SCOTT SIMON, HOST:
Eric Andre joins us now. His first comedy special, "Legalize Everything," is now on Netflix. And, Mr. Andre, I don't think you have to worry about us giving away some of your best lines because I don't think I can repeat them.
ERIC ANDRE: (Laughter) I mean, I'll let you. I don't know if the FCC will let you.
SIMON: Eric Andre, of course - the comedian, actor, musician who's also the creator of "The Eric Andre Show" on Adult Swim. His new special contains everything from romance with chickens to frontal nudity. Thanks so much for being with us.
ANDRE: Scott - thank you. Big fan - first time, long time. I love you. I love your work. I love your buttery, baritone voice.
SIMON: Oh, I wish I had a buttery, baritone voice, but thanks for the compliment. Look. I don't want to just talk about drugs and sex in this stand-up, but it does kind of feature drugs and sex, doesn't it?
ANDRE: I think drugs and sex are important. I'm trying to challenge the status quo, as they say, right? And I'm trying to challenge stigma. So yeah, I've had a - I'm trying to. I don't know if I've succeeded, but I'm trying.
SIMON: The open to the special is a video where a police car pulls up. You get out as a police officer - a New Orleans police officer - smoking weed and dropping your pants - I don't want to give away everything. Did you think about dropping that open given what's been going on?
ANDRE: No, I actually think it's more important now to play that opening than ever. Let's cram some absurdity into police work and distort the truth and challenge it. I think it's - there's no better time for that bit than right now.
SIMON: You are a - and you talk about this in the special - a Blewish Cashew (ph).
ANDRE: Yes, I'm Black and Jewish and I'm - my dad is from a Catholic background, and my mom's Jewish. And I appear Puerto Rican because (laughter) that's good enough.
SIMON: Do you think that gave you - as a lot of great comics have - a kind of different set of eyes in the world?
ANDRE: I think so. I grew up in a segregated Florida full of racism. And my dad's from Haiti. People hated Haitians growing up in Florida because there were, like, a lot of Haitians leaving Haiti and coming to Florida during Aristide. And people always said bigoted stuff to me about - because they thought they were behind closed doors, and they didn't realize what I was because I'm ethnically ambiguous. So yeah, I think it shaped my - being mixed and being from Florida, I think, shaped my worldview.
SIMON: Look. I have to ask this.
SIMON: I laughed a lot. But at some point, all the drug talk made me squirm. Can I tell you why?
ANDRE: Yeah. Yes, talk to me.
SIMON: Of course, weed is legal - different category - but you talk almost euphorically sometimes about cocaine, acid, crystal meth. You know, and you can believe that the war on drugs is senseless and racist.
SIMON: But I've just done too many stories over the years of people in communities that have been ruined by drugs to want to make them sound attractive.
ANDRE: Well, I'll tell you this. I think there's a difference between drug use and drug abuse.
SIMON: No, I understand that. I just have a hard time with someone, you know, talking about how good they feel.
ANDRE: I think that you can have a positive euphoric experience on psychedelics. I think it'll awaken dormant parts of your mind. And I think that we are the victims of this, like, Satanic Panic, just-say-no misinformation where I think there is a big difference between drug use and drug abuse. Also, drugs are legal - alcohol is a drug. It's a pretty bad drug that makes people more violent. And my friend that went to rehab - he said the majority of people that were in rehab were there for legal drugs made by the Pfizer corporation. It's the Chris Rock joke - the government doesn't want you to do your drugs - the government wants you to do their drugs. So you would benefit from a psychedelic experience.
ANDRE: I think you've got to try. I want you to do toad venom - that's what I want you to do. I want you to go to the Amazon and lick the leg of a toad and ingest their poison and break on through to the other side.
SIMON: I - you sure make me curious about that.
SIMON: Oh, mercy. I love the part in the special when you get somebody's mother on the phone.
ANDRE: Yeah, she's the star of the special.
SIMON: Well, I don't - you're the star of the special.
ANDRE: I mean, but she is incredible.
SIMON: It does raise the question - let me tap your expertise - what makes somebody funny? What makes a routine funny?
ANDRE: I think, like, you have to have a distinct point of view. And you have to be good at the element of surprise.
SIMON: Yeah, part of what that mother had going for her - not to say, in any way, she wasn't funny - was because she was somebody's mother, and you weren't expecting her to be Jerry Seinfeld.
ANDRE: Yeah. Well, yes - it was, like, the bar was...
SIMON: What the hell - she was Chris Rock.
ANDRE: The bar was low because she wasn't a comedian. And yeah, also element of surprise. She was, like, pulling out weed and pulling out her, like, American Express card and, like, doing all these unsuspected things in real time in the moment. God bless her.
SIMON: Do you enjoy doing stand-up? Is it - does it keep you going?
ANDRE: I like standup, but I'm returning to my - I think I'm one and done with the stand-up special. It's so hard, stand-up (laughter). I think I'm going to return to my show and do other projects. I think, like, I kind of - like, at least for now, got my fill. Maybe I'll return to it later. But it's hard. It's no small feat.
ANDRE: It's draining. I'm not in good shape, Scott. I'll be honest with you.
SIMON: Well, you show a lot of yourself here. So, you know, people can kind of reach their own conclusion.
ANDRE: I wear a B-cup bra, and I have a jelly belly. My body's falling apart. So I'm not, like, racing to my second special right now. I'm doing some other projects that I think are more creatively fulfilling.
SIMON: Eric Andre - his new special "Legalize Everything" - now on Netflix. Thanks so much for being with us.
ANDRE: Thank you. I really appreciate it. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.