The untold truth of Tim & Eric

Comedy duo Tim and Eric generally drum up controversy simply because their comedy is so bizarre, it flies right over the head of your typical stand-up connoisseur. But the lives of Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim have taken some strange turns, and their various TV projects have made plenty of people genuinely irate for many a reason, such as in the following stories.

Taking advantage of the disadvantaged

During the run of their Adult Swim show, Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!, the most common allegation made by viewers and critics, was that the duo took advantage of the mentally handicapped when casting their surrealist skits. While much of the show's comedy relies on the unusual personalities of amateur actors, only one of their stable of repeat guests has ever said anything about not being treated professionally. Alien-enthusiast and puppeteer David Liebe Hart has occasionally accused Tim and Eric of neither paying him enough nor taking him on their national tours, but those allegations were dropped pretty quickly when Hart became a regular on Tim and Eric's Check It Out! With Dr. Steve Brule.

The duo do admit to an unusual casting process, saying, "We dig through to the bottom of the pile [of headshots] and find them, then give them lots of lines."

That time they had a kid creepily interact with a creepy character

The fifth season of Awesome Show explored some pretty dark comedic territory, and on at least one occasion, Tim and Eric got into some trouble for it. A sketch called "Dream Cream" cast a young boy to attend a dream-sequence barbecue with Pierre, a recurring character who is really into barbecued meat and meeting your dad. Yes, your dad. During a questionable scene, the kid eats hot dogs and turkey legs out of Pierre's hands, which made the kid's parents very uncomfortable. The episode only aired once before the parents complained, forcing the show to replace the kid with an animated figure instead. During their first Reddit AMA, Tim and Eric said that it was just easier to make the change than to hurt anyone.

Sundance fury

It's not just parents that have been upset with Tim and Eric, but entire audiences at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival reportedly walked out during a screening of Tim and Eric's Billion Dollar Movie, according to Entertainment Weekly. At least one-third of the audience left the film, and the remaining members were apparently hostile, accusing the filmmakers of taking drugs, or genuinely trying to upset paying audiences. Tim and Eric fired right back, however, and the film went on to score a respectable 37% on Rotten Tomatoes; a solid score for a movie that was intentionally unwatchable.

The possible plagiarism of Tiny Hats

Weird as they are, Tim and Eric have garnered the attention of mainstream comedy shows like Saturday Night Live, making Will Forte, Will Ferrell, and Fred Armisen all recurring cast members. Because of their unofficial associations with SNL, it's not too surprising that, in 2012, the long-running sketch show was accused of stealing a popular Awesome Show! sketch concerning tiny hats. While Heidecker himself wasn't upset, he called the incident "very interesting," and that he looked forward to seeing the repercussions on the internet.

Go with the Flo

Even if you don't recognize Tim and Eric themselves, they do regularly work with a face you have to recognize: Flo from Progressive Insurance. Before she started grinning maniacally for Progressive, actress Stephanie Courtney provided the monstrous voice of Joy Peters, the oppressive and cruel wife of Tom Peters, the titular character in Tom Goes to the Mayor. She would also appear as a music video dancer in the same show, a casting director in Awesome Show!, and even followed the duo when they made an appearance on The Simpsons, backup singing about food blogs during Tim and Eric's rap … which they also wrote.

John C. Reilly is just as strange

One of the duo's most popular characters is Dr. Steve Brule, played amazingly by John C. Reilly. The good doctor is so popular, even viewers who despise Tim and Eric can appreciate Brule's off-kilter exploration of modern life. After many appearances on Awesome Show, Dr. Brule got a spinoff and was invited to do a ton of alt-comedy interviews. The only problem is that Reilly outright refuses to answer any questions about the character, instead representing himself as a mere acquaintance of Brule, in order to maintain the goofy mystery about Steve. We'll probably never know the influences that helped create the character, and Reilly's refusal to disclose a single idea makes him that much stranger.

That time Eric dated a much younger woman

Fans of 2010-era MTV may remember a two-season, faux-reality, pseudo-nerd show called My Life as Liz, starring high schooler Liz Lee as she ventured off to college from small-town Texas. Not long after the show was dropped in 2013, 22-year old Lee was spotted just about everywhere with 37-year old Eric Wareheim. While the relationship didn't seem to last long, both MTV-hungry teens and Tim and Eric devotees savagely criticized the relationship for the huge age disparity between the two.

Tim's secret life

It's not that Tim Heidecker is hiding any deep dark secrets (probably), but he only recently revealed that he has a wife and child — a big surprise to his legions of fans. While Vice made brief mention of this back in 2013, the full revelation came in the lyrics of his most recent album, In Glendale, a serious soft-rock album about his life in California.

Previous Heidecker albums have been exclusively about bodily excretions, Herman Cain campaign songs, or parodies of basically everything else, so In Glendale's honesty came as a shock — many fans still aren't sure about what it all means, especially since Heidecker usually maintains an Andy Kaufman-like wall of inauthenticity about him.`

Tim was his neighbor

The only other time that Heidecker has been truly, and obviously, honest about his actual life was when he was almost killed in 2006. In both his now-defunct personal blog, and a later "live storytelling session," Tim mapped out the deadly assault, made by a neighbor's son while he was evidently high on pot laced with PCP, and included some pretty gory photos of where he was knifed twice in the shoulder. After being stabbed and making a sprint through the streets, Heidecker ran into a bar for assistance, where the assailant was tackled by a group of patrons.