Chris Gethard calls The Chris Gethard Show (airing weekly on Manhattan public access) "a gang of weirdoes that hang out, take phone calls on way-too-personal topics, and execute crowd-sourced schemes . . . just because life should be more fun." It'll remind you of local TV at its high point in the '80s, when local nerkjobs could stir up a little what-the-fruit for an hour or two. And at the center of it all is Gethard — just a funny, amiable dude trying to keep it all from going (too) berserk. The Union Square Round Table (a comedy thing I'm largely responsible for; that's not bragging, it's "full disclosure") is bringing The Chris Gethard Show to the pool lounge at the Holiday Inn near Sullivan Square on January 19. That's why we're calling the show "The Chris Gethard Show at the Damn Pool."
On your show, you've been beaten with dildos while tied to a chair. What are some show ideas that got rejected? I once turned down an idea that Bananaman had where he wanted me to befriend a cow for a day, give it the best day of its life, then eventually we would slaughter and eat it on camera. I don't see how that's funny. He maintains it would be our greatest episode, but I think it sounds so weird and sadistic. [Also] I want to be crucified on the show, but all the other writers have thus far vetoed it at every turn. I often try to shoehorn my getting crucified into other episodes that have nothing to do with crucifixions.
Okay, so Bananaman. He's a character on the show. You're also bringing the Human Fish to the pool show. Who's he? The Human Fish is a half-fish/half-man creature I befriended right before our show began its run on public access. He doesn't yet have a mastery of the English language and spends most of his time trying to figure out if the world of men suits his lifestyle, or if he should return to the sea he emerged from about a year and a half ago.
Audience participation terrifies me, because people are monsters. But you're good at it. I love interaction and crowd participation more than anything. The longer I do comedy, the more I have really come to feel like my job is to connect with the crowd.
You have a lot deeply committed fans for someone who's still kind of underground. What do they have in common? Mostly, I think that the people who find our show see themselves as underdogs, they're happy to embrace the fact that they're weirdoes and losers. I think there are a lot of people who are getting tired of over-produced television, comedy that reeks of hipster-ism, and want something that feels totally accessible and like it's theirs. That's what I miss about TV from when I grew up — that feeling that things could still be local, that feeling early MTV had where it was not good, but it was lovable and honest. Some fans of the show have talked about moving to New York together to live in a commune. They want to start an actual religious cult with me as a figurehead. I'm super into the idea and hope they go through with it.
"The Chris Gethard Show at the Damn Pool." January 19 @ 9 pm :: Holiday Inn Boston-Somerville, 30 Washington St, Somerville :: SOLD OUT :: usrtchrisgethard.eventbrite.com
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