Adult Swim Comedy Duo Discusses Their Careers in Comedy and New Show

These questions: originally appeared on Quora: The best answer to any question. Ask a question, get a great answer. Learn from experts and get insider knowledge. You can follow Quora on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+.

Answers by Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim, comedy duo of Adult Swim and "Tim & Eric's Bedtime Stories", premiering next Friday, September 19th.



Tim: Eric and I have a new show on Adult Swim called "Tim & Eric's Bedtime Stories". Each week is a different short film, with different stories starring different people and different characters. They're all sort of from our sensibility, with a slant towards dark humor. A bit of what we like to call "nightmare television". Sort of like the old Twilight Zone anthology series - basically an opportunity for Eric and I to do whatever we want week to week.

We have such a great relationship at Adult Swim, and they're still open to let us do what we want. We didn't feel that we needed to settle in on a singular premise. We just have an open platform to tell stories, and that felt natural to us. That freedom was something that excited us.

Eric: Tim and I feel that the reason we're still making TV is because of the Internet and people sharing things on digital platforms. Even something like torrenting (which is not good) has helped a lot of young college students who don't have money for cable watch our show and share our clips on YouTube. It helps us gain popularity, which I think really helps us survive.

Tim: It's had a huge impact. It basically changes when and where people watch things. It makes it a little less important to be watching shows when they air. It's enabled people to share things more organically, and show their appreciation for something online.

Eric and I are grateful to still have the infrastructure of real television like Adult Swim, where there is real money to make things in a proper way. We are lucky to be able to make a living doing it and to be able to hire talented people. I think we're at this tipping point, where it's great that shows are out there on the Internet and people are able to see them, but you really do need that infrastructure to keep the industry going. It seems to be ok for now, but we're always in the back of our heads wondering how long that party is going to last.

Tim: Eric and I have great respect for individual voices and people that are using humor to express something unique and personal. There are a lot of great examples, whether it's Nathan Fielder or somebody like Andy Kaufman. Anyone that you immediately recognize as 'there's nobody else like that'; they have our respect and admiration. We always try to just be true to ourselves, express what we think is funny, and not try to mold or craft anything for a popular audience just for the sake of appeasing anybody.

We try not to repeat ourselves, or if we do repeat ourselves it's intentional and part of the joke. We're always trying to add something new. We don't want to just keep doing the same thing over and over again.

Eric: [We] take aspects of whatever we can and weave them into our work. If you come see our live show, it's not really a stand up show. When you watch all of our TV shows, a lot of people will say, "that's not really a TV show". When you watch our movies, it's not really a movie. We take little pieces of each aspect of comedy and weave it into what feels right for us.

Eric: I would say nightmare jobs. I used to work at McDonald's - being around the most horrifying situations in life is kind of where Tim and I come from. We poke fun at the horror of life and the absurdity of what you have to go through to do certain things. I think those things will give you all the resources you need to make jokes and formulate comedic ideas.

Tim: Eric and I were both in film school together and not necessarily thinking of ourselves as comedians, but we loved comedy and making really weird stuff. We started making stuff together that had a humorous tone to it, but we didn't really consider it comedy necessarily. At the time there wasn't very much much like that out there, but we found Adult Swim, which was doing the same kind of thing - absurdism, but not really your traditional style comedy. They came along at the right time for us.

Eric: [We] have produced a lot of TV shows, like Nathan's "For You" and "The Eric Andre Show". These shows each have a unique voice, their own style, different look and come from a different place. People respond to that. People want new things that make them laugh. That's what we do for Tim & Eric. It comes from a very personal place. Its jokes that we think are funny, and I think people see that it's not like all the other bullshit that's regurgitated humor. It's something new, refreshing, interesting, fun, and funny. That's the key.

Tim: There's definitely more voices now than ever before. More content - there's a shitload of content. I think everybody thinks they're really funny and clever and cute. We're getting a little older, and I'm sure there's something else coming along that's going to be much weirder and more abstract than us that will make us feel like the old guys in the room. I think that's natural and there's always something to laugh about.

Tim: From mine and Eric's little corner of the comedy town, we've seen our styles become incorporated into mainstream advertising. That's the clearest place you see it, where it's not too hard to draw a line from our show to the 25-year-old ad copyrighters and creative directors at advertising companies who are watching our stuff and making stuff that feels and looks like it.

Sometimes, we jump on and direct some of those ourselves (because we have mortgages). It's not something that we're necessarily proud of (to have influenced a chewing gum commercial or something), but it's natural that creative people look for sources of inspiration all over the place. I think we've established a style that's gotten sort of re-appropriated for actual legitimate advertising, which is kind of weird because everything we've done has been a satirization of that world.

Eric: Personally, I like doing all of them. I think Tim and I are very lucky that we get to play in all the different creative playgrounds, that's what makes it so fun. If I had to pick one, I would say directing, because you're in full control of the whole vision. To be directors, to be able to direct our own show, for me it's the highlight of our career.

More questions on Quora: