An original, cutting-edge comedy program with a NYC-specific brand of weirdness, “The Chris Gethard Show” has been picked up by Fusion for 10 half-hour long episodes. The network has also acquired the rights to 20 episodes previously shown on the Manhattan Neighborhood Network. In conjunction with Fusion, the show is also being produced by Funny or Die.
If you’ve never heard of “The Chris Gethard Show,” you should head over to its YouTube channel and become acquainted immediately. Accurately described on its website as “the most bizarre and oftentimes saddest talk show in New York City,” the hilarious and mostly improvised show is hosted by comedian Chris Gethard. Beginning its run at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater in 2009, the show quickly gained popularity, along with some publicity after a successful campaign to get Sean ‘P Diddy’ Combs to appear as a guest on the show — in 2011, the show moved from UCB to public access on the Manhattan Neighborhood Network.
Unlike anything else on TV, “The Chris Gethard Show” features a panel of some of UCB’s funniest performers, DIY bands and featured guests (such as Amy Poehler, Zach Galifianakis, and members of Sleater Kinney), along with strange characters like The Human Fish, played by David Bluvband. Amongst the comedians and characters is a “Random” — a random person with no association to the show that sits on the panel for 15 weeks at a time. Who is the current “Random”? It’s a pug named Frodo.
The highly interactive show also gives viewers the opportunity to call in, participate and contribute their weird, funny and sometimes heartfelt thoughts. On MNN, the show quickly grew a cult-like following, becoming especially popular amongst comedy nerds and confused teenagers. The reason for the show’s intense fan following may be attributed in part to Gethard’s openness with his fans about his personal life, including his dealings with bipolar disorder.
This April, “The Chris Gethard Show” will make its national television debut on Fusion for a 10-week season. The show will also be executive produced by Will Ferrell, Zach Galifianakis, Owen Burke, Adam McKay and Chris Gethard. Home of comedian Paul F. Tompkins’ “No, You Shut Up,” Fusion (normally a political channel) has inexplicably become the go-to place for weird, original comedy.
Even though “The Chris Gethard Show” is gaining a broader platform, Gethard plans on continuing the bizarre, heartfelt and punk-rock spirit of the show. On Twitter, Gethard wrote to his fans, “Watch your backs in April. I have no intention of playing by the rules. We are breaking jaws. We will make something that either fulfills every promise I’ve made, or a LEGENDARY DISASTER.”
In a statement from Fusion’s website, Fusion Chief Programming Officer Wade Beckett said, “Chris Gethard’s brand of comedy is unlike anything else out there, but his authenticity and charm have made him one of the best-kept secrets in comedy circles for years. The best comedians make their audience feel invested in and a part of the live experience, and there’s no one who does that better these days than Chris Gethard. We can’t wait for Fusion’s audience to meet and experience the Chris we know and love.”
Along with 10 original half-hour episodes, Fusion has also picked up broadcasting rights to 20 previous episodes of the program that aired on the Manhattan Neighborhood Network.
“For five years, we’ve been building this odd interactive thing called ‘The Chris Gethard Show’ in the murky underground world of public access. I’ve been saying for years that we just need a chance to do it right. Fusion is taking that chance on us and our plan is to step up, put in the work, and connect with our viewers in a deep and real way, in order to make them look like geniuses for getting in the trenches with us,” said Gethard in a prepared statement.
“We’re also going to sweep the Emmys. Sweep. We plan on winning all the Emmys.”