A Conversation with Chris Gethard

In the fourth season of the American Masters Podcast, we look at origin stories: we hear from guests who have created bold new works through an investigation of their personal history.

Last week, we were joined by stand-up favorite Chris Gethard, whose comedy special, Career Suicide, executive produced by Judd Apatow, invites a candid discussion around depression, anxiety, and suicide.  In the podcast, Gethard shares his rise to success, and reflects on his place in today’s comedy scene.

The Don’t Think Twice and Broad City actor shares stories of hope through his search for belonging, and in his conversation with producer of the American Masters Podcast, Joe Skinner, the comedian touches on the moments that helped him find his community.

On his three major projects he says:
“I look at The Gethard Show, which is so weird, and Career Suicide, which I poured so much work into, and Beautiful Anonymous and I think the thing they all have in common is that there is a real effort behind all of them to say you are not alone out there”

You’ll hear about the early moments in his career, when Gethard realized he was different from other comedians around him, and how he learned to capitalize on that difference.
“I did have to reconcile at a certain point that I had a pretty strange upbringing in some ways just some of the stuff I experienced was just stuff that you know in the suburbs for some reason I just I would have these stories where I would think they were normal upbringing stories and people go what are you talking about?”

He has used his anxiety as a tool to enhance, rather than hinder, his public performances:
“When I have a mic in my hand and everybody, therefore, is honor-bound to listen and I can get a roomful of people laughing, I always feel like on some level those people, are their laughter is saying to me ‘Oh we get it, we understand. We feel that way too.’”

And what inspires his performances:
“I’d rather connect with 200 people who identify with the idea of being earnest, or vulnerable, or sad at times, than a football field full of people who don’t. “

Listen to this episode of the American Masters Podcast now, and subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, or wherever you listen to podcasts! Also, tune in this Wednesday for a special bonus episode about artist Mark Rothko. Rothko’s children, Kate Rothko Prizel and Christopher Rothko, sat down with series executive producer Michael Kantor and director Eric Slade to discuss their father’s legacy.