6. A 45-minute joke
May 3rd, 2020
Here's the premise of 'One Man's Trash', my favourite episode of The Chris Gethard Show: A sealed dumpster is wheeled into a TV studio, and viewers call in to guess what's inside. If nobody guesses, the dumpster remains closed. If somebody guesses in the first minute, there is no backup plan.
That's it. That's the episode. How long can you wait for a punchline? Because this one takes 45 minutes, and it's worth every gleefully dumb second.
TCGS is a TV show built out of particleboard and duct tape. Watching it for the first time must feel like whiplash, one bizarre element after another barreling past you with no explanation: the half naked man sat in a nook in the wall, the mute woman constantly hula-hooping in the background, the rapt audience sat cross-legged on the floor inches from the host and his guests, all in a studio the size of a particularly spacious closet. It's a show with its own absurd lore, wrought over two years of live shows and 150+ episodes broadcast on public access.
All of this might sound like a recipe for a show that feels exclusionary if you don't get it, if you weren't there, but the opposite is true—there's no pretence, no entrance fee. It's a show that constantly tries to sabotage and expose itself, and there's no better example of that than 'One Man's Trash'. It's one long crescendo to a terrific reveal that reaches true delirium in its final climactic moments. The less I say, the more you'll enjoy, so that's where I'll leave it.
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