TCA 2015: ‘The Comedians': Laughing so hard it hurts

Billy Crystal, Josh Gad
Billy Crystal, left, and Josh Gad, who star in “The Comedians,” appeared on a panel Sunday during the Television Critics Assn. winter tour in Pasadena.
(Frederick M. Brown / Getty Images)

Billy Crystal thinks there are moments in his latest show, FX’s “The Comedians,” that will make viewers squirm. And that makes him quite pleased.

“That makes for great TV, and we love that challenge,” Crystal said of the show, which stars him and Josh Gad (“Frozen”) as extended versions of themselves.

Based on a Swedish series, “The Comedians" revolves around a veteran comedian who is forced to work with a younger, hotter comic.

Gad, who stars in the just-opened film “The Wedding Ringer,” said there were moments when the real-life connections between the characters became so real that things were potentially tense.


“This was a situation where we had to know where our ego might take a hit, and it would get ugly for all the right reasons,” Gad said. “We have to do dangerous things to each other.”

The series, which premieres April 9, is Crystal’s first TV series since he starred in “Soap,” which ran from 1977 to 1981. Although he was not looking for a TV project, he said he was “bowled over in the first five minutes” when he saw the Swedish show and realized the possibilities.

“I get to play an extended version of myself,” Crystal said. “I get to do live sketches in front of a live audience, I get to do film pieces. It reinforces and reinvigorates everything I love to do. And I get to do it with these great people.”