maria Bamford. This makes the audience more involved because it is interesting to see these mainstream actors/comedians on a low budget show. For example in season 2 episode 1 Weird Al makes a guest appearance as himself and recognising him is fun and makes the audience more involved. The other type of cast members are the people they hire from auditions off the street. To make the show feel more like cable access Tim and Eric hire people who are very diverse, have personal oddities and no real theatrical training. Then they write roles around them like the did for Ron Austar.
He is not a famous actor but they hired him, not because of his acting skills, but because of who he was as a person. His uniqueness is why they hired him. Then they wrote his part around how he acted in real life. Because of the this it give involvement to the fans because they can see people like themselves in the show. To be apart of this show you don’t have to be a great actor you just have to be someone interesting or even just a normal person who wants to be a part of something bigger than yourself. Also, because they like to be able to represent everybody Tim and Eric hire all ages, sexes and races so anyone can truly be a part of their show.
Another thing that makes Tim and Eric Awesome Show Great Job a success is their ability to make the viewers believe that the world they are watching is real. Since the show is meant to look like cable access, all the things that most TV shows would be considered bad for doing makes sense for Awesome Show. The whole point of the show is to make it look and feel like a group of amateurs who have no clue about how to make a show, trying to make one. This means that no matter what the viewer sees or hears it still makes sense in the show. They emphasize this point by showing the camera crew, edges of the fake sets, and making overly clear it’s a show. A great example of this can be seen in the episode Robin season 2. In the episode, the characters Tim and Eric are working on their writing skills. Eric doesn’t think he is able to put in as much effort as Tim so he hires a Robin Williams to help write the show with Tim.
This causes the viewer to believe what they are seeing is real; a show made by people who don’t really know the proper way to make a television show. This is what Awesome Show is truly about so the viewer ends up believing in the world Tim and Eric have created.
Tim and Eric Awesome Show Great Job is a successful show in a lot of different ways. It is able to give its audiences something they can easily identify with and be involved with because of the choice to make it a tribute to cable access and because of the way they hire their cast. They also make it successful by having the show seem to be a really terrible show created by amateurs. Most importantly both Tim and Eric accomplished what they set out to do: make a show that makes themselves laugh and stay true to anti-comedy. Like most anti-comedies, Tim and Eric’s show is certainly not for everyone. For the fans though, it is a successful show that is unique and that gives people something to watch that is different from most of the other shows on television.