Have It All or Have Enough? (with Chris Gethard)

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At the height of comedian Chris Gethard’s career, he was hosting his own show and making more money than ever. Yet, his teeth were falling out from the stress and unhappiness of it all. Now, he plays dinosaurs with his son, volunteers with his local ambulance, and says his life is one hundred times less cool but a thousand times happier. Sam asks Chris about the choices he made to create a more well rounded life and how to define enough.

Follow Chris Gethard @chrisgeth on TikTok, @chrisgeth on Instagram, and @ChrisGethard on X (formerly Twitter). His new audiobook and ebook, “Dad at Peace,” is out now.

Keep up with Samantha Bee @realsambee on Instagram and X (formerly Twitter). And stay up to date with us @LemonadaMedia on X (formerly Twitter)Facebook, and Instagram.

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Samantha Bee, Chris Gethard

Samantha Bee  00:00

I have three kids, And yes, they were all considered geriatric pregnancies. Thank you so, so much. I think sometimes this surprises people, or at least hint surprises my critics. How can the shrill lady who’s always raising money for planned parenthood have experienced the blessing of childbirth herself? Well, it’s true even I find myself speaking in a voice I barely recognize when I see a small baby child. Choosing to be a parent is something I take extremely seriously. And this is not about to be a big pro choice speech, you know me that as a given, but this is about how I choose to show up for my family every single day. Sometimes it’s waking up early to make sure there’s a hot breakfast ready for my kids, even if they don’t want it. Sometimes it means booking summer camp on my phone in the middle of a meeting because I forgot the deadline was that day. Sometimes it means taking on a job because it means that my kids will get health insurance. Sometimes it means that I’m doing a recording for my podcast, and you can hear people stomping around in my house, whatever the decision, I make them all through the lens of being a mom, I do. When I got full frontal and I was finally going to be in charge of my own show. I learned that we were slated to err on Monday nights, and I almost quit before I even began. I just assumed that meant that we would work through the weekends. I mean, it was a topical show. That’s what everybody was telling me, and nothing, not even a show with my own name on it would have made me miss weekends with my kids, not ever, not in a million years. It was a no brainer for me. Luckily, very luckily, I was not forced to make that decision, the show literally went on. I also got my weekends at home and I’ve been a mom now for 18 years, which simultaneously feels like two days, but also a millennia. And I really am so proud of the mothering that I do.


Samantha Bee  02:23

This is Choice Words. I’m Samantha Bee. Today I spoke with comedian Chris Gethard. He is the host of the podcast Beautiful Anonymous, and just released his latest audiobook and ebook Dad At Peace, which is the last book in his trilogy available exclusively on Ever, and in it he chronicles the choice to in his words become boring and put comedy on the backburner for the sake of his son, which resonated with me so much. I feel like it’s a conversation that more frequently I have with other moms. And I love to get into talk to a dad about it. And he is anything other than boring. So take a listen and make good choices.


Samantha Bee  03:02



Chris Gethard  03:09

Hey, how are ya?


Samantha Bee  03:11

I’m good, how are you?


Chris Gethard  03:13

I’m good, I’m good.


Samantha Bee  03:16

So this show, as I’m sure you know, is all about choice. It should be called Choice Words, because you’ve made some really big choices. In the last little while, especially big choices you’ve made, we’re going to talk about all of that stuff. But choice means something different for each person. So we all make decisions in such different ways, so like, how do you? What’s your approach?


Chris Gethard  03:46

Well, I’ve always been someone who really is highly susceptible to anxiety and stress.


Samantha Bee  03:53

Okay, yeah.


Chris Gethard  03:54

So, you know, I’ve, if anybody has heard of me it, it’s probably because I did an HBO special all about depression and panic attacks and the horrible they are, so choices can sometimes really trigger that stuff, so a lot of my choices is I’ve trained myself to kind of try to follow my instincts and follow them quickly and faithfully to avoid that.


Samantha Bee  04:16



Chris Gethard  04:17

And one thing that I’m pretty proud of myself about. And I’m not saying this to try to sound like some sort of hero in any way. But I have often found that when I can resist the urge to let money be a motivator in the choices I’m making? That I often head towards the choices that are healthier than sometimes, sometimes they go hand in hand, sometimes there’s that nice thing, I’m not allergic to money. I’m a fan of I’m a fan of being stable.


Samantha Bee  04:50

It’s nice to eat. It’s nice to be warm.


Chris Gethard  04:54

Yeah, it removes a lot of stress from one’s life. And sometimes things dovetail nice see where I go? It feels like the right choice on this one is the one that also is the one that’s financially most beneficial, but I’ve often found that in our society and in entertainment, you get there’s a lot of things where you’re, you know, well, this is the money choice, and I often have a gut instinct of I don’t know that that’s the right choice for me. And I had to learn to trust that and not everyone who’s worked with me has always appreciated that. But but I have learned that if I can avoid the financial pressure being a major motivator, then I can think more clearly, there’s one thing I did, that was when I was on this real hot streak for a handful of years there. And I got offered something for big money. And I knew, I was like, this isn’t totally sitting in a comfortable place in my gut. And it was really the first time in my career, where I said, I have to do it anyway, for the money. And to put that in perspective, I had a family member who had pretty massive medical bills at the time. And I was like, okay, I’m gonna, I’m gonna put integrity by the wayside for really kind of the heart most hardcore I ever did. And I can’t regret the fact that it paid for a bunch of medical stuff, I can’t regret the fact that it’s part of why I was able to buy a house. But I will say that anytime someone brings that project up to me, even if you know if it’s if I’m out doing stand up, and someone comes up and says, oh, I like blank, and they name this one thing I know for ever, it’s not gone away in many years that I will always have an internal. I keep a nice game face on, I say, I’m so psyched that you liked it, and it is, this is not me to try to sit here and explain to people, but I in my gut, I go, ooh, that one only got 75% there, and I kind of knew it was gonna. And I mad, I’m more I mad about to this day.


Samantha Bee  07:00

Right, it’s hard right to have a game face about stuff where you have memories where you’re like, I, for whatever reason, it just sticks in your craw. And you’re like, every time I think about it, like at the same physical feeling, God damn that.


Chris Gethard  07:18

That one stings, that one just will always sting. But again, like I say, medical bills.


Samantha Bee  07:26

Medical bills.


Chris Gethard  07:27

The roof over my head right now.


Samantha Bee  07:30

Those, those are compelling reasons to give it, you keep it you know what I think over time, when you have those projects that staying are just like a fad, they are your genitals just like constrict whenever you hear the name of the thing. But you know what I mean?


Chris Gethard  07:47

The balls rise a little bit into the into the stomach, so every time.


Samantha Bee  07:51

Yeah, just a little shrinking a little a little like gripping. And over so much time, sometimes you can compartmentalize it perfectly. And then once you can make jokes about that, like real ones that don’t also sting, then you have, then nature has healed.


Chris Gethard  08:12

I’m also I will say this, one thing I’m proud of is I’m also self aware enough. And I grew up in a way where I will also say, I understand that I’ve lived a very lucky and blessed life, if this is the thing that we’re talking about. You don’t have to I understand how lucky that is. It still stinks it stinks, kind of kind of do. You do when you don’t? Well, because there’s people who don’t, and I know how I react to people, fix somebody when I went. This was actually something in my new book that I cut. But I will say I was once around, and I bet you’ve had your version of this as well. Being in entertainment, we are often around people who lose perspective.


Samantha Bee  08:56



Chris Gethard  08:57

And I have witnessed some of those conversations where they, I was once around a very famous stand up at the comedy cellar, who started be rating his experience at a hotel, where he called the concierge and said, hey, can you send up an IV drip full of rejuvenating vitamins? Why and when they said we don’t know what you’re talking about? He said, well, that’s a new trend where you can get IV drips of infusions of vitamins directly into the bloodstream, they said we don’t do that here. And this person was at the comedy cellar telling the story like guys what an idiot, right? And they were very, very famous. And I will say most of the other people there were like, oh yeah, ha ha ha what an idiot and I’m sitting here and going. That hotel person was correct. It is not standard to have blood transfusions of vitamins at your hotel. I never want to lose touch like that, and I’m glad that by and large cuz I haven’t, so that’s part of why I feel bound to be like, yeah, I’ve had a lucky life, but the things that stick with me are, tend to be the small handful where I went, I’m doing this for money. They always haunt me, they do.


Samantha Bee  10:13

They are really haunting, that is so funny. I don’t feel at any level ever, a hotel employee should be required to come to your room.


Chris Gethard  10:13

Oh my goodness.


Samantha Bee  10:20

Put an infusion, a needle in your arm for any reason that’s not their job. That is not their expertise. And why would you ever want that?


Chris Gethard  10:34

Samantha, I will make the bed I will pre make.


Samantha Bee  10:37

Mee to, I keep it so nice.


Chris Gethard  10:39

And then they come in and, and the sheets are tighter and the bedspread. It has no less creases in it. But I feel bad asking them to even be around the area where my awful body has been touching the sheets, I cover it up, let alone ask them to come inject me with new age, non FDA approved medical treatments. This insanity is insanity.


Samantha Bee  11:01

My husband and I used to, we still have this theory, I guess. And I can’t remember the actual ratio now. But it’s like we have a theory about when you become warped or when people tend to become warped as a performer. And that is like this. If you’ve been famous for more than, for more than half of the time you’ve been alive, then you’re fucked. You’re just not going to be normal after that. So you have to cut it off at a certain point. Or you’re going to use lip you’re gonna flip the ratio.


Chris Gethard  11:33

I love hearing, I love hearing that because I will tell you I have been tangled up mentally and emotionally for the past few years because I used to host this very hipster TV show. And when it got canceled, I have had some swings and misses but some of that is that I have retreated a little bit, because I found it weird. I found the process weird. And I struggle with that. But that talk about a choice, I’m like, I think I’m gonna go live in New Jersey and, and do less stuff and kind of be full of it’s probably down to like three times a week now that I’m like, did I mess everything up in my whole career? And then the other four days a week I go, I think I’m making good choices, and it’s good that I don’t care. And then the three days that I care, I care to a degree where it can sometimes just make me curl up in the fetal position.


Samantha Bee  12:30

Right? There’s more with Chris Gethard in just a moment


Samantha Bee  12:51

I read your latest ebook Dad at Peace, and I loved it. It’s beautiful, it’s beautiful, and I.


Samantha Bee  13:00

I found it incredibly relatable. And in and you articulate this big choice that you made to retreat a little bit like after a sequence of events in your life. Can you just articulate that for people who are listening who haven’t read the book yet, although I’m sure they will after?


Chris Gethard  13:00

Thank you very much.


Chris Gethard  13:21

Yeah, the bullet points are basically, I had my TV show got canceled. I went and did the Edinburgh Festival which every comedian you will hear them talk about it, it’s kind of this thing everybody wants to do, but a lot of people have disaster experiences. I did it once years ago and it went so great, I went back and did it, and it was it was all it was really a confidence shaking nightmare. My my podcast, beautiful anonymous, which has been this really beautiful thing in my life and the safety net for my family and almost got canceled right on the heels of that. I lost my health insurance during the pandemic, as many Screen Actors Guild members did, because all of a sudden, there was just no work, let alone if you’re on you know, let alone you’re on the East Coast and not even not in New York, I’d moved to Jersey then and had a kid and I’m just sitting here going, man. I’ve had a bunch of things that have shaken me up now I’m smart enough to know and I’ve been doing this for over 20 years, so I’m like, okay, the pendulum swings. And I understand how to sort of wait it out and know that the momentum will swing back and I’d understand how to lay some track and maybe create some of that momentum, but I did have this kind of, kind of moment where I kind of realized, oh, I don’t want to I don’t want my family’s livelihood to depend on this anymore. I’ll never forget during the pandemic, I got a job where I had to fly to Canada and quarantined for two weeks in a hotell, and then I worked for one day and then I flew home. And I was man like that two weeks, my son was two and a half at the time. And you come back after two weeks and change, and I’m like, Oh, he looks a little different than when I left two weeks ago and I missed stuff. Do I want my son’s health insurance to depend on my ability to book roles like Eddie, the weird janitor on SpaceForce. Now, I’m not saying that to clown on that show, I’m grateful. I got to work with John Malkovich, and Steve Carell is a beautiful thing. I’m lucky to do it, but I had to, I had to come to terms with the fact of the pressure I feel to go get things like that is outweighing the joy, of getting those things and participating in those things get the joy of being on a TV set, the dopamine kick of booking a roll, they are no longer balancing out the stress, I feel in all the other times, maybe I need to go do something else so I, for the first time in my adult life, I have a day job. I think for the first time since I was 23. I have a day job right now, and I’ve been very insecure about it but ultimately, I love it, and I landed in a world where I’m building arts programming for a nonprofit mental health organization that works in schools, and I’ve sometimes expressed to friends of mine, like, I feel insecure because I went got a day job, and I feel like I sold out and they’re like, ah, as far as selling out goes, working with a mental health nonprofit to improve schools like pretty good version of selling out, and I’m like, yeah, they, they give me insurance, and they let me continue to do comedy stuff as I see fit. And it’s really open things up where I go now every choice I make as far as what to participate in. I’m choosing to do it because it seems fun again. And not because I feel this immense amount of pressure.


Samantha Bee  16:53

This immense pressure to make your day right, on something like you can choose that gives you some freedom to choose projects that are meaningful to you in some way that like actually advance your creativity. And, your soul. Which is why you do this.


Chris Gethard  17:14

Absolutely, and also to feel like oh, if I, if I want to sit down and write something, and I get to the end of it, and I feel like oh, it’s not that good. I won’t feel that panic of Oh, no, I wasted time, I could have been using that time towards something that would have counted, no, no, that counts that counts. And because I work every day and put some hours towards this one thing, it frees up all these other hours to enjoy that process again. And it’s been a little weird, but but good, and then also, I will also say I’m not much of a smack talker, and a lot of you know, comedy people get tend to get addicted to the clickbait stuff but I haven’t been super psyched on being in a scene that’s kind of like becoming more and more a slave to Tiktok algorithms. And where people get a lot of attention by maybe picking on marginalized groups famously, I sit here I go, do I want to fight tooth and nail to further my comedy career when I’m kind of bummed out about comedy. And where it’s, I’m exhausted so often. So I had to be secure in those choices, which is not always easy.


Samantha Bee  18:35

Not always easy, but like to choose? Well, okay, from reading your a book. And I think there’s that you say this in 50 different ways. Having a child 50 different beautiful, like really beautiful, lyrical ways having a child seems to have brought such clarity, to your life.


Chris Gethard  18:59

Yes, absolutely.


Samantha Bee  19:02

And I don’t think that we talk about that enough as a society anymore like, because I experienced the same thing. I when I had my first child, I went, Oh, finally I understand what my purpose is like, Oh my God. It’s not just about me just like agonizing over some slight that I experienced, like I’ve just like took all of the anxiety. I was able to just be outside of myself.


Chris Gethard  19:34



Samantha Bee  19:35

The first time. It’s great.


Chris Gethard  19:36

The things that I would sit and worry about, that my kid didn’t know or care about, was eye opening. I start to realize all I’m feeling all this stress that’s kind of self created, or that I’m opting into and the level to which he does not care about these things. makes me realize how ridiculous they are. And that I can just step away and be happier. I can just step away from certain things and be happier. Because they’re not necessity.


Samantha Bee  20:11

There’s really something monumental about looking up from your phone and your kids are watching you.


Chris Gethard  20:20

And word of fighting, right?


Samantha Bee  20:22

So embarrassing. It’s like, it’s like when you go to Maine, and you’re on your phone at the farmers market. And everyone you look up and everyone’s just like, what is fucking wrong with you? This is a farmers market, man. Can you just be cool? What are you looking at?


Chris Gethard  20:40

Exactly, exactly even in the pandemic, to have these things of like, you know, you’d get these self tape auditions. And I’m like, I got a toddler, and I have to, I have to take all the, all the art off some walls. So I have a blank wall, and then beg a toddler who doesn’t really get to go outside that much because of the pandemic to quiet down like, no, you know what, maybe the other option is, I just don’t do this thing where they’ve asked me to memorize 17 pages in 12 hours, like, maybe I can step back and go, this is not that important. My kid is playing. And rather than beg him to quiet down so I can crush this self tape, maybe what I can do is say, thanks, but no, thanks this one’s not for me. And in fact, some of the stuff that came up in the in the strikes in the Writers Guild and Screen Actors Guild strikes, I was starting to feel insane because I’m like, yeah, I’m not gonna ask my kid to shut up. When they sent me this thing on one day’s notice. And it’s super long, and I’m all stressed out by it, it’s not fair to him, and then the Screen Actors Guild busted on in their contract was, uh, yeah, we got to regulate the self tapes, you know, I would get these checks. For things I’d worked on and open it up and go, I just got a little check for 17 cents, I’m not gonna make my health insurance and you start to realize, oh, I am being exploited. The strikes made me feel less insane. I was like, Oh, God, I’m not alone in this. I’m not the only I thought I was the only one starting to feel insane at all this. But it was so good to have a kid through all that through the pandemic through things like those strikes and just realize, oh, right. He just wants to like, make a mess with his food, and then watch an episode of PJ Masks, and that’s such a cooler way to be, than me being all stressed out about a bunch of stuff that I can opt out of, as I see fit.


Samantha Bee  22:38

It really delineates your priorities, and it’s just such a, like, a clear, is such a clear way. It’s like, oh, fuck all this stuff. Okay, you okay? You know, you have to have money because you have to exist, like you want to create security and make their lives as nice as you can make them or make them as, like, well rounded as you can make them for sure all of that. But beyond that, all they really want is your attention, and your just want to hang out this one.


Chris Gethard  23:14

It’s kind of like, as you come into adult, you your insecurities are still there. I wish I was a confident person, so I my best days I submit it. But I have to say when you let it in when you kind of slow down your life enough, and especially when you’re raising like once they get that post potty training, pre homework stretch, but they haven’t decided yet that you’re lame, my kid is just now turning a corner where if we’re at a party, and there’s other kids, he kinda doesn’t want us to hover over them, right? He wants to be on his own, so to be in a stretch, where you realize like, oh, he legit, wants to hang out with me. And I don’t have to. It’s not like I need to text him and say, let’s arrange a dinner time, and hey, haven’t caught up in a while or be in some public place where you’re rubbing elbows and hoping you’d find a conversation where you appear halfway normal, that there’s this person in your life who there only thing is like, hey, are you done working? Can you come downstairs from your office? Because straight up, got two Tiger toys, and you can be the White Tiger and I’m gonna be the orange one, and he’s like, that’s all my whole goal for the day. Is that you find 20 minutes to pretend to be a tiger with me, it’s eye opening to realize how much of the other stuff I needed to pump the brakes on and that I think a lot of us do.


Samantha Bee  24:42

Right, it’s very hard to pump them. It’s Oh, psychologically hard to pump the brakes intentionally. It’s hard to have someone pump the brakes for you. And it’s hard to know when you have had enough of like catering to other people or just like making yourself so available for anything anyone asks of you, that’s a hard. That’s a hard place to get to, it’s actually in a way, Nirvana.


Chris Gethard  25:17

Like, it’s very zen, I think it is, I think there’s some real Zen to it. I think you’re right, and so much of that is a sort of unstated aspect of being an American, which is like, hey, if you make less money than you did last year, you’re failing. And that’s a hard thing to get out of your head. And I sit here and I go, compared to when I was at my most successful career was I’m making probably 1/9 or 1/10, of what I made a given year. Like that’s, that’s a huge downfall in a certain sense, but you know, what, I also know when I was the host of a TV show, and the EP of it and getting yelled at by a network, and in the writers room, I was grinding my teeth so bad that two different times in my writers room, I had teeth, crack and fall out of my head, I had teeth falling out of my head when I was making 10 times more money than I am now. So is that happier to have more money, but your teeth are falling out of your head because you’re so stressed?


Samantha Bee  26:20

I think it’s a very hard conversation for a lot of Americans to have. Really, for one thing that I’m really obsessed with especially, it always happens to me every year after watching the Superbowl. And watching all the commercials, I go, we really don’t have a concept of what is enough in this country? What is enough? Like, what does enough look like? Why can’t anyone ever seem to have enough? Like, cool it? Like, all these fucking celebrities are doing, you really want to promote gambling, fuck is wrong with you if you don’t have enough. So empty, you want to, you want to do the work of a corporation that wants to take money and get people into a spiral of gambling addiction. And you’re like, oh, that’s cool for me. I’m like, something’s missing in your brain.


Chris Gethard  27:32

Yeah, and we can compartmentalize it as much as we want but like if you if you are in a place to get a contract like that, it’s your responsibility to decide if it’s worth it. Like you said, like, promoting that it is so dark, but funny to think of like, yeah, you’re promoting a thing, and you made a nice payday, and there’s somebody out there who’s going to be told, like, hey, you can’t see your kids like that you need to go somewhere else and get your fucking act together. The kids can see you like this, because this person, you know, just bet their last mortgage check on the Greyhounds.


Samantha Bee  28:07

By the 1000s, so like, is there no, is there nothing like, sorry, I’m going down my own path now. But I’m just definitely in a place of like, does no one have ethics that are a line, a hard line, and you don’t criss cross over it?


Chris Gethard  28:29

Because it’s also we don’t trust the ultra wealthy anymore. I think about that a lot to have like, whoa, is it just a game of amassing wealth because, you know, it’s a little bit cliche to say, but you sit here and you go like I I wish I was smart enough to know about Carnegie? Like he was one of them, robber barons, I bet he did some bad stuff. He also built Carnegie Hall and we still have that and a part of Carnegie Hall has always been a site set aside for affordable our heart artists, housing and studios and you know, they used to go build giant train stations just because they’re like, I want my city to have the best train station fuck you. It’s like now what do they use it for? Like literally to go fly into space while there’s homeless camps in every major American City now to people living under underpasses in tents. And meanwhile, our billionaires are threatening to fight each other in the UFC. Like this is a what’s what’s the wealth for? We’re not even using it for anything good. It’s not even that fun.


Samantha Bee  29:34

I mean, this is all to say that I think your choices and the things that the way that you are so reflective about your values is very important. And I think like you know, from person to person, you’ll have these conversations and discover these things about people. But writ large in the culture, it’s not talked about enough to have ethics seems to believe a thing and just keep believing the thing. And not believe that I don’t know that billionaires should just get tax cuts no matter what. And I don’t, I can’t understand


Chris Gethard  30:17

Me too.


Samantha Bee  30:17

Know where we’re out. Hold that thought more with Chris Gethard after one more break.


Samantha Bee  30:40

Let’s talk about your podcast. Can you talk about what happened with Beautiful Anonymous? Because you were chugging along? The podcast does very well, you have legions of fans, it’s beautiful. For people who haven’t listened to it people who are listening right now you take a random anonymous phone call and you talk to that person. The only rule is you talk to that person for one full hour.


Chris Gethard  31:05

Yep. And I can’t hang up, I can hang out, say whatever they want.


Samantha Bee  31:08

And it is pretty fun, I’m sure at the beginning, you thought that you would get terrible prank calls.


Chris Gethard  31:15

Yeah, the original reason I had the idea was, I had done this public access TV show for a while and it was really admittedly, like really strange. And we would just try random things, and we take a lot of phone calls. And we eventually got picked up by a cable network and I said, well, I’m gonna miss those phone calls. Let me do a phone call podcast. So I thought it was just gonna mostly be like the fans, I had, you know, kids with green hair, kids in their 20s post college years, maybe even high school kids. And instead, it just kind of broken away where the podcast exploded. With a lot of people who I came to realize that there aren’t that many outlets for regular people to go like, here’s my goddamn story. Like, here’s, here’s my story, and someone’s actually going to listen and they can’t hang up and people would air out and confess stuff. And it exploded, we were lucky enough that we got featured on This American Life, which was just this huge amount of an accelerant on the whole thing, and yeah, it’s it’s kind of similar to what you’re saying my whole relationship with money, part of it is driven by the fact that podcasting was kind of the Wild West and I was at a company that had been bought a few times, eventually bought by a very big corporation, where my show which had been my job for seven years, and by most people’s metrics would look at it and say, yes, still a really successful show seven years in, while not by the standards of a big corporation, their view of success. No longer accounts for medium. Yeah, it’s huge or it’s nothing, you know. And yeah, unfortunately, unfortunately, it just went sour. And they wanted to cut the contract in half, both timewise and money wise, and then all of that I could handle. The thing that really bummed me out, was that they gave me that with two and a half weeks notice before the contract was up. And I sat there and I was like, I have a kid. And you’re giving me two weeks notice that my salary is being cut in half like it’s a lot and it was very stressful thing that the listeners of the show didn’t know about as it landed on its feet. But yeah, it was it was head spinning.


Samantha Bee  33:39

Yes, for all its goodness, you really have to eat a shit sandwich every once in a while in this business. And that’s just kind of a part of it. And I think people who aren’t eating shit sandwiches eventually will be and that’ll maybe be harder for them. Because it wasn’t a continuous process.


Chris Gethard  33:57

What’s the level of fame that people stop eating that shit sandwiches? Because my guess is that I, my guess is that that you and I in the entertainment industry like people probably look and go oh, you probably get to this level and stop eating a shit sandwich but being in the entertainment she I think I’m like I think there’s maybe less than a dozen people in the entire side of entertainment.


Samantha Bee  34:20

I don’t believe that, every single one every single person’s eating a shit sandwich. It’s just a different sandwich. It’s just a different flavors. It’s a different caliber of sandwich like.


Chris Gethard  34:29

To cap you think DiCaprio 100% Caprio.


Samantha Bee  34:31

Yes, I do.


Chris Gethard  34:32

Remember when Scorsese got to make what was the Gangs of New York that it was like, they made it once Leo came on and everybody was like he’s Scorsese., no, let him make the thing. It’s like no, no, he needs a star.


Samantha Bee  34:44

He needs a star. Everybody’s eating it. It’s just a different version of it. And I really, really extra love this about you because it is actually hard to talk about the realities of this business.


Chris Gethard  34:56

Yeah, I hosted a TV show on cable three years ago and now I don’t have fucking health.


Samantha Bee  35:03

It’s a cash I have to pay cash at the doctor.


Chris Gethard  35:06

My Broad City residual checks just came in there were five of them. I was thrilled and felt a weight come off my shoulders. All five of them combined totaled, less than $3.05. 5 checks, five envelopes and me going off, thank God, maybe this will get my family health insurance again. I opened up the five envelopes $3.03. The postage, the postage was $3. Sorry, sorry about that. Sorry about the yelling.


Samantha Bee  35:37

No, it’s like incredible. I love this conversation. It’s feeding me, I’m so sorry I’m taking too much of your time.


Chris Gethard  35:43

Oh, no, please, it’s all I ever want is to feel like, I’m not totally insane for thinking, Oh, the well is poisoned, and the game is rigged.


Samantha Bee  35:52

The well was poisoned, the game is rigged when the game is great. It’s so great, you’re doing the work that you love. It’s fun, it’s fun, it’s fun to do the work. The work itself is fun. The journey to the work is not as fun.


Chris Gethard  36:13

What era for you? Do you look back on and say, Oh, that was the most fun. Because it’s hard to sense those things in it.


Samantha Bee  36:21

I don’t think that I saw could see it that way, actually because there’s more like individual experiences along the way. I would say for me when the TV show was at its height. And this is I will say this, but no one ever wants to hear this. So I’m going to tell you because I think you will want to hear it when the show was at its height of like viewership and hype. Okay, I was probably at the unhappiest point of my life, right? Yeah, I’ve never, I never want to experience that level of stress again, in all my life. And I’ll actively walk away, I will never do that again.


Chris Gethard  37:10



Samantha Bee  37:11

I stopped having my period. My shoulder fucked up like.


Chris Gethard  37:14

It’s your teeth falling out. My show is also so much smaller than yours, but I know exactly what you mean. Because it’s not my version of teeth. Yeah, not because you’re also you’re getting pulled in 10 different directions by people with 10 different selfish goals for you. And how many, I have to imagine a show your size, I think there was probably between 80 and 100 people who had jobs on my show on any given week, and for you, that’s probably double.


Samantha Bee  37:40

And there is a sense that was very, it is very difficult to, for us to talk about this in the world at large, because it doesn’t make sense, that’s not what it looks like. That’s not what it should be, and people really well meaning really good people in your life or like, you should be so happy. You should be so like, I understand why you’re crying. Are you like so happy right now? And you’re like, yeah, because there’s no way to be truthful, that doesn’t seem very ungrateful. And yeah, it’s, it’s like you can’t separate the two things it’s really hard to talk about, but it’s really not worth returning to that stress. And so I think what you’re saying everything you been talking about recently really resonates with me because it all comes back to values. And it all comes back to like, not to be grim about it, but just to reach into my Irish roots and be like, who’s gonna be there on your deathbed? Who’s gonna be there? Who do you want around you? And what do you want them to say about you? And it has nothing to do with work ever. I really don’t, no one’s gonna go like, remember when you put on that Peewee Herman costume? That was pretty funny, there’s no one’s gonna remember that, right? It was funny, it was so fun to do but that’s not really life.


Chris Gethard  39:17

Right, and the 23 hours of that day to get to that point, might overshadow the joy of doing it. You know, right. It’s when your body stops functioning, when you’re dealing with all of it and again, all of my version of it. It’s all choices I made and things I fought for and things that I’m proud I made happen and I wouldn’t change any of it, but I do not need to go back to it, and I think a lot my kid recently said to me, so my wife’s a musician, she performed on Broadway, like she comes from that side of the world too, and she recently my kid recently was like, Mommy and Daddy. I don’t I, I don’t want to go on stage for my job and my wife and I in unison both relate good, great. That sounds yeah, good. And if he changes his mind, I’ll be I’ll have his back and hopefully some of the stuff I’ve learned he can benefit from, but if he never wants to do it, awesome, awesome, awesome, because it’s a gilded it’s a gilded thing. It’s a gilded thing, you either get out or you wind up broken or you wind up yelling at a hotel worker for not giving you injections, because you’re so out of touch with fucking reality. It was unbelievable, and I’ll say this. I’m tight with Gary Gulman, and a big part of why is because he and I were both at the Comedy Side that night, right, and halfway through that conversation, he texted me from three feet away, we were sitting like four people apart, he was like, are you hearing the same thing I’m hearing and I was like, I’m so happy that someone else is sensing that this is nuts, thank you, and me. Me and Gary have been buddies for a while, but that was I think one of our biggest bonding moments was like, I was just looking for any way to get up and get out of there, so like, I don’t want to hear this. Let alone everyone’s like, Oh, ha ha ha, yes, of course. Oh, yes, of course. What an idiot who worked at that hotel.


Samantha Bee  41:21

It’s a stupid loser, this is a trend.


Chris Gethard  41:25

Person has 150 other things to worry about, than your weird, you’re weird fetish for objections.


Samantha Bee  41:35

God, that person has someone in their life with medical bills, they’re like, what are you putting in you?


Chris Gethard  41:42

Go home, this person wants to get home in time, they want to get out of here before traffic’s so bad that they don’t see their kid before bed, leave them alone, certainly don’t sit around making fun of them afterwards. It was wild.


Samantha Bee  41:55

Something as this is so I don’t feel like I’m talking about myself too much, but I’m gonna say this one last thing is the last thing I like it is that Simon like when my show got canceled, or whatever they were like, well, finally, you can. You know, you can go back to like spending time with your children and stuff and you can and I was like, oh, hold on, I was like, do you fucking thing that I wasn’t parenting my children this whole time? Like, I killed myself to be home every night for dinner, like I bled, they never felt like they didn’t have to period on you good on your like they would never have. And there is no they don’t see they don’t witness any glory in showbusiness, people are like, do you guys gonna go into acting and they’re like, why would we do that? Our parents make it look so shitty. What? Who wants that? So I cry credit you I fucking think your choices are so special is so smart. Because none of that stuff feeds your soul. And you can do the stuff that feeds your soul when you want it to, in in a way that you want it to, and it will evolve. And the living that you make is not dependent on that, and that is so smart.


Chris Gethard  43:21

And you’re lucky. I do feel lucky. I’m full of self questioning but I sit here and go. My life right now as I talk to people on the phone on my podcast, I’d help build programming for schools to try to help kids with mental health.


Samantha Bee  43:36

I mean.


Chris Gethard  43:36

I volunteer and I drive an ambulance on Tuesday nights in New Jersey, I’m like.


Samantha Bee  43:40

Stop it, you do?


Chris Gethard  43:42

Out of the way, yeah. And that’s and that has given me a bunch of wild stories, but I sit here and I go. On the days where I feel insecure I go. I’ve actually arranged everything where my life is very peaceful. And a lot of what I’m doing is no longer you know, I did a show called The Chris Gethard show, tells you a lot about where my head was at when I started. And now my life is like I want to talk to we just put out an episode on my podcast today with a lady who helps run her family’s kite store in the South. I just want to talk to the kite lady, and then tonight at 6:30. I go to the firehouse and I make sure the ambulance is already in case we need it. I’m like that’s an objectively better life. So better like hey, everybody on tonight’s show, I’m trapped in a cage, and if Matt Walsh can’t free me in time, 100 pounds of human hair will fall from the ceiling on me in the cage. Which is a funny idea that I like doing but I’m like, my life is so clearly healthier now that I’m like, I just want to talk to the kite lady and go check the ambulance rather than have hair fall from the sky on me.


Samantha Bee  44:50

You don’t want to spend 40, 45 agonizing minutes trying to think of an adult to the joke you made about PF Changs because it’s not allowed by our advertisers or what.


Chris Gethard  45:01

Me tell you this, I’m going to tell you something very true. I’m glad I brought up that episode of that you immediately brought up the notes issue. When we turned in the outline for the Christmas trapped in a cage and we’ll have human hair fall on him and the network, we were a live show, so they would give us notes beforehand, based on the outline, and they gave us four hours of notes. The human hair out on, four hours of work would it be? Would it be funnier if the hair blew at you horizontally with a fan? Me being like, no, not? I don’t know, it’s just funnier to say it’s gonna fall from the ceiling, can we make sure it swirls like a tornado instead of one big clump? I don’t, I don’t, I don’t care. And then again, meanwhile, the same era of my life where I’m like, my teeth are falling out. And I’ve got a relative who needs money Prompto for medical stuff, and maybe like a, can’t get yelled at about what’s the best way to have hair fall on me while I’m trapped to think like I have to have to move on. My life is so much more relaxed now than that it’s 100 times less cool, and 1000 times happier.


Samantha Bee  46:13

That is a great place to end. I have loved this conversation, it’s like.


Chris Gethard  46:17

Likewise, likewise.


Samantha Bee  46:18

I love talking about this stuff, I love thinking about what makes a well rounded life.


Chris Gethard  46:25

Me too.


Samantha Bee  46:25

I’m thinking about getting rid of the excess things that don’t help you, don’t help anyone. You can’t be a good partner and father if you’re full of anxiety or rage or like you can’t do the things you need to do.


Chris Gethard  46:47

And covered in human hair.


Samantha Bee  46:48

Covered in human hair full


Chris Gethard  46:50

Full of rage and covered in hair. That was my life for a while.


Samantha Bee  46:54

I love it, I think you’re a great, I think they’re great.


Chris Gethard  46:57

I’ve always felt that way about you.


Samantha Bee  47:05

That was Chris Gethard and I had no choice but to look up one thing. I didn’t realize until today that Chris is a father of two ambulance driver. What are some two fat? I mean, I think I just assumed that the drivers came with the ambulance like some cool feature. Turns out, you don’t always need to be an EMT to drive an ambulance in some places, you just need a license and a little bit of training. Maybe I should do it, maybe you should do it, the ood news the fun continues with more Choice Words on Lemonada premium. Subscribers get exclusive access to bonus content like a special outtake from this fairy episode, subscribe now in Apple podcasts.


CREDITS  47:56

Thank you for listening to Choice Words which was created by and is hosted by me. We’re a production of Lemonada Media, Kathyrn Barnes, […] and Kryssy Pease produce our show. Our mix is by James Barber. Steve Nelson is the vice president of weekly content. Jessica Cordova Kramer, Stephanie Wittles Wachs and I are executive producers. Our theme was composed by […] with help from Johnny Vince Evans . Special thanks to Kristen Everman, Claire Jones, Ivan Kuraev and Rachel Neil. You can find me at @Iamsambee on Twitter and at @realsambee on Instagram. Follow Choice Words wherever you get your podcasts or listen ad free on Amazon music with your Prime membership.

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