TV Weekly cover: Billy Crystal, Josh Gad buddy up in FX's deliciously uncomfortable new show, "The Comedians"

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02 April 2015

FX, Thursday, 10:00 PM ET

FX’s new comedy “The Comedians” is a show about a show starring the guys behind the guys.

Comedy legend Billy Crystal partners with (relative) newcomer Josh Gad (“Frozen,” “The Wedding Ringer”) in “The Comedians” (premiering Thursday on FX), a mockumentary-style, behind-the-scenes look at their new comedy/variety show. Reluctantly paired up for “The Billy & Josh Show," Crystal and Gad power through network execs’ demands, underperforming assistants, a skittish producer and their own conflicting comedic philosophies.

“It’s a show essentially about these two guys who could come from any vocation — it just happens to be that they’re comedians,” Gad says.

“Coming from completely different generational perspectives, being forced to work together essentially against their wills — that’s what makes it so wonderfully dynamic and so wonderfully perverse.”

“It’s a complicated show,” Crystal says. “We have a live show within the show, you have the sketches that fold into the show, and then you have our lives and who we are, and who we are to other people and an audience that thinks they know us, and changing those perceptions or enhancing those perceptions.”

Truth is often funnier than fiction in “The Comedians.” In one episode, Gad gets them out of a jam by giving a security guard’s kids a phone call in the voice of Olaf, his “Frozen” character. The “Olaf call” is something Gad actually does on a regular basis. “The beauty about the show is that it always begins with a ‘you’ll never believe what just happened to me’ conversation,” Gad says. “And then we will dissect that and expose it and flip it on its head and tie it into a way that the two of us can sort of create that conflict for the two of us to resolve.”

In another episode, Crystal and Gad are nominated in the same Kid Critics Awards category. “We were both nominated [for an Annie Award], for ‘Monsters U’ and ‘Frozen’,” Crystal says. “That really happened,” Gad says. “We were both nominated against each other. It really is art imitating life imitating art.”
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