In a note on Facebook, Gethard said that he and the show’s network, truTV, came to a “mutual decision” to end the program. The Chris Gethard Show was the lowest rated program on truTV – “Something that I take no small amount of pride in,” Gethard cracked – but the comedian added that he’d been having his own misgivings about continuing the show.
“I write this with a strange mix of emotions: sadness, worry, uncertainty, but also pride, excitement, and relief,” Gethard said. “TCGS has been the defining aspect of my life since 2009. I met my wife through the show. I’ve met my best friends through the show. My career has grown and solidified all because of the work I’ve put into the show, the reputation I’ve built through it, and the things I’ve proved I’m capable of via it.”
TCGS began as a live production at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater in New York City in 2009, and in 2011 it debuted on the public-access channel Manhattan Neighborhood Network. The show’s earliest incarnation was a surreal, slapdash take on the talkshow format, mixing improv and sketch comedy, pre-recorded videos, panel discussions, celebrity guests, viewer questions, call-ins and musical performances. TCGS quickly garnered a devoted cult following, and in 2015 it left public-access for the cable network Fusion, then arrived on truTV in 2017.
Though the move to cable tamped down some of the show’s more delirious elements, TCGS remained an outsider favorite, and Gethard acknowledged that improving its ratings would’ve likely meant changing the very nature of the show.
“If we moved forward, I don’t know that the episodes would have been totally ours anymore, and I know for a fact our dedicated fans would not want that,” he said. “There’s no way around it – despite how proud I am of every episode we’ve done, it wasn’t getting numbers. I don’t know why. We were always a little too weird, or a little too ahead of our time.”
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Gethard admitted the growing tension over the show’s direction boiled over while filming the last batch of episodes, causing him to have a panic attack. “That was when it started to dawn on me that this project had taken some turns where the pressure was at times outweighing the fun – and this show is too important to me to ever let that be the case,” he said.
The core issue, Gethard said, was that he felt that TCGS had reached its limits, while he was still evolving as an artist. He cited Howard Stern as an inspiration, noting the myriad ways the radio host had transformed throughout his career. While Gethard said he wasn’t sure what his next project would be, he said, “It’s terrifying and exciting and what being an artist is really about. I can’t wait.”