“We’re tired of trying to make people laugh with our humor. We want to make people cry.” -Tim Heidecker
Largely overlooked comic genie Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim once again team up for their signature, home-grown blend of deadpan, satire, and gross-out humor. Their new TV show, Bedtime Stories, featuring John C. Reilly, Zach Galifianakis, and Jason Schwartzman, premieres tonight at 12:15am on Adult Swim. From the look of the trailer, Bedtime Stories seems to be a much more cinematic, narrative-based venture than we’re used to with Tim and Eric, with higher production quality and level of accessibility.
Tim and Eric are most known for their previous show on Adult Swim, Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job! which ran for three years until 2010 and featured brilliantly surrealistic and often satirical humor/anti-humor, including public-access television–style musical acts, bizarre faux-commercials, and editing and special effects chosen to make the show a parody of camp. The creators of the show have described it as “the nightmare version of television.”
In line with the content of their previous television series, Bedtime Stories embraces the absurdity of American suburbia in a uniquely dark, Twilight Zone kind of way. Heidecker and Wareheim, who cite David Lynch and the Coen brothers as their storytelling influences, said that for their new series they were inspired by Louie‘s format of multiple episodes that loosely connect with recurring cameo/celebrity appearances. Unlike most of their previous work, their new series is focused much more on narrative and storytelling. “We wanted to tell little short stories that have a darker edge, kind of a nightmarish quality to them but still funny and absurd and go the opposite direction from the lo-fi aesthetic that we’ve established,” Heidecker said in a recent interview.
“I feel like most of life is a nightmare,” Wareheim said in response. “You have a couple friends and a couple beautiful moments, but everything else … and this show kind of embraces those moments of, like, ‘I cannot believe that this is really happening.'” Wareheim continued by noting that for the tone of the new series they were going for something like The Shining. “Real psychological horror, which I think we’re almost there in some of these episodes. Like, true horror. Not gore, but true really-fucking-frightening.”
Even though they seem to be approaching a well-earned level of funding, through all their work the comedic process is rooted in an intimate level of comfort that they’ve established since their filmmaking days at Temple University in Philadelphia, where they first met. “I’m trying to make Eric laugh and the cameraman laugh, and he’s trying to make me laugh when he’s on camera, and that’s always at the heart of everything we do,” Tim said. “And that’s really the end of the conversation.”
Upon being asked if perhaps they have taken comedy to the limit of where it can go, Wareheim responded: “We are going to take it beyond that limit. Just flip it inside out. It’s this ever-expanding universe of comedy and we’re just going to keep on trucking.”
Tim and Eric’s Bedtime Stories premieres tonight at 12:15am on Adult Swim.
As September begins to take hold of summer and we retreat into sweatpants, consume copious amounts of pie, listen to nothing but Cocteau Twins, and find ourselves wallowing in a general feeling of melancholy depression, there’s no better time to shoot some tubular cathode rays into our eyeballs from the comfort of our own homes. Here’s a list of the shows we’re most excited to see this fall.
SONS OF ANARCHY (Final Season)
Tuesday September 9 at 10PM | FX
Marilyn Manson guest stars as a neo-Nazi drug addict in Kurt Sutter’s final installment of the West coast biker outlaw epic.
THE MINDY PROJECT (Season 3)
Tuesday September 16 at 10PM | FOX
Mindy Kaling plays a lovable gynecologist bumbling through her personal and professional lives.
TIM AND ERIC’S BEDTIME STORIES (Season 2)
Thursday September 18 at 12:15AM | Adult Swim
Largely overlooked comic genie Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim once again team up for their signature blend of deadpan, satire, and gross-out humor featuring John C. Reilly and Zach Galifianakis.
THE GOOD WIFE (Season 6)
Sunday September 21 at 9:30PM | CBS
A slew of critically acclaimed performances power this political drama about a wife who must make do after a scandal puts her husband, a state attorney, in jail.
MODERN FAMILY (Season 6)
Wednesday September 24 at 9PM | ABC
The mockumentary favorite follows a close-knit and diverse extended family in the suburbs of LA.
HOMELAND (Season 4)
Sunday October 5 at 9PM | Showtime
Claire Danes plays an unstable CIA agent assigned to a dangerous military outpost in the Middle East.
MULANEY (Season 1)
Sunday October 5 at 9:30PM | FOX
Upcoming Seinfeld-esque stand-up-punctuated sitcom created by comedian and former Saturday Night Live writer John Mulaney, who stars as a fictionalized version of himself.
AMERICAN HORROR STORY: FREAKSHOW (Season 4)
Wednesday October 8 at 10PM | FX
Set in 1950s Florida and based on one of the last legitimate freakshows in history, Freakshow marks the fourth season of the soapy-camp horror tale from writer Ryan Murphy.
THE WALKING DEAD (Season 5)
Sunday October 12 at 9PM | AMC
Post-apocalyptic horror drama series developed by Frank Darabont, based on the comic book series. Sheriff’s deputy Rick Grimes awakens from a coma to find a world dominated by flesh-eating zombies.
THE NEWSROOM (Final Season)
November 2014 | HBO
Jeff Daniels plays irreverent news anchor Will McAvoy in the final episodes of the acclaimed political drama.
According to Wikipedia, "Jash" is a Kurdish word referring to enemy collaborators who fight against the interests of country, used in a similar (and pejorative) manner as "quisling" or "Benedict Arnold." According to the Internet, Jash is also the name of a new comedy channel launched over the weekend at South By Southwest, put on by YouTube and starring Tim Heidecker, Eric Wareheim, Sarah Silverman, Michael Cera, and Reggie Watts. The goal of the project is to create "a comedy platform with complete creative autonomy," although the description of the SXSW launch event sounds way more, well, SXSW-y, complete with buzzy phrases like "collaborative innovation in the digital space" and "the thriving world of digital media in entertainment." Woof.
And, because this is SXSW and people have to tweet about literally everything that happens there, portmanteaus, puns and taglines people have come up with on Twitter about this thing already include "Jashhead, Flash your Jash, Jashtag, Jashed Potatoes, splishsplash I was taking a Jash, Jashercized." We’ll see where it all goes from here. In the meantime, watch the first ever Jash video below. In it, there are scenes of popular YouTube videos being destroyed, which may be wishful thinking for everyone who has grown weary of Harlem Shakes and screaming goats.