Love is such a strange and varied thing. Some people love their families and friends, some love money and success, but one thing is for certain, we all need something to love. On Valentine's Day, I spoke with Tim and Eric (Tom Goes to the Mayor, Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!, Timanderic.com ) about what love means to them and their February 26th appearance at The Knitting Factory
Did you guys plan on spending your Valentine’s doing all this promotional-type stuff?
Tim: I wish we had more promotional stuff, but you’re our only guest today.
Eric: In our minds, our most important guest today, I should say.
Tim: And Oprah later today.
What do you guys think of Valentine’s Day?
Tim: I don’t believe in it. I think you have to believe in true love first… then maybe you start believing in Valentine’s Day.
And is true love something that you’ve experienced?
Tim: No, well, Eric and I both don’t believe in it. We don’t believe that it can exist.
Eric: Not at all.
Tim: We believe in conditional love, and love for profit. But not an unconditional true love.
So under what conditions would you love then?
Tim: If it grants us success, or money.
Eric: Or web hits.
Tim: Well, that’s just another way of saying current of money. I should just say currency. We define currency in terms of web hits, mostly, but also in credits. Like online credits.
Eric: For an example, my biggest Valentine’s would be a call from our Webmaster saying, “You got around 600 unique visits to your site today.” That’s huge.
How else could you combine the Internet with Valentine's Day?
Tim: Well, I guess probably the biggest one is if you Valentine’s Google, you can get sent/someone can send you a Valentine card to your Myspace comment. And they can have like an animated GIF that would sparkle, and would say like, “Happy Valentine’s Day” on it, and it’ll be a heart. So if you Google that, there’s tons of cool animated GIF sites.
Eric: What else is also nice is animated lips that’ll make a smacking sound. Like, “I wish I could kiss you. Happy Valentine’s.”
Tim: You could embed that right into a Myspace comment, send it to all your friends or people you don’t even know that well.
Eric: There’s ways of getting that embedded HTML code, and just linking that right up to one of your Blogs, or someone else’s profile.
That sounds like the sort of thing that would be on an old Angelfire or Geocities site, did you guys have one of those?
Tim: Yeah, we're trying to get back into that. We’re into retro-web stuff, if you’re familiar with that concept. There’s a cool side of websites that people forgot about. Totally, Geocities is one of our favorite sites. We can go on there and just explore, creatively. You know, using web-design as a creative element.
Eric: It’s more going back to templates. One thing Geocities has is: "Alright, I want a checkered border." Or, "I want to pick travel," and there’ll be different cars and trains, and hot air balloons. And that’s the border of your website. It’s like art deco.
Outside of the Internet, you also have a podcast, and the television show. Are there any other mediums that you’re interested in conquering? Perhaps radio?
Tim: Well, we’re releasing an analog version of our website, that you can buy on our website for $3, and basically it’s a printed out version of the site. We have laptop technology which enables us to be mobile with our communication and our computers, but, let’s take it one step further, and make an analog version so you can print it out – not literally print it out, but get it sent to you – and then you can travel with it.
Eric: So if you don’t have wireless on your PDA or on your laptop, you just pull out our website, and it’s like a folder of papers.
Speaking of radio, you guys work with Tom Scharpling quite a bit. How’d you get involved with him?
Tim: We applied. He has an application process where if you want to be on his radio show, you have to fill out an application. We just kinda came up in the lottery with him.
Eric: Yeah, to be honest with you, we sent applications out to every radio show. We tried to limit the college/indie-kind of thing. Tom Likus, out in L.A., that’ll be a great place for us.
Tim: Our goal is to get on Tom Likus and to get on the Ryan Seacrest show out here. He has a morning radio show. He plays the kind of music we like, which is Top 40. And if you listen to his show, he’ll have big stars on. Sometimes they’ll call in to promote whatever movie they’re in or even if they’re just on a TV show. But apparently, the show we do doesn’t have the ratings to deserve us going on the Ryan Seacrest morning show, which sucks. Because the top goal, for us, right now, is to get on his show.
Eric: It’s highly political out here, and, a radio show like Tom Scharpling's is a step. It’s just a step in, not necessarily the direction we want to go in, but it’s getting some exposure out there for us.
So, would you settle then for Rachel Ray, or is that not good enough?
Eric: She’s awesome, and I would go on her show in a second. But we can’t even get her people calling us back.
Tim: Yeah, in other words, Eric’s a Tom Likus guy, I’m a Ryan Seacrest guy. And neither of them are calling us back.
Eric: They’re different styles, but if you check out their numbers and their demo, it’s just like right down the middle. It’s pretty cool stuff.
Rachel Ray was recently accused of making racist comments about Oprah. Did you hear about this?
Tim: Who was?
Eric: She has a cooking show.
Tim: That’s terrible.
Eric: Why would Oprah come up in her cooking show?
They were talking about how Rachel Ray said something about Oprah always running around in slave-garbs.
It seems like that could be done for promotion.
Eric: Oh, absolutely. Remember the Rosie O’Donnell scandal? With his hair, talking about his hair.
Tim: Eric, how would we forget that?
Eric: Oh, I know, I’m saying, you didn’t forget it, but I don’t know what Ben’s into.
What sort of outrageous lengths would you be willing to go to promote your endeavors?
Eric: I’ve frequently told the press that Tim’s died. And we just hired outside talent for his voice appearances and it’s all been extremely tough.
Tim: My son, Michael, has leukemia. And, you know, I think one thing the show can do is bring a little awareness to that. And if there’s an outreach program we can get involved with where – he’s not going to be with us much longer – but while he’s here, let’s make sure his dad has a successful, highly-rated, well-promoted show. Maybe that’ll help him beat the cancer. I don’t know.
Eric: Also, we’ve put on our website, several times, that we’re going to be on the Ryan Seacrest show next week, just in hopes that we’d actually get it that week. But we didn’t. But, what matters is when you Google Ryan Seacrest, you’ll go right to Timanderic.com, and in our news, it’ll say, “Next week Tim and Eric are going to appear on Ryan Seacrest.” So it brings in traffic. It’s a little white lie.
Tim: Well, in a very small-type font we write, “Hopefully…question mark?”
Do you think this tactic of making racist comments – do you think that’s maybe not the best route to go, in terms of promotion?
Tim: It doesn’t seem like a good idea. I mean, we always say, “Use children. Use cancer. Use celebrity. But, don’t use race.”
Eric: But you know, we haven’t seen the numbers on that yet. Let’s talk when we see Rachel Ray’s numbers next week, and if they skyrocketed, then that worked. You know, Tim and I – we’re not going to pull the race card – but we’ll talk about Tim’s dead son and that problem.
I wanted to know, you guys went to an art school?
Tim: Film school. Temple University. Hooty-hoo – Temple Owls.
Eric: It wasn’t an art school though, we have a Bachelor of Arts degree. But you might be confused because the Bachelor of Arts degree, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s an art school.
Tim: Not art like, a painting.
Eric: That’s just what they call the degree, because it’s a liberal arts school.
Did you go to a school with a lot of people that were say, very pretentious?
Tim: Uh, we went to a school with a lot of blacks. There were a lot of black people in our school. If that’s what you mean by pretentious, I don’t know.
Well, I guess the sort of people that would say, dismiss television as a medium of expression entirely.
Tim: Uhm, I wouldn’t say that was in any of our classes.
Eric: I don’t even understand what that means.
It seems like that’s a popular thing to do among artsy-types.
Tim: Oh, no, no. We all watch TV in college.
Of your college memories, how much of time would you say was dedicated to watching television?
Tim: Most of the time.
And did you ever see any live comedy?
Tim: No, the only live comedy we saw was when Bill Cosby gave our speech at graduation.
I know that both Paul F. Thompkins and Todd Glass are from Philadelphia. You never saw them while you were living in Philly?
Tim: No, we weren't allowed to.
Why was that?
Eric: Just part of the film program. It was just frowned upon to go see comedy.
Tim: Part of the Temple code.
How do you feel about the city of Philadelphia?
Tim: It’s small. You know, compared to other cities.
Eric: A little chubby, to be honest with you.
But would you say that you love Philadelphia?
Tim: Well, we don’t believe in love, unless it translates into a financial gain. If Philadelphia wants to give us 100,000 unique web hits today then, yes, we love Philadelphia for their web hits.
Eric: Yeah, if Philadelphia.com wants to link directly to our online store, we’d be happy to go on record to say, “We love the City of Brotherly Love.” But, we’re not going to go on the record for nothing.
Tim: It’s give and take.
But could you say that you love the new show that you did, or Tom Goes To The Mayor? Are those things that you love?
Tim: Yeah, sure, because it provides us with an income, and it has its own value.
Eric: It puts food on the table for us. And people say, “Oh, this is great. This is your dream show. You’re doing exactly what you want to do. Your unfiltered comedy.” You know, we gotta eat, we both have families and children. So, it’s important we get those paychecks, it’s important we get that repeat-traffic to our site, it’s important people buy our t-shirts and our calendars.
Tim: We’re not in this business to make anybody laugh, in other words. We’re in this business to make a buck.
Are you going to love the tour that you have coming up?
Tim: It will bring us financial success. So, yes, we love the tour.
Eric: You know what I’m going to love? The breakfast the next day, when we’re talking to our tour manager about how much money we made at the door. How many t-shirts did we sell? You know, what’s going to be a bummer is meeting our fans directly after the show.
And why is that?
Eric: “Oh hey, I love your show. It speaks directly to me, it’s so innovative, and creative.” Thanks a lot! Why don’t you buy a t-shirt on the way out? Let’s save this chat. Maybe Blog about this instead.
Tim: I’ll tell you right now, we’re getting some figures in. There’s a good chance, for example, the New York show, we might make $300 to $400 that night. Which is a lot of money.
Eric: Split that two ways, you’re looking at $150, $200 each.
Tim: If it’s $400, that would be $200 each. Which would be a lot of money for one day’s work. And it’s not even a full day. It’s like two hours.
Eric: Ten percent goes to agent, and we’re looking at anywhere from $140 to $180 take home, easy.
And what should people expect to see at the show?
Tim: Well, it’s a mix of live, musical, and sketch comedy.
Eric: We’re going to show some clips from The Awesome Show, our new TV show.
Tim: We’re going to show a lot of clips that people haven’t seen yet. And some special surprises from Tom Goes To The Mayor, as well.
Is there, perhaps, some sort of way that you can make a deal with your fans to make additional money?
Tim: We’re going to start a Michael’s Fund, which is a fund for my son. Some of it will go to him, but a lot of it will go to – since Eric is letting me do it, I gotta give him some, and then I’m gonna take a little bit off it. So if everybody comes in with $35, you know, $3 or $4 of that is going to go to Michael’s fund, and Eric and I split the rest, as profit.
Eric: We also proposed another idea for the live tour. Instead of coming to a venue and paying $12 to get in, we would sell DVDs for $10 of a pre-recorded concert. So, in L.A., we’d go to a studio and record the whole thing. And then instead of buying a ticket, you just get a DVD sent to your house of the live thing. That means that Tim and I don’t have to spend money on travel, and they get the show to take home. They don’t have to find a parking spot, and stand. You know, stand at a club – you know, some cities still allow smoking in clubs, if you can believe that.
Is that something you’re going to do?
Tim: Well, there’s a lot of legal hoops we that gotta to jump through to make that happen.
It seems like, if people don’t see your show or support you, they’re going to have to deal with knowing that they’re depriving Michael, of, I guess –
Eric: They’re depriving him of a chance to live. Which is a big deal.
Tim: It’s a big deal for me, for my wife.
Eric: It’s important.
What do you want to tell the people reading this interview, then?
Tim: I would say this: our doctor took me aside the other day and said, “If Michael doesn’t get that money from Michael’s Fund when you go on the road, I can’t see a way for him to live another six months.”
Eric: It’s as easy as this: if you want to save a child’s life, come to Tim and Eric’s Awesome Tour. That’s what you should be thinking when you’re buying tickets and shirts and stuff like that.
Tim: I looked at Eric, and I said, “Buddy, I need you to cut me a break on the forty percent out of Michael’s Fund you’re taking.” And he went down to thirty-five percent.
Eric: I did it for his son, you know?
I haven't seen Pay it Forward, but I know the gist of it: do three good things for three different people and they will do three good things for three different people and eventually your son will die. But if we follow Eric's example, we can make a difference in one person's life and no one has to get hurt. Please, buy tickets to see the Tim and Eric Awesome Tour at The Knitting Factory on the 26th of February.