Comedian Chris Gethard’s new album is full of jokes only New Jerseyans will understand
West Orange native Chris Gethard is a comedian with a cult following who has now found more mainstream success in standup, television and podcasts.
And while his work has never strayed too far from his Jersey roots, he's now bringing both his work and his life back home in more ways than one.
News 12’s Brian Donohue spent the day with Gethard, who showed him around his hometown while reminiscing about growing up in the Garden State.
“This was a giant abandoned factory. And my dad told me it was the ‘Bad Boys Home’ and I was going to have to live there because I was bad,” Gethard said while passing the old Thomas Edison factory in West Orange. “This has always been one of the grittier parts of my hometown.”
Gethard is a successful comedian coming off a 2017 HBO special “Career Suicide.” There's been books, a TV show and a successful podcast called "Beautiful Anonymous." But he says that it was his time in New Jersey that shaped who he is today.
“As I was kind of meeting with more of the mainstream success, it was very important to me to also just not get caught up in that,” Gethard says.
Gethard’s newest comedy album is titled “Taylor Ham Egg and Cheese.” It’s a comedic tribute to New Jersey with jokes that mostly only New Jerseyans will understand.
“I don't want to get to a point where, just because I'm doing stuff that's on bigger platforms. Or that’s more mainstream, that I forget about the people who got me here. And a lot of them are in Jersey. Like Jersey's had my back from the start,” he says.
Gethard and Donohue then visited Jimmy Buff's Italian Hot Dogs, where the articles Gethard wrote for “Weird New Jersey” magazine hang on the wall. He recalled how he and his brother once snuck away for hot dogs during his grandmother’s wake.
After hot dogs, they toured the old neighborhood where Gethard grew up among generations of families who have all since scattered.
“That was my paternal grandfather's house,” Gethard says, while pointing out the home. “He was a kook. My grandfather set his own lawn on fire. This is how I grew up.”
Gethard says that there were many families with children surrounding his family’s home, so there was always a lot of kids to be friends with.
“It was a really fun way to grow up,” he says.
Gethard says that his mind never really left New Jersey, and after years of living in Log Angeles and Brooklyn, he says that he, his wife and his 9-month-old son are ready to come back to the Garden State.
“I've been all over the world at this point. And I've never met better people. A high level of integrity, honesty. People will tell you what they're thinking right to your face, there's no games. And I just think those values are really good for my son to grow up around,” Gethard says.