Oddball ‘Chris Gethard’ Show Live Again

Chris-Gethard-Show-When it moved from public access TV to cable on Fusion a year or so ago, it also went from a live, anything-goes comedy talk show to one that was taped and a bit edited. Now, with its move to a new network for its third season, “The Chris Gethard Show” (truTV, 11 p.m.) is returning to its live roots, filling a Brooklyn studio with its crazy recurring characters, rabid fans and a surprising array of guest stars willing to take part in their silliness (from Jon Hamm to Diddy).

The move will also allow them to take calls live from viewers, to answer trivia contests or to comment on how the episode is going.

Though Gethard has just come off a well-received HBO standup special, he seemed excited to even be at the TV Critics Association summer press tour to promote the show.

“We were just psyched that they flew us here and paid for it legit,” he marveled. “We were in the green room. They had an omelet station. We were like, whoa.”

“One thing I’ve always said about our show is I want us to go big,” Gethard said. “I really want it to be great. I try so hard to make it great. I have a real chip on my shoulder. If it isn’t great, I want it to be a complete train wreck. That, I think, is very watchable television. What I don’t want is anything middle ground.”

To prove it, he brought his co-host Shannon O’Neill, who, like him, is a grad of the Upstanding Citizens Brigade, along with their announcer Murph and a guy in a Hawaiian shirt in character called Vacation Jason.

I asked him how his old fans would adjust to the cable TV upgrade and he knew what I was talking about.

“You know, coming from public access, and also we have a lot of roots in the punk rock scene, and the whole Brooklyn DIY scene was very embracing of our show. So there is always the sellout aspect.

“Some people do say you guys are selling out. I feel like at the end of the day, I own up to it. We are selling out. We’ve advanced from public access to Fusion to truTV. Like, those are clearly steps towards a bigger platform, more commercial platforms.

“At the end of the day, sure, we’re selling out, but I think one of the things that I think the fans really appreciate is that we put our money where our mouth is. I think we just really do commit we’re going to do it our way.

“If it doesn’t go well, we’ll thank them for their time and the opportunity. We’ll be on our way. Like, after doing it for eight years, it’s like if it fails, it fails. That gives us a lot of freedom to just really try to take some big swings.”

 

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