The New York Times today profiled Tim and Eric (Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim) in advance of tonight’s season 3 debut of Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job! on Adult Swim. Don’t know if I’d call it "Nightmare TV," but there certainly is a bizarre aesthetic to their approach to humor — I think their Absolut comedy comrade Zach Galifianakis helped me put them into perspective when he described what he loved about Tim and Eric, and that’s how they tap into their inner children. Essentially, these guys embrace their immature adolescent former selves in an uninhibited way, and that has an appeal, particularly to the Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim viewership of boys and men in their teens and early 20s. When they appeared on FOX’s Talk Show with Spike Feresten, Feresten introduced them as the voice of stoner comedy. That’s selling them a bit short. Not a lot, but a bit. It’s more accurate to put them in with a group of currently successful comedians who rely on acting like big kids, such as John C. Reilly (who collaborates with Tim and Eric) and Will Ferrell (see this weekend’s Step-Brothers in cinemas), as well as the stoner antics of Seth Rogen and Judd Apatow’s crew. Of everyone in this group, Tim and Eric take the most chances. Throwing pizzas and hot dogs into audiences may inspire some fandom, but it’s not exactly high comedy. Unless you’re high. And tonight’s episode includes such low-brow humor as a boy wondering how to fix his smelly penis. I’m also not as amused as they are at casting awful entertainers to play supporting roles solely for us to laugh at how awful they are. Nevertheless, I do appreciate their determination to mock convention.

You can judge for yourself by watching tonight’s season 3 debut. It’s on Adult Swim (Cartoon Network) at 12:30 a.m., and if you miss it then, or want to see it again, it’s online here in multiple parts. Watch Part 1 here. Watch Part 2 (featuring John C. Reilly in a panini-making infomercial) here. Clips after the jump!

UPDATED: The Village Voice posted a lengthy and informative interview with the boys on July 29. An excerpt, in which the boys try to describe their show…

Eric Wareheim: Dave Eggers called it a nightmare—like watching a real nightmare. Which I love. Sometimes you’re thrown into moments when you should not be there, and it’s
horrible. Tim and I love awkward moments; we love seeing people that should not be in front of a camera, that kind of sensation. Then we also like super-silly ball jokes every once in a while.

Tim Heidecker: I think that will be left to somebody years from now to put a name on it. We don’t really associate with very much else, except maybe some British shows.