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Andy Richter Controls the Universe is a sitcom which aired from 2002-2003 on the Fox network. The series was Andy Richter's first starring role after leaving Late Night with Conan O'Brien in 2000.

It ran for two seasons, totalling 19 episodes, and was cancelled due in part to poor ratings. Victor Fresco later reworked it into his current series, Better Off Ted.


The surnames of the characters are very rarely mentioned - with the exception of Andy, most are only once in the entire series.

Andy Richter

The character, sharing his name with the actor, was an aspiring writer living in Chicagomarker who wanted to write short stories. However, he was forced to work as a technical manual writer for Pickering Industries, the fifth largest company in America, to pay the bills. Andy was shy and not good with women. He didn't really want to be working at the company, though he was very good at his job.

Jessica Green

Played by Paget Brewster, Jessica worked with Andy for years before she became the head of Andy's department, and thus, his boss. They tried dating once, but it didn't work out. She often had to act as an intermediary between her superiors, and Andy and his co-workers, forcing her to take sides. She is fairly superficial when it comes to men.


Played by James Patrick Stuart, Keith was a friend and co-worker of Andy's, and one usually stuck up for the other. He was the handsome guy in the office who had things handed to him because he's good-looking.

Wendy McKay

Played by Irene Molloy, Wendy was the receptionist at Andy's office. As of the pilot, she had only been working there a month. Andy was attracted to her, but found out that since he had not made a move in a month, Keith had started dating her.

Byron Togler

Played by Jonathan Slavin, Byron was a new illustrator who moved into Andy's office, which caused Andy annoyance in the pilot episode. Byron was fairly insecure and shy.

Other characters

Pickering Industries was founded by Mr. Pickering (John Bliss) in 1880. Despite being over 170 years old, and dead, he appeared in numerous episodes and had discussions with Andy within his imagination. His viewpoints were typically antiquated and contrary to political correctness to an extreme degree. His comments often seemed to represent a negative aspect of Andy's mind, such as guilt, or self-doubt.

Teak (Charlie Finn) and Phil (Sean Gunn) lived in the same building as Andy and were in the same fraternity as him (but ten years later). As such, they looked up to him.

Guest appearances

Conan O'Brien appeared on his former sidekick and current Tonight Show announcer's show as Pickering's new CEO in the episode "Crazy in Rio." Other stars to have a guest role include Cedric Yarbrough, Jon Cryer, Molly Sims, Lola Glaudini and June Lockhart, who played Andy's grandmother.


The series' plots were fairly typical of sitcoms with Andy getting himself into a situation and having to find a solution. The unique aspects were several unusual devices that defined the show.

First was Richter's voiceover which essentially narrated the plot, as well as Andy's thought processes in each episode. Secondly, and connected to the first was Andy's imagination, which was presented onscreen as if it were reality until it was revealed in a smash cut accompanied by the sound of rewinding audio tape. This is often used to demonstrate alternatives to what actually happened for a given event.

A theme of the show which uses these techniques was its original working title, Anything Can Happen; a thought which Richter imparts to the audience in the narration of the opening teaser of the series premiere.


Although canceled after two mid-season runs (totaling 19 episodes), reruns currently air on HDNet. It was also shown on the Paramount Comedy Channel, the Irishmarker Network TV3 and on the Polish edition of Comedy Central.

The show was a co-production of Paramount Television and 20th Century Fox Television.

The outside shots of Andy's office are taken from the Duke & Duke building from Trading Places.


DVD release

On March 24, 2009, CBS Home Entertainment (distributed by Paramount) released all 19 episodes of Andy Richter Controls the Universe on DVD in Region 1. [31096]

20th Century Fox Home Entertainment holds the international DVD rights, but has yet to make a release anywhere.

DVD Name Ep # Release Date Additional Information

Andy Richter Controls the Universe: The Complete Series 19 March 24, 2009
  • Audio commentaries
  • How Andy Richter Controlled the Universe featurette
  • What if Andy Richter Controlled the Universe featurette


All music from the show was written by Greg Burns, Jeff Burns, and Brian Kirk. The theme song is sung by Jason Cropper, the original guitarist for Weezer. The song was written for the show, and there is not a full version beyond the short clip in the beginning. However, a slightly longer version of the song is evident on the pilot episode.

International Broadcasters

Country Channel Broadcast dates Timeslot
Nine Network 2003-2004 Tuesdays at 2.30am
Comedy Central Polska 2009- ?

See also


External links

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