Have you seen "One Man's Trash?"
It's a question I ask a lot and that's because it's probably my favorite 43 minutes of live television ever. Moreover, it's something I seemingly re-watch every few months and I have done this for years now. Why do I do this?
If you've never seen it. Trust me. You won't be sorry. Just take just a little bit of time and go and watch it for yourself. It's right here on youtube. And then come back.
I'm not going to spoil it (we can do that in the comments), but I think the reason why I keep coming back to it is to feel that ENERGY of the show. It's something so indescribable. It's like this amazing high of delirious comic intensity meeting with perfect guests and perfect luck. The episode is even something that keeps working better and better when you KNOW the secret and that tells you so much of what makes it special, beyond surprise itself.
It's also always why I loved The Chris Gethard Show.
If you never heard of it, it started in 2011 as this LIVE New York Cable access show that had actual LIVE calls. But it basically turned into this comedic mini-carnival every week, full of expansive characters and so many before they were famous comic guests (Mulaney, Ilana Glazer, etc). It was genuinely delirious to behold. Sometimes even a disaster. But it grew and grew in popularity and soon became a show on Fusion then TruTV.
The thing that's amazing about it is that it really was LIVE. Which means things went wrong all the time. Or things just wouldn't work. But they were always aiming for home runs with these crazy ideas and were up for just about anything. They played truth or dare, they talked about insanely personal things, they made random friends, and had sandwich nights. They did an episode that was purposefully not funny. There was one episode where they tried sleep deprivation and they were basically losing their minds on camera. There was an episode that was JUST FOR DOGS (as the intended audience and I'm not joking). It was all flying by the seat of its pants.
But the real thing is that it was always open hearted in that process. The real reason it always felt like such "good vibes" is because nothing about those vibes were forced. Instead, it was about totally accepting of bad vibes and incredible awkwardness. In doing so, it became a home for so much weirdness. Moreover, Chris became a figure who was so open about depression, mental health, suicide, and so much more. It's that wasn't just live, but felt ALIVE. Meaning it was a show that wasn't afraid to run the gamut of life. And I think it's why the loyal community gravitated so hard to it.
A lot of TCGS can be found on HBO max and so much of it on that same youtube channel linked above (check the playlists which include the full cable access archives) Even now, Chris is still doing other work, including comedy specials and podcasts (beautiful / anonymous is fantastic). But the amazing thing about TCGS is that it spawned this whole world of amazing people that ran alongside it. Like UCB's Planet Scum live shows with Shannon O'Neill, and they are now all doing some of my amazing stuff in the pandemic (most of it can be found here - my favorite includes "The George Lucas Talk Show," from alums Connor Ratliff, Griffin Newman, and Patrick Cotnoir - and yes, it is this amazing show where Ratliff interviews guests while pretending to BE George Lucas (and yes, Griffin plays Watto). It sounds absurd, but amazing how well it works.
What I really love about all these things is how much they capture the feeling of delirious possibility and "being in the moment." ... And maybe I love that more because there's been nothing harder to do in this particular present.