You may be asking yourself, is this true? Can a single, 2 second moment in The Eric Andre Show really be more gripping than the battle of the bastards? More mind-boggling than anything on season 2 of Mr. Robot? More pleasing than crossover week on the CW? More straight-up fucky than Westworld? The answer is yes, yes it is. Just see for yourself.
Here it is in gif form so you can enjoy it on an endless loop.
It’s the most significant moment of TV this year for two different but specific reasons. The whole interview is gold. It starts off with Flavor Flav out-unsettling Eric Andre by talking about who knows what. Eric then asks if Flav considers Louis Farrakhan a racist anti-Semite who was responsible for the murder of Malcolm X. Eric and stage hands repeatedly try to grab Flav’s junk, so Flav wants to fist fight Eric. Eric responds by tearing apart his desk to reveal a bathtub, then disrobes completely naked to bathe. Flav gives an astonished “THAT MOTHERF—–R’S NOT JOKIN.” Then, out of completely nowhere, Hannibal gives a roundhouse right to Flav’s head.
Flavor Flav claimed the the kick was not real, that it was something added in during post in some curious tweets. It doesn’t matter if the kick was real or not, because the shock of it is the whole point. Yeah, watching the clip, it’s entirely possible they edited in Hannibal’s kick. The Eric Andre Show’s greatest strength lies in its ability to conjure moments that seem completely random, yet heavily rehearsed. Watch any interview he does, the energy is capable of going in any direction. He tapes each interview for about an hour and a half and then the editing team whittles them down to a 3 minute reel of insanity meant to combine Andre’s orchestrated anarchy upon his guests and the audience. The fact that Hannibal kicking Flav in the face may have been edited only enforces the moment as a distillation of Eric Andre’s whole sense of comedy.
But also, on a kind of more depressing note, it’s the most significant moment because the whole reaction to it encapsulates the landscape we live in, which is that facts don’t matter anymore. With Trump’s victory, we’re already calling our existence “post-factual” and tossing that term around like free pretzels. We live in a world where seemingly every facet is more concerned with being the loudest, with being first rather than being right. It’s especially prevalent in film criticism, and I suppose in most forms of cultural criticism right now. The landscape is saturated in “hot takes” and tweets substituting longform considerations. In a world where we get every bit of information instantaneously, in order to get your opinion out you have to play by those rules. Trump won for a lot of tragic reasons, but a lot of it was made possible by how he tapped into our culture of “tweet first, ask questions later” and provoking a reaction to supersede the issues. Facts don’t matter anymore, reactions do. It doesn’t matter if Hannibal actually kicked Flavor Flav in the face, what matters is that we believe he did. We saw it on television and on the news.