Tim & Eric bring their bananas brand of comedy to Masonic Detroit

Melody Baetens
The Detroit News

There seems to be as many styles of comedy as there are genres of music. 

If you'd assign a musical equivalent to the kind of entertainment that comedy duo Tim & Eric are known for, you may get a prolific, free-form jazz band that mixes in psychedelic rock and roll. It's improvisational. It's weird and subversive and makes you go "oh wow, how'd they think of that?"

Comedians Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim bring their latest stage show to Detroit Feb. 19.

The pair — Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim, known for surreal and alternative comedy — have put out many series on the Adult Swim network. This year, they're taking a new stage show on the road before launching "Beef House," a new multi-camera sitcom. 

Heidecker says the new "Mandatory Attendance Tour," coming to the Jack White Theater inside the Masonic Detroit on Feb. 19, is made up of jokes, videos, sketches and "Eric and I goofing around."

"This show is a little more like a Broadway production," he said, explaining that it's not all random chaos. "It's a little more of a show that has a beginning, middle and end. There are sketches but the show has kind of a little arc that happens throughout." 

They brought the "Mandatory Attendance" tour, including all the props, videos and costumes, to Australia before hitting North America to test it front of audiences and see what needed tweaking. 

"It’s a little bit of a high-wire act because we really didn’t test it with our friends. It worked," he said, adding that the show has a lot of crowd participation. 

Comedians Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim bring their latest stage show to Detroit Feb. 19.

"It' very interactive, it's very immersive," said Heidecker, 44, who didn't want to give too much away. If it's anything like their other tours, there will be acid trip of colors and music with a lot of jokes and "big swings" that Heidecker says have been paying off. 

After the tour, the pair will launch a new show on the Adult Swim network, "Beef House." Done in a sitcom style, this show finds Wareheim as the "stay-at-home husband" figure and Heidecker as more of a slacker — “a combination of Charlie Sheen and David Spade ... a slacker, rock-and-roll guy," he says. 

"We've always wanted to do a sitcom in our style," he said of "Beef House," which he admits is being helped by having an actual plot, unlike some, but not all, of their other projects. He said a friend who saw the show said "as stupid as this show is, you have me on the hook to find out how to resolve it." 

The two guys, both from Pennsylvania, have been working together and putting out content for nearly 20 years. Tim & Eric have brought a live show to Metro Detroit many times, usually playing the suburbs, but Heidecker said they specifically asked to be booked in the city this time so they can check it out. 

They're no strangers to collaborating with others. They've worked with everyone from Bob Odenkirk to Will Ferrell. One of Tim and Eric's spin-off series is "Check It Out! with Dr. Steve Brule," starring Oscar-nominated actor John C. Reilly as Dr. Steve Brule. 

Recently Heidecker was seen on Netflix's "I Think You Should Leave," a sketch comedy show released last spring that is co-created by and starring Detroit-area native Tim Robinson. Heidecker stars in one sketch as a rare jazz music and cigar enthusiast "Howie," who ruins a game of "guess the celebrity" played with his much younger girlfriend and her friends.  

When he agreed to do the show, he assumed there would be a fair amount of improv, like the "Tim & Eric" shows, but was instead handed eight pages of a script.

"I got the script and I remember saying '(screw) this, I'm not memorizing all this,'" he said, laughing. "I did it, and it was a lot of fun. I watched it with my wife. We ended up watching the whole series. The show is hilarious ... a show that can make me laugh, really laugh, is few and far between so I was grateful to be a part of that." 


Twitter: @melodybaetens

Tim and Eric

Mandatory Attendance World Tour

8 p.m. Feb. 19

Jack White Theatre at Masonic Detroit

500 Temple, Detroit

(313) 638-2724 or themasonic.com

$47.50 and up

"Beef House"

Premieres 12:15 a.m. March 29

Adult Swim