The AV Club had some nice words to say about us in their year end write ups. “There is no more surprising or addictive show on TV” is such a cool thing to read, especially from an organization that’s such a reliable tastemaker for the exact type of obsessive compulsive weirdos I hope find and enjoy TCGS. We showed up on a few of their year end lists and apparently came very close to making their overall list of top 30 television shows for the year. (Shoutout to David Sims and Steve Heisler for their support and kind words.) So cool!
I don’t know if I’m just in a reflective mood or whatever, but getting in this article really put me in a place to think about the show and the people working on it and the people supporting it and I just wanted to offer a big THANK YOU to all those people and to share some thoughts:
We aren’t supposed to be able to get on lists like this. We just aren’t. We’re a public access TV show, for Christ’s sake. The idea that we’re starting to make small waves at a place like The AV Club is so motivating and encouraging - public access is supposed to be a dead medium, only for oddballs and castoffs, and not something where you make stuff that spreads to even the mildest of critical acclaim. I’m very proud to be part of the tradition of people who have come up for air and shown that if you work hard and put thought and effort into what you do, it’s a medium that can exceed expectations.
More and more people have been saying stuff to me like “I can’t believe no one on cable has picked up your show yet”. That’s very nice to hear, and I gotta say I’m not sure what to do about it besides continuing to work hard and enjoy the ride. To get the writeup mentioned above, coupled with New York Magazine calling me the Carson of Cable Access, the New York Times calling us a riveting experiment… these are all huge motivators and welcomed kind words from institutions everyone involved in the show respects, and to me they’re the sort of moments along this journey that make me think “You’re on to something. Keep going.”
So I don’t know… maybe someday a network will take a chance on us? We’ll all see together. I feel like that is part of the story of what this show is, and all the people who are on board and being a part of things and rooting for us now all know that they’re in on the ground floor of whatever this becomes - whether it turns out to be a tv show on a more traditional platform, or finds a way to use the internet to circumvent the traditional system, or whether we eventually have to move on because the weight of making an hour of content each week gets to be too much and all we leave behind is many hours of archived footage I’m insanely proud of, everyone making and watching the show really is in on it together. I continue to be surprised by what this thing has become, and I know there are hundreds of people in the studio and at their tv’s and computers helping it mutate into its own strange beast more with each episode.
I try my best to be a humble person and to keep my head down and focus only on the work. But I can just feel it in my bones that if we ever do get a shot on a broader platform, we aren’t going to squander it. We’re going to fucking crush it.
My whole perspective on this thing has always been - the longer it takes for someone to take a chance on us, the more ready we’re going to be. And the more fans we can gather, the more press we can get during that window, the less right a development executive has to fuck with the show if and when it does move on. They’re just giving us more time to find our voice, more time to establish what we are, more time to build a dedicated army of losers who are all on board, and the more those things have time to germinate, the more creative control we will have earned once we do get there.
I have a feeling that a new part of our journey is probably on the way - there’s going to be some shows that come down the pike that fans of ours start to see reflections of TCGS in. There’s going to be things that happen on cable tv in the next year or two where tweets from the TCGS faithful erupt and say “They’re ripping you off!” I expect that. I gleefully await it. It will be frustrating, but it will challenge us to set the bar higher and to use the insane amount of freedom we have on public access to bend things even more and go to places no one else can.
And that New York Times review a few months back was right - I do have a chip on my shoulder. I’m not looking to make threats. I’m not looking to be cocky. I’m just looking to be honest when I say that when someone does finally take a chance on making this our jobs, we are going to work round the fucking clock to make sure this thing hits. I don’t want TCGS to be a cult thing. I don’t want it to be a niche. I want it to take over. In a dream world I’m not some niche oddball, in the dream world I’m the next Letterman.
And when we do get that chance and we do make that happen, I want everyone who was around for Random Jean, Sandwich Night, The Harlem Studio, The Hintmaster, and the Human Crane to feel like we all did this together. We are going to be soldiers working for the platform that allows us the opportunity to attain those heights. We will live and die for that platform, whatever it is. A network. An online distributor. Whatever it is, if there’s one thing the TCGS architects have proven, it’s that we’re united and loyal and we go to bat for our own. And honestly? Everyone who passed on the chance to put us in front of more viewers, the people who rolled their eyes at or got scared of what we’re building here, who felt like it was too chaotic, not safe enough for them, who didn’t see why it was funny or unique - those people better just get out of the fucking way.
2012 was such a great year for me and such a great year for the show. Thanks to everyone watching it. You guys don’t know how much it means to me and how much I really enjoy knowing who you all are. There’s hundreds of kids whose names I know and whose support I appreciate - whenever we hear them I’m encouraged and elated. From Calstead to Jack Klugman to Sudo to Shelby, Swagner, Kara, Fletch and Zac down at Asbury, to Andrea Streeter, to Todd from Pittsburgh, to Jen Engel, to Jackie and Frankie, Omar, Dan, Orlando, Julia, Bean, and all the other die hards who make their way to that studio and have become part of the family, Jesse @Misc on Twitter, to Stellan, beba, Deneece and Sophie, Pitchel, Caroline, the kid from West Virginia who was gonna get the Murf tattoo, the kid from Texas who got the Lose Well tattoo, the Hooks family of Denver, the kids in Buffalo watching the show together, Stu Garrity, Andres, Naomi, Kristie, Talia, Claire from Oakland, Alyssa, Meredith, Millie, all the Chat Rats and SO MANY MORE PEOPLE WHO come to, watch, call and reach out online about this show, you have NO IDEA how much you mean to me. I just forgot hundreds of kids - trust me, I keep an eye peeled for when you faithful reach out - your opinions matter to me, your support encourages all of us, I love you goons.
And I don’t think it needs to be said that I am personally privileged to know that this odd thing that stupidly has my name on it has become a home for some of the most talented people in so many areas. Shannon, Bethany, Bluvband, Murf, Phil, Connor, Dan Klein, Dennie and Sharp, Gulya, Riley, Jersey Dave, Soltys, Feitel, Kelley, Shy Rachel, Hess, Emma Noble, Dru, JD, Noah, Cory Palmer, Ken Beck, Cotnoir, Mimi, the LLC, Haskel, Malone, Parrish, Zane, Heidi, Kiri, Eppink, Rich, Jeannette, Bethea, Jesse V, Intern Emma, Intern Kate, Dan Black, Clif, Brian, Darren, all these people who make this show and are on this show and have turned it into this thing, we are doing it, whatever it is. I know sometimes it doesn’t feel like there’s an end in sight, and maybe there isn’t, but MAYBE THERE IS. And when that end gets here, my plan is that all of us continue to do this together as we have been and as we should continue to do.
There’s all these people I’ve met through this show, artists and oddballs who have become friends, musicians who have become allies like Dolchnakov, Bad Credit No Credit, Mal, Laura Stevenson, so many more, there’s artists, filmmakers, other public access weirdos like Jason Martin, the Freeky Deeky guys, just people who reach out and let us know we should keep going and it means everything to me and us. There are just so many people whose words and support mean so much.
So many people to thank, and so many I’m sure I’m forgetting and I already feel bad knowing that’s definitely the case. Thank you. A million times over, thank you.
So to reiterate: I’m happy I get to do what I do. Sometimes I complain and often I stress, but I am so so lucky to be at the helm of this thing. I work with supremely talented people. More and more people and places are finding out about us. We’re close to something big, I can feel it. And when it comes, we’re not fucking around.