Midway through The Chris Gethard Show‘s premiere episode late Thursday night on truTV, Impractical Jokers star Brian “Q” Quinn attacked the set with a small chainsaw meant for a piñata. The studio audience erupted in shocked laughter and applause while Gethard, sidekick Shannon O’Neill and the other guests looked on in powerless awe. There wasn’t much they could do to stop Q during the “Too Many Piñatas” segment, because the broadcast from New York was totally live and uninterrupted. Sure, regulations mandated a 10-second delay, but what could that possibly do against a chainsaw? Nothing, which is why The Chris Gethard Show is so great when it’s live.
The chainsaw incident naturally dominated the online conversation following the premiere’s broadcast. (Even the majority of the press photos and videos truTV distributed the following morning highlighted the impromptu carnage.) It makes sense, for as anyone who watched Gethard Show during its public access days will tell you, the improvisational late-night program is all about surprises. “If one of these people wants to jump up and tackle me, we can’t stop them,” Gethard explained during a short opening monologue. “I don’t even want to stop them, because I think TV should be more real. I think there’s already enough overly-produced, overly-controlled TV that doesn’t respect you as much as it could.”
Pitting a chainsaw against a load-bearing wall notwithstanding, the real treat of Gethard Show‘s going live again is watching its many inevitable flubs happen in real time. Following the final commercial break, a wide shot of the studio meant to introduce musical guest Young Paris was interrupted when a slightly off-camera Gethard mouthed the words “we’re live right now” to those around him. “I didn’t even know we were live,” he exlaimed while gesturing to the Human Fish (David Bluvband), one of the show’s many goofy characters. “Fish, get the goggles on man. Don’t break kayfabe!” Meanwhile, a confused Young Paris began his performance in the background.