PopMatters is moving to WordPress. We will publish a few essays daily while we develop the new site. We hope the beta will be up sometime late next week.

Tim & Eric with Dr. Steve Brule: Boston - 4 October 2014

Tim & Eric, with Dr. Steve Brule in tow, shared their brand of entrancingly preposterous, thoroughly sweet comedy during an extended set in Boston's Back Bay.

Dr. Steve Brule

Tim & Eric with Dr. Steve Brule

City: Boston
Venue: Berklee Performance Center
Date: 2014-10-04

“I know you think we’re young, cool pranksters,” shared Eric Wareheim on stage Saturday night, before going on to explain how him and his partner Tim Heidecker are actually quite sensitive about how their work is received. It was all part of a bit – the duo proceeded to blindfold themselves and wear noise-canceling headphones before sharing a clip of their new anthology series, Tim & Eric’s Bedtime Stories – but it also had a ring of truth.

Because Tim & Eric’s comedy hinges on an unwavering devotion to all that is uncool. All four of the duo’s Adult Swim programs (Tom Goes to the Mayor, Tim & Eric Awesome Show Great Job!, Check It Out and Bedtime Stories) have been obsessed with outdated technology, unflattering clothes, public access talent, dads, and mispronounced words. After a decade on TV, these strange, often uncomfortably creepy fixations have congealed into a language all their own, to the point where a fan can see a t-shirt with John C. Reilly’s face and the word “Bringo” on it, and freak out with joy.

Yet over the course of its two and a half-hour set at Berklee Performance Center, the duo, along with Reilly in character as Dr. Steve Brule, refused to coast on their back catalog. Other than the presence of Brule and his long-running “Channel 5 News” partners Jan & Wayne Skylar, the only Awesome Show-related sketch was a revival of the Cinco Brothers, a forgettable late-season send-up of d-bag corporate shills.

After a delightfully corny opening set by DJ Douggpound – which included the greatest mash up of Lil Jon and Tim “The Tool Man” Taylor you’re ever bound to hear – Tim & Eric took the stage in khakis and hideous velour button-downs, thanking us for our support through song while cheap stock imagery of handshakes rotated behind them. The ridiculous, singsong celebration had the feel of a children’s concert, a sensibility that really never subsided. After pretending that they planned to improvise the whole show, and then pretending to botch these improvisations, the duo then sang a triumphant little ditty about how they tricked us all. Despite all the f-bombs and diarrhea sound effects, this sequence was both entrancingly preposterous and kinda sweet.

The set was long, but never felt that way, thanks in part to the Bedtime Stories sneak peek that broke up the proceedings during set changes. While still clearly a Tim & Eric creation, this show has a noticeably bigger budget than anything they’ve done, and the higher production values that make the weird stuff feel all the weirder. The Jason Schwartzman-starring episode they screened had a really disturbing ending, almost as disturbing as an earlier one where Bob Odenkirk plays a doctor who cuts off people toes.

A bigger reason that the show never lagged: Act Two was all Dr. Steve Brule. From the second he ran up the aisle from the back of the venue, out of breath and carrying a backpack of VHS tapes, Reilly completely inhabited his character – a very dumb, very lovable local health reporter in a shiny brown suit and unruly curls. On Awesome Show, Brule was basically there to deliver timeless one-liners (e.g. “If you’re raking the leaves and it gets all over your driveway, just hose it off, dummy!”). But over the course of three seasons of his spin-off, Check it Out, Reilly has evolved the character into somebody we root for, a guy who will never stop throwing himself out into the world, no matter how many times it makes him throw up.

Our emotional connection to Brule was solidified with his opening “slideshow,” entitled “Who Is Me?” We learned that he had a sister who died in a ferris wheel accident, that his mom made him wear a wig to high school, that he was “brullied” a lot. It was all delivered matter of factly, Reilly adding that defensive-yet-transparent “so what” tone to Brule’s voice that is both very funny, and more than a bit tender.

After an extended bit of crowd participation, where Brule had some folks do a “Human Treasure Hunt” in the audience and proceeded to beautifully mispronounce all their names, Tim & Eric returned to the stage in the guise of Jan and Wayne Skylar, whose ongoing love-triangle drama with Brule reached a hysterical climax. People broke into song; the sick walked again; Tim wore an amazing wedding dress that let his lower body breathe.

By the end, it looked like Dr. Steve Brule had found a bit of love. And as we laughed, we realized that we also cared.

Please Donate to Help Save PopMatters

PopMatters have been informed by our current technology and hosting provider that we have less than a month, until November 6, to move PopMatters off their service or we will be shut down. We are moving to WordPress and a new host, but we really need your help to save the site.





Peter Guralnick's 'Looking to Get Lost' Is an Ode to the Pleasures of Writing About Music

Peter Guralnick's homage to writing about music, 'Looking to Get Lost', shows how good music writing gets the music into the readers' head.


In Praise of the Artifice in George Cukor's 'Sylvia Scarlett'

George Cukor's gender-bending Sylvia Scarlett proposes a heroine who learns nothing from her cross-gendered ordeal.


The Cure: Ranking the Albums From 13 to 1

Just about every Cure album is worth picking up, and even those ranked lowest boast worthwhile moments. Here are their albums, spanning 29 years, presented from worst to best.


The 20 Best Episodes of 'Star Trek: The Original Series'

This is a timeless list of 20 thrilling Star Trek episodes that delight, excite, and entertain, all the while exploring the deepest aspects of the human condition and questioning our place in the universe.


The 20 Best Tom Petty Songs

With today's release of Tom Petty's Wildflowers & All the Rest (Deluxe Edition), we're revisiting Petty's 20 best songs.

Joshua M. Miller

The 11 Greatest Hits From "Greatest Hits" Compilations

It's one of the strangest pop microcosms in history: singles released exclusively from Greatest Hits compilations. We rounded 'em up and ranked 'em to find out what is truly the greatest Greatest Hit of all.


When Punk Got the Funk

As punks were looking for some potential pathways out of the cul-de-sacs of their limited soundscapes, they saw in funk a way to expand the punk palette without sacrificing either their ethos or idea(l)s.


20 Hits of the '80s You Might Not Have Known Are Covers

There were many hit cover versions in the '80s, some of well-known originals, and some that fans may be surprised are covers.


The Reign of Kindo Discuss Why We're Truly "Better Off Together"

The Reign of Kindo's Joseph Secchiaroli delves deep into their latest single and future plans, as well as how COVID-19 has affected not only the band but America as a whole.


Tommy Siegel's Comic 'I Hope This Helps' Pokes at Social Media Addiction

Jukebox the Ghost's Tommy Siegel discusses his "500 Comics in 500 Days" project, which is now a new book, I Hope This Helps.


Kimm Rogers' "Lie" Is an Unapologetically Political Tune (premiere)

San Diego's Kimm Rogers taps into frustration with truth-masking on "Lie". "What I found most frustrating was that no one would utter the word 'lie'."


50 Years Ago B.B. King's 'Indianola Mississippi Seeds' Retooled R&B

B.B. King's passion for bringing the blues to a wider audience is in full flower on the landmark album, Indianola Mississippi Seeds.


Filmmaker Marlon Riggs Knew That Silence = Death

In turning the camera on himself, even in his most vulnerable moments as a sick and dying man, filmmaker and activist Marlon Riggs demonstrated the futility of divorcing the personal from the political. These films are available now on OVID TV.


The Human Animal in Natural Labitat: A Brief Study of the Outcast

The secluded island trope in films such as Cast Away and television shows such as Lost gives culture a chance to examine and explain the human animal in pristine, lab like, habitat conditions. Here is what we discover about Homo sapiens.


Bad Wires Release a Monster of a Debut with 'Politics of Attraction'

Power trio Bad Wires' debut Politics of Attraction is a mix of punk attitude, 1990s New York City noise, and more than a dollop of metal.


'Waiting Out the Storm' with Jeremy Ivey

On Waiting Out the Storm, Jeremy Ivey apologizes for present society's destruction of the environment and wonders if racism still exists in the future and whether people still get high and have mental health issues.


Matt Berninger Takes the Mic Solo on 'Serpentine Prison'

Serpentine Prison gives the National's baritone crooner Matt Berninger a chance to shine in the spotlight, even if it doesn't push him into totally new territory.


MetalMatters: The Best New Heavy Metal Albums of September 2020

Oceans of Slumber thrive with their progressive doom, grind legends Napalm Death make an explosive return, and Anna von Hausswolff's ambient record are just some of September's highlights.

Collapse Expand Reviews

Collapse Expand Features

PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.