Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Josh Gad Plays Faux Version of Himself on 'Comedians'

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Josh Gad Plays Faux Version of Himself on 'Comedians'

Article excerpt

PASADENA, Calif. - Celebrities playing fictional versions of themselves is quickly becoming a TV programming subgenre, from HBO's "Curb Your Enthusiasm" to Showtime's "Episodes" and now FX's "The Comedians" (10 p.m. Thursday).

In this latest venture, Billy Crystal and rising comic star Josh Gad play versions of themselves when they get paired to star in an FX sketch comedy series, "The Billy & Josh Show." Coming from different generations, their comedy cultures clash and comedy-of- the-uncomfortable moments ensue.

Mr. Gad, a 2003 graduate of Carnegie Mellon University's acting program, plays the "Comedians" version of Josh Gad as more insincere and vacuous than he would like to be perceived in real life. Faux Josh did attend CMU, but Faux Josh is not married with two daughters as Mr. Gad is in real life.

"It's much more an exercise in ego and id than I am hopefully capable of in my real life," Mr. Gad said in a January interview during the TV critics' winter press tour. "I think I'm much more grounded and much less of a ninny. And I think the Josh Gad in the universe of the show is a lot more insecure and wears those insecurities on his sleeve in oftentimes amusing ways and is much more threatened than I am. It's about heightening the meta quality of that version of myself."

Mr. Gad said because he is less of a known quantity than Mr. Crystal, the show's writers are able to take more liberties with his character.

"Billy has a legacy that runs far longer than mine," Mr. Gad said. "He's been in the spotlight close to 40 years, and there's an enormous wealth of preconceived ideas built up over that time. I'm newer on the scene, and we can sort of cloud and blur the lines between reality and this faux world."

Mr. Gad got his big break in 2011 starring in the original Broadway production of the musical "The Book of Mormon," but before that he had a starring role in 2007's high-profile Fox flop, Pittsburgh-set TV news sitcom "Back to You. …

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