Chris Gethard - Half My Life [Film] (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

Chris Gethard

Half My Life [Film] (2021)

Comedy Dynamics

Chris Gethard was the wild kid of comedy. On his old public access show, he got beat by a dominatrix, got kung fu chopped, and also dropped his pants with two of his pals, all in the name of laffs. His comedy was subversive, challenging, and importantly, often set to fail. But the thing is, he was the wild kid of comedy. Now, he’s crossed the 40 mark, so he’s no kid, and frankly, following the success of his “I’m here for you” style podcast Beautiful/Anonymous, he’s not nearly as self-destructive.

His new comedy special, Half My Life (directed by Kate Sweeney), explores both of these issues in depth. The program is a hybrid standup special and documentary about Gethard’s now-married-and-now-a-dad life. The hook is that he travels to 10 unusual in order to challenge himself. For instance, he does one show at famed punk club Ottobar, and another at a Crocodile amusement park. Importantly, he’s not doing this to “keep the edge.” (More on that later). Rather, he’s doing these challenges simply to do something new.

You see, it’s left implied in the documentary, but Gethard seems happier than he did on his chaotic TV show. And to that end, he talks about how he doesn’t necessarily feel the need to risk life and limb in the name of comedy. Rather, he’s coming to peace with the fact that he’s already climbed the mountain of danger- he doesn’t need to keep climbing it. Therefore, as he travels from unusual show to unusual show (aided by pal Carmen Christopher), he seems to be… not searching for himself, but… settling into his new frame.

And here’s the kicker- the new frame is funny. As always, Gethard’s comedy pivots between self-deprecation and telling wacky tales out in the wild. One of the bets one involves the aforementioned reptile zoo. Another really good one is when he talks about surviving the apocalypse. As always, Gethard’s comedy is easy flowing and conversational- it’s more like you’re hanging out with a pal that has good stories than someone trying to shove yuks down your throat. That’s the power of Gethard- especially the modern form of the man. In his disarming frankness and sincerity, we don’t feel as though he’s trying to impress, we feel as though he’s trying to communicate with us- and that’s what makes this material so powerful.

So, we get the answer to "what happens to the wild kid do when he grows up?" He’s kind of a normal(ish) dude… but he’s still really funny.

You can check it out here.