Tyler The Creator Mass Appeal


Below is an excerpt from one of our three cover stories from Mass Appeal Issue 55, featuring Eric André and Tyler, The Creator. To read the full interview, subscribe to the magazine.

Words by Gabriel Alvarez Photos by Chris McPherson

It feels like every discarded piece of outdated technological equipment within a 100-mile radius has been dumped here at the salvage yard behind the giant, packed-to-the-gills Apex Electronics store. Ancient computers, VCRs, equalizers, and busted-down cameras from NBC Studios Burbank are piled together forming a maze of junk that would make the late, great Fred Sanford’s head spin. Hell, there’s even an abandoned Lockheed fuselage in there somewhere. Walking around this labyrinth of capacitors, circuit breakers, and transistors one could easily get lost the way Jack Nicholson did at the end of The Shining.

But it’s far from winter today here in Sun Valley, CA. In fact, it’s hot as hell. Not exactly the ideal temperature to slip into a mechanic’s uniform and start wrecking shit, like Tyler, The Creator and Eric Andre are about to do. But the show must go on (or as they say in the porn biz: the bukkake never stops), so Tyler picks up a sledgehammer and smashes a wooden speaker to bits. Less than a hundred yards away, Eric destroys an old school television with the zeal of a meth-addicted metal god.

Of course, both these guys have been demolishing shit on their respective Adult Swim programs for the past few years. Odd Future’s Loiter Squad just completed its third season, and The Eric Andre Show is set to kick off Season 3 this fall. Both series lampoon the tired medium of TV, kicking it in its collective ass in never boring, nauseatingly funny 10-minute episodes filled with stunts and sick-ass sketches. Loiter Squad takes the channel-surfing approach, making fun of everything from Reality TV (Earl Sweatshirt as Joe Budden was a particular highlight of last season) to classic shows like COPS (re-imagined as Po-Po), and fake commercials starring Jasper Dolphin’s dad. Eric Andre’s show (co-hosted by the cool-as-a-polar-bear’s-toenails Hannibal Buress) tackles the talk-show format, subverting it beautifully with intentionally awkward and often chaotic action. Each show opens with a hilarious explosion of adrenaline and potential injuries as Eric literally decimates the set, crashing through desks, walls, and even his band’s drummer, before welcoming often clueless guests like the O.G. Hulk Lou Ferrigno, who was pushed to the edge of violence when a wimpy guy painted green appeared on stage and sat uncomfortably close to him. We could go and on— but you’ve got the Internet. Check that shit out if you still haven’t.

Tyler is pretty much the same gravelly-voiced guy you’d expect him to be: boisterous, loud, and cracking endless jokes. He will tell you he hates rap and prefers jazz fusion and bossa nova. On this particular day, he talked about his dick to anyone who would listen, but he was a polite dude who introduced himself personally to everyone. He also puked during the interview— but more on that later.

Eric is as laid back as you’d imagine. Like all good comedians, it’s not always what he says, but how he says it that’s funny. Don’t get it misconstrued, the man says hilarious things, and he says them often. By the way, this guy deserves eight Emmys just for the bit he did on his show when he rolled up on some Tea Party fools and handed them Confederate flags and KKK hoods— easily one of the greatest moments in the history of television. But on this Saturday, he was just chill. He seemed to shy away from personal questions, later saying he felt like a narcissist talking so much about himself and his views on life.

The interview that the civilized world and Florida has eagerly anticipated took place all throughout the junkyard. Early on, a forklift full of scrapheap coming at us forced the conversation out onto the street, where Eric had to dodge moving trucks while answering (or dodging) questions. Things finally settled down when we sat on the dirty curb to converse like vagabonds.


Mass Appeal: How did you guys meet?

Eric Andre: On fuckin’ Tinder. On Grindr.

Tyler: Nah, it was a Craigslist ad. I was lookin’ for various bowls and stuff because I’m a soup maker.

EA: He was makin’ a good gazpacho and then we linked up.

Did you guys always want your own TV shows?

T: Nah, I wanted to score fuckin’ soft-core porn to be 100% honest. Then the opportunity came [to do TV] and they allowed us to do that shit.

How ‘bout you, Eric?

EA: Same answer, actually. Verbatim.

So are we talkin’ Skinemax?

EA: Yeah, selfie masturbation porn.

T: The HBO ones, man. The ones that you can’t even jack off to are the best.

EA: Yeah, clothing on. Jerking off through my pants. Sad, just cryin’ my eyes out.

How much improvising do you do on your shows?

T: For the most part, all of it is really improvising. We just set up a premise and then it’s like, “Alright, you’re a teacher who just found out you don’t have a leg. Go!” And then we film it.

EA: That’s the stuff that you use. The stuff you write is bland. It’s just the jumping-off point. I interviewed him [on Season 3], and we didn’t even fuckin’ talk for the first 15 minutes. [Laughter]. You can’t write that down, and that’s the best shit. We didn’t say more than a few sentences to each other and we shot for 45 minutes.

T: Yeah, that shit was sick.

Why did you pick the talk-show format?

EA: I liked Space Ghost.

Can you talk about the new season?

EA: Yeah, we got Chris Rock on. We got Jimmy Kimmel, we got Seth Rogen. Wiz Khalifa. We got Tyler on. [Burps] We got Trash Talk on, Mac DeMarco, Action Bronson, Killer Mike, Lil Jon. We got a lot of great guests this year.

Let’s talk about music. Eric, you have a musical background.

EA: I went to a music school in Boston.

T: Oh shit, I know what fuckin’ school that is. I lied to my mom and told her that was where I was applying to go to school at.

EA: [Laughs] It sucked. You made the right choice by not going there.

What’s it like?

EA: I went for upright bass, and if you ever want to waste $120,000, get a degree in upright bass playing for four years. You’re like, “Damn, I got $120 grand to waste. I want to be in debt with my student loans for fuckin’ 15 years. I better get a degree in upright bass playing.” But when I was 18 years old I was stupid.

Tyler, you’ve never taken any musical classes have you?

T: Nah.

EA: That’s the thing. The most successful musicians didn’t take a single class of music school. If anybody is thinking about going to music school, don’t go— if you want to be successful.

You’ve also taken The Eric Andre Show on tour and performed it live. What do you get out that?

EA: An erection. [Laughter] I’m crushing these answers, man.

When it comes to humor is there a line that you shouldn’t cross?

EA: No. Say whatever the fuck you want. I guess. As long as it’s funny, right? Gotta comment on society.

T: Nah, humor is relative. I find humor in everything. But some people don’t and then they cry about it, and then go on the Internet and then everyone else pretends to be mad. And then the people who have a lot of money invested in you can say, “Fuck you, I don’t want them hatin’ me, so I’m pullin’ back and kickin’ you off my fuckin’ channel.” You have to be very conscious of shit like that so you don’t fuck yourself.


To read our full interview with Tyler, The Creator and Eric André, subscribe to the magazine. And if you haven’t checked out the behind-the-scenes footage from the photo shoot for the cover, DO IT!

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