The Chris Gethard Show calls it quits
After nine long years of pranks, punk, and general mayhem, the variety show for misfits with a dream finally called it quits. Earlier today, Chris Gethard announced in a Facebook post that The Chris Gethard Show would not be renewed for a second season on truTV, marking the end of an era in New York comedy.
…some executives from truTV sat me down a few weeks after this most recent batch of episodes and said, “We’re getting the sense from your final speech, and from some of our behind the scenes conversations, that you might be done with this project.”
I told them they were right.
So, it’s a mutual decision. We were after all, the lowest rated show on the network, something that I take no small amount of pride in. Anyone who knows me knows – if I’m not going to be number one, I see no sense in being number four, or number six. Let’s live on the extremes, either way. Point being, though, that it’s not like they were clamoring to have it back without changes. It was a fair and necessary conversation.
He goes on to note some tensions as the show moved forward on truTV:
…I think as an artist, I’ve been evolving too. But The Chris Gethard Show has not. I’ll be honest and say that when caught in debates with various parties about the best way for an episode to go off, I often found myself thinking things like, “Why are we in a fight about the best way for me to get throw into a dunk tank full of ice water? I’m 38 years old.” I would have fought tooth and nail to do a bit like that my way five years ago. Now? It doesn’t feel like the fights we/I should be having.
The Chris Gethard Show began as an off-the-walls variety show with a heavy focus on audience interaction and long-running inside jokes, many of which (such as P. Diddy’s open invitation to stop by the show via a “Diddy Door”) bore fruit over the course of years, creating a cult following that has only grown in time.
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After a two-year run at UCB, the show moved to the public access channel Manhattan Neighborhood Network, where it lived for four years and gained a reputation for not only being a home for NY’s weirdest comedians, like Conner O’Malley, Anthony Atamanuik, and Joe Pera, but also for hosting a damn good lineup of musicians, including Fucked Up, Jeff Rosenstock, Screaming Females, Ted Leo, and plenty of others. (The breadth of late-aughts punk bands and 90s oddballs that have performed on the show is truly impressive). Their reputation for off the wall antics and fantastic live music earned them spots at SXSW, Fest, and plenty of other national stages.
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In 2015, they made the transition to cable and spent two seasons on Fusion, which cut the format to a half hour and was pretaped, a major shakeup from their live, anything-could-happen vibe from MNN. But in 2017, the show moved to truTV, where it could be taped and broadcast live, though with a much broader reach than their original UCB days. The show continued to promote the brightest weirdos in New York comedy, with a writing staff which included Julio Torres and Jo Firestone, that would often go on to write for major network shows.
The Chris Gethard Show will be remembered by fans as a source of community, humor, and at times, therapy. Episodes like “The Genuine Sadness Episode” and “Loser Is The New Nerd” encouraged personal catharsis rarely seen in late night television, while episodes like “Ruin This Show,” if nothing else, gave a bunch of dispersed, lonely comedy nerds a chance to make an impact on something frivolous yet permanent. In the Facebook page for fans of the Show, GethHeads, fans have thanked Gethard and co for the community and support, with anecdotes about how the show helped them get through hard times, or meet new friends. The Chris Gethard Show, if nothing else, proved that good TV didn’t need to be glossy or polished, and that if you build it, the weirdos will come. The Chris Gethard Show is dead. Long live The Chris Gethard Show.