The Chris Gethard Show, which returns to truTV tonight, has gone through many iterations over the years as it's moved from the comedy theater stage to public access TV to basic cable. But there are constants: the unpredictable segments (e.g., throwing paint at a man in his underwear), an inclusive ethos (celebrating audience members' body oddities), and its genial, low-status, self-doubting host. "The guy who the show is named after is the guy who's most often living in fear and shame," Gethard said in a phone interview. "That to me is funny. I like that as an art piece."
Gethard and I met nearly 20 years ago when we improvised together at the UCB Theatre in New York. Since then, he's developed into one of that theater's star improvisers on the flagship team the Stepfathers, and, in addition to his show, has gone on to write a book of essays, A Bad Idea I'm About to Do, and perform his emotionally raw standup in the Judd Apatow-produced HBO special Career Suicide, in which he speaks honestly about his struggles with depression.