For comedian Chris Gethard, New Jersey is a never-ending source of material
New Jersey is home to a long list of famous entertainers who wear their New Jersey roots with pride. Among them is comedian Chris Gethard, who has a new podcast called “New Jersey is the World.”
“You find out even people that make it big here kind of have a screw loose,” Gethard says.
The night in 2010 that Gethard booked the lead role in a television sitcom, he says he walked along to the west side of Manhattan, looked across the Hudson River and thanked New Jersey.
“Is that melodramatic? It absolutely is. But my immediate instinct was to walk out to the part of the city where I could see New Jersey and tip my hat and say thank you,” he says.
And the more Gethard finds success beyond New Jersey - with his HBO special or his popular podcast “Beautiful Anonymous” - the more he seems to keep talking about New Jersey.
Gethard says that he is convinced that there is no better place for a well-adjusted citizen of the world or a comedian to be from.
“Sometimes people go, ‘Oh, you’re really good at just diving into conversations,” Gethard says. “And I think part of that was where I grew up. I was in a lunchroom every day in high school where there were kids who on their 17th birthday would show up in a brand-new BMW. And there were kids whose family just arrived from Haiti and they were on food assistance. And everything in between.”
The West Orange native released an album last year titled “Taylor Ham Egg and Cheese,” which was comprised entirely of material about New Jersey. And he has also launched a new project called “New Jersey is the World.” It includes three new podcasts about New Jersey life, culture and food – including one called “WO Town” in which he and his two old friends from West Orange hash it out as though they are sharing a plate of disco fries at a diner at 2 a.m.
“I don’t want to make it like a state-sponsored tourism ad either. The next episode we’re putting out next month - that’s not behind a paywall - is all about pollution. And all about how real it is,” Gethard says. “Yeah, it makes us mad that people say that about us...My block that I grew up on was, without exaggeration, a literal Superfund site.”
Gethard says that he has no plans to stop making content about the Garden State anytime soon.