Sadly, Comedy Central has decided to pass on The Chris Gethard Show. Rather than lash out on social media, Gethard wrote a fantastic, inspiring post on the show’s Tumblr page. We’re re-publishing it with permission. Watch TCGS on YouTube, follow Chris Gethard on Twitter and like the show on Facebook.
I got word about ten days ago that Comedy Central was going into high gear deciding if they wanted to air TCGS. This past weekend, I was in a sandwich shop in Toronto when I got a tough call – after much debate, Comedy Central have decided that TCGS is not for them.
Obviously this is a huge bummer, and there are a lot of feelings to sort out here. I’m sad it won’t be going down. I feel like I let my friends down. I’m definitely a bit shell-shocked – it’s been a crazy six months and I was pretty convinced for a moment there that it might actually happen.
Most of all though, I feel grateful.
I feel extremely grateful to Comedy Central for taking a chance on us in the first place, and most of all, for letting us do it our way. Anyone who was at the pilot will tell you that we did it in the exact voice we’ve spent years building. That’s the thing I’m most proud of. There wasn’t a moment when we at TCGS sat down and tried to figure out what they wanted to see. We only ever discussed how to translate what we usually do in a full hour down to a half an hour in a genuine way. And very much to their credit, Comedy Central allowed us to do that. They never once meddled creatively or tried to change what’s at the heart of what we do. I am extremely thrilled about the experience of working with them. Our show is out in the wild west of public access and it has that punk feel, and I think a lot of our fans worried that moving to a corporate environment would mean sacrificing the heart of our show. We never did that. They never asked us to. I am so thankful to them for taking a chance on us.
And in fact, no one on the creative side of development at TCGS did anything but fight hard for us. They really went to bat in a huge way. Apparently at the end of the day their marketing department thought we were too weird. We knew we were too weird. It happens. Marketing departments have been wary of shows much more traditional than hours many thousands of times since TV started. Marketing departments. Whatever. The creative people had our backs and I am indebted to them heavily for that
In fact, when it comes to Comedy Central, I want to be very clear on something – it would completely break my heart if I saw TCGS fans lashing out at Comedy Central online. I don’t want to see any tweets or Tumblr posts or whatever bashing them. Because we as a community should be THANKING them for helping us take it this far.
So please, if you have Twitter and you want to express anything, THANK Comedy Central for us. Use the hashtag #TCGSthanksCC when you message @ComedyCentral. I’m serious about this. The TCGS community has such a reputation for being warm and welcoming – that shouldn’t change now. Thank the people who put the spotlight on us. No bashing, nothing juvenile, just genuine thanks to people who put a national spotlight on our weird underground thing and allowed us to say “See? We’re not crazy. This thing is valid.”
So #TCGSthanksCC, and the thanks from the TCGS community towards them start with me, the CG of TCGS – thank you, Comedy Central. You did this the right way, you treated us kindly, you showed us respect, and I will never forget that.
(Also, my guess is that the Comedy Central social media people are a lot more progressive than a traditional marketing department, and when they see hundreds of tweets roll in from nice, enthusiastic, united people who are part of a pre-existing strong community that would absoLUTEly buy products from any company who advertised during this thing they love, they’ll be able to have a nice smirk and eye roll and say “Our marketing department is dumb.” 🙂 )
So where does this leave us? Further along then we were at this point last year, that’s for sure.
TCGS ain’t dead just yet.
The great thing about the position we’re in is that as people who have produced this thing independently, and who have built this community on our own, we have a lot more power than some other shows that go exclusively through a traditional development process. And the greatest thing we have, the greatest reflection of that power, is that we don’t have to go away now.
And we will not go away now.
TCGS will end not when someone drops an axe on us, but when we want it to end. We will bring it to its conclusion on our own terms, the same way we’ve done every other step of this process.
And the REALLY cool thing is that the dream of TCGS being on a bigger platform is still alive to an amazing degree. There are a number of networks who have already heard we’re back to being a free agent who have contacted us through back channels. It’s really cool to feel – there is life to this thing and there are options presenting themselves and that’s awesome.
And look, at the end of the day, Comedy Central has said “We don’t think this has a place on our network.’ And that might be true! I think Comedy Central is doing a ton of great stuff these days – Inside Amy Schumer, Kroll Show, Broad City, and Nathan For You all come to mind. I love it. But Comedy Central might just be a little too well lit for TCGS. It might not have the same renegade spirit that we have. And there’s a few other places that come to mind that maybe do have a little more of that kindred spirit, and maybe dwell in some darker or stranger places like we do, and it is going to be a really fascinating and fun thing to talk to these people about how we might fit in. (And, Comedy Central has funded a really great piece of tape we can show them that reflects how we’d spend a budget. 🙂 )
I also feel incredibly grateful to Funny or Die, Zack Galifianakis, Adam McKay, and Will Ferrell – those guys have had our backs so hard through this entire process. My guess is that a few networks already want to have a conversation about working with us. And a few more networks would love to be in business with those guys. I still feel in my gut like we are going to find a new home.
I feel most grateful to the cast, crew, and fans of TCGS (especially those who have been so vocal and supportive and have used social media to spread word on us and harass Comedy Central into picking us up. I saw all that stuff and was really flattered by it.) We keep surprising people. And as a community we’re at our best when we have something to fight for. The fight is officially back on. I won’t lie – since we’ve been back at MNN, things with the show have almost felt a little too comfortable, a little too cool – and cool has never been our thing. We’re officially not cool again – that’s our wheelhouse. Let’s get back to work.
We have lost this round. I think we lost the right way. Hold your heads up high, #TCGS community. We lost well.
PS – When I was in that sandwich show in Toronto, Bump and Grind was the song that was playing when I got the bad news. That’s the best. Also the next song that played was No One by Alicia Keys. Everything’s gonna be alright.