Eric Andre on Fiery Johnny Knoxville Pranks, a Fist-Filled 40th Birthday, and His Fizzled Out Emily Ratajkowski Romance

Actor and comedian also reveals why he only made $17,000 off his hit film “Bad Trip”

May 17, 2023

Eric Andre is a man of two wildly different minds. The actor, comedian, and legendary prankster generally prioritizes his wellbeing, eating healthy foods, meditates twice daily, going to regular therapy, and even keeping a journal. But other times, when he’s working — i.e., subjecting himself to painful and dangerous pranks for the sake of a laugh — or perhaps just unwinding with a quiet night of magic mushrooms, pot, whippets, and a “Bad Santa” rewatch, it seems like he’s living life on the edge.

“The Eric Andre Show” host spoke to both parts of his psyche on Wednesday when he returned to the Stern Show in vibrantly colored pants and a portrait of NBA icon Pat Riley on his t-shirt. He discussed light-hearted topics, like his drug-fueled, fisting-filled 40th birthday bash and the debut of his new series “The Prank Panel,” co-starring “Jackass Forever’s” Johnny Knoxville. But he didn’t shy away from heavier topics, either, including his ill-fated romance with superstar Emily Ratajkowski and a prank gone so horribly awry that he was arrested and sent to county prison.

“It was a nightmare. It smelled like flesh,” Andre told Howard of his brief incarceration. “Everyone looked like characters from ‘Breaking Bad.’”

Howard was shocked by Andre’s willingness to commit to dangerous stunts and pranks. “You really do put yourself in danger. Do you [have] a death wish?” he wondered.

Andre responded with a maniacal laugh.

“How can you laugh at that?” Howard asked.

“It’s because I hang out with Knoxville and [‘Borat’ star] Sacha Baron Cohen now, and those guys have such a larger death wish than me. Like, I seriously think Sacha wants to be assassinated by a politician and Knoxville wants to be killed by a wild animal,” Andre told Howard. “Those guys are my heroes. They raised the bar so high … [and] they skewed my reality of safety.”

Photo: The Howard Stern Show

As Andre quickly learned, hanging out with the world’s most notorious pranksters can quite literally be like playing with fire. “I’m drinking at a [tiki] bar with [Knoxville],” Eric recalled. “I have sandals on. My left foot feels like it’s in the greatest pain out of nowhere … I look down at my feet. Knoxville has a bottle of 151[-proof] rum — and he’d poured it all over my left foot — he has a thing of matches, and he’d set my foot on fire, and my foot is like engulfed in flames.”

“And then Knoxville goes, ‘That was an accident,’” Andre added with a laugh.

On another occasion, Johnny paid Eric an unexpected visit in the middle of the night. “He had an Andy Warhol wig, and he’s toilet papering my house … I open the window, and I’m like, ‘I got a gun,’ … and the guy is cracking up,” he recalled. “And then he presses his face up on the window, and I’m like, ‘Fucking Knoxville … I was about to shoot you!’”

Pushed to the Brink

After working closely with Knoxville, Eric thought he knew what he was getting into when signing on to co-host “The Prank Panel” with Johnny and actress Gabourey Sidibe. But he had underestimated his mentor.

“Knoxville’s pranking me the whole time. He’s tasing me, he’s got a different weapon on him every day,” he said of the gags, which were so bad he consulted “Jackass” co-creator and “Bad Trip” producer Jeff Tremaine. “I go, ‘Jeff, I don’t know what to do … every day I go to work something’s popping out of a wall, or he’s like hitting me with tasers or something.’”

Unfortunately, Jeff’s suggestion of retaliation, which Eric attempted with a stun gun, only made matters worse. “The guy is so impervious to pain,” he noted of the incident. “I hit him in the heart with a stun gun and he just starts looking at me while he’s being electrocuted, and then he grabs it out of my hand and then he just starts attacking me with it, and he has another one in his pocket … He gets me on the floor and he’s lighting me up with two stun guns.”

Eric “ran for his life” before quitting the show multiple times. “I was like, ‘I love you, I worship you, I grew up watching your stuff, I love you to death, but … this is a nightmare,’” he recalled of the decision.

The comedian returned for good after he and Knoxville agreed to leave the weapons at home, but the experience was not one he’d soon forget. “It was insane. It was like a ‘James Bond’ villain, it was like ‘Jaws’ or something,” Andre explained. “[Producer Jimmy] Kimmel had to call me every day and be like, ‘Hey, I’m really sorry you’re getting hit with weapons.’”

Getting Itchy After Dating Emily Ratajkowski

Howard wanted to know more about Eric’s well-publicized but ill-fated relationship with actress and model Emily Ratajkowski, who was first seen with Andre back in January and later appeared nude in a Valentine’s Day photo he published. Howard was curious why things between them didn’t work out — was Eric too wild for her liking?

“A gentleman never tells,” Eric said before joking about rebounding with Michelle Obama and Meghan Markle.

Kidding aside, Andre revealed he was seeing a new woman, which he felt brought him balance.

Howard wondered if his guest felt the urge to settle down and start a family.

“I think it’s time,” Eric said. “I’m getting the itch.”

A Bad Break for ‘Bad Trip’

Eric felt on top of the world in 2020 when “Bad Trip,” his hidden camera comedy with Tiffany Haddish and Lil Rel Howery, was getting ready to premiere in theaters. Unfortunately, those plans — along with everyone else’s — were scrapped after the onset of the pandemic.

“The world shut down. Then [‘Bad Trip’] was nowhere. Then MGM was secretly trying to sell it to [the streaming platform] Quibi behind our backs … and then they got caught. They kept telling us Netflix didn’t want it … [but] they sent it to the wrong person at Netflix,” Eric told Howard, explaining he had no idea whether the film would ever see the light of day until his friend and co-producer David Bernad got involved. “Dave sent it to the right person at Netflix who was like, ‘This is amazing. We love this,’ and it was the number one movie in the world [and] the U.S.,” Eric recalled.

“I really loved that movie,” Howard said. “How did that end up doing for you financially?”

“Financially? Nothing,” Andre responded, later adding, “I made the minimum [on the] SAG-AFTRA indie [pay] scale … I probably netted like 17,000 bucks for [almost eight years] of work.”

“Did you feel defeated?” Howard wondered.

“Oh yeah. It was miserable man. I was breaking down … I was just like in a bathrobe every day, drinking White Russians. I was like the Big Lebowski,” Andre said. “It was dark, but you know what? The success of the movie has opened up other opportunities. It’s the beginning of a new chapter.”

2 Guests Who Walked Off ‘The Eric Andre Show’ Mid-Interview

 “The Eric Andre Show” returns in June after a two-and-a-half-year long hiatus with a new lineup of guests, including “Poker Face’s” Natasha Lyonne, rapper Lil Nas X, “Mad Men’s” Jon Hamm, and actor Jaleel White, who famously played Steve Urkel on the ‘90s show “Family Matters.”

Guests are always in for a surprise when they come on the show. “We dupe people into coming into the studio. We tell them the bare minimum. We have a lot of tricks — some that I can’t reveal … and they knew nothing,” Andre said.

White’s surprise was strippers playing penis tennis. “[Jaleel] had no idea what was going on. He just saw these guys with two massive cocks just hitting [the ball]. And they were pretty good. They were volleying for a while,” Andre recalled.

“Was [he] pissed afterward?” Howard wondered.

“He was in shock,” Andre said. “I wouldn’t say he was pissed.”

Past guests have gotten angry, however, including “The Hills” star Lauren Conrad. “She walked out,” Eric recalled. “I vomited on the desk during the interview and then I slurped the vomit back up, and she didn’t really take kindly to that.”

“Bugatti” rapper T.I. quit the show, too. “There was a lot of full frontal male nudity,” Eric explained. “Rappers from the South don’t always want to see men’s penises.”

On His Racial Profiling Lawsuit Against Law Enforcement in Georgia

Switching up to a far more serious topic, Eric opened up about allegedly being racially profiled at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport in 2021. “It was the biggest bullshit,” he told Howard of the incident, which happened when he was traveling home from filming Danny McBride’s “The Righteous Gemstones” in South Carolina. “I go into the little jet bridge and these two plainclothes cops that I didn’t know were cops just like ambush me … and they’re like, ‘Hey, we have reason to believe that there’s drugs being transported through this airport – are you carrying drugs?’”

Unsettled, Andre reached out to some lawyer friends who suggested he use his substantial platform on social media to get answers. “I started tweeting to the mayor of Atlanta and tweeting to the Atlanta P.D., and they’re like, ‘That’s not us, that’s not us,’” he recalled. “Turns out it’s like the neighboring county, Clayton County, and they were doing this whole racial profiling procedure … The majority of people they stopped were Black and brown people and they would shake them down for money … They were raking in tons of money by doing this.”

Now embattled in a lawsuit with fellow comedian Clayton English against the Clayton County Police Department and district attorney’s office, the host still maintains his sense of humor. When Howard jokingly suggested Eric should rip his suit off and get naked in front of the judge, he laughed. “I might lose the case if that’s the strategy, but I could try,” he responded.

Are There Any Stunts Eric Andre Will Not Do?

Just how far is Andre willing to go for a laugh? Howard put the courageous performer to the test Wednesday with a rapid-fire round hypothetical stunts and scenarios.

Would Eric drink his own semen? No, other bodily fluids are fair game…

“I drank my own hot piss before in an interview [with reality show contestant Chad Johnson] … I got completely naked in front of him, pissed in my coffee mug, and chugged the whole thing,” Andre recalled before explaining precisely where he draws the line. “When I urinate, I feel relief. When I cum, I feel embarrassment afterward. So, I’m in a different mental space.”

The comedian also weighed in on taking a taser to the penis, boxing Mike Tyson, getting butt implants, eating regurgitated Stove Top stuffing, wearing an “I love 9/11” t-shirt, engaging in anal play while sky diving, and even dipping his testicles into a colony of fire ants.

“Oof, that’s nuts,” Andre punned of the fire ant stunt. “[But] if they made another ‘Jackass’ movie I would muster up the courage to do it.”

“The Eric Andre Show” Season 6 debuts Sunday, June 4 on Adult Swim. “The Prank Panel” debuts Wednesday, May 24 on ABC.

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