“The Comedians” won’t be laughing to a second season.
— Ben Wexler (@mrbenwexler) July 23, 2015
Though the mockumentary-style series received great critical acclaim and packed impressive star power with an icon in Crystal and his impressive co-star Josh Gad, the half-hour laffer failed to bring in an audience. It also failed to receive Emmy recognition when the nominations were released last week.
“The Comedians” was a ratings laggard from the outset, with its premiere in April averaging 878,000 same-night viewers and 1.18 million viewers in Live+3, according to Nielsen. Its finale drew just 509,000 on June 25, and about 667,000 in Live+3.
Before the show premiered, Wexler told Variety that the show was a dream come true. “This has been the most gratifying experience of my career by far, and it’s also been incredibly exciting and incredibly fun. It’s really, really hard, but at the end of the day, it’s actually really simple because it’s just funny people being funny. When you give people who are genuinely hilarious the opportunity to be hilarious, it works.”
He added, “All I can do is hope it fits well in the TV comedy landscape. Your goal is to fit into the comedy landscape and also to not fit into it. I think that the shows that transcend, there is no sister show like it.”
Crystal and Gad also raved about their experience working together on set. “If you don’t have a thick skin and you’re unwilling to make fun of yourself, it’s an unpleasant place to go, and having a sparring partner like Billy Crystal, I don’t know if I could do it otherwise,” Gad said of sharing scenes with his idol.
As for Crystal, “Comedians” is a favorite project of his entire career. “What I saw was the potential to do what I grew up doing and what I love doing — I could be myself, I can play characters, we can do a live show,” he told Variety before the show’s debut. “I am so happy doing this show, if I never made another movie, I’d feel bad, but not terrible, because at this point of my life and my career, I get everything I want in this show.”