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January 26, 2017

A New Frontier for Throwing Shade

A popular podcast duo takes their shtick to TV

Cathy Thompson-Georges
  • TV Land
  • TV Land
  • TV Land
  • TV Land
  • TV Land

Erin Gibson and Bryan Safi have worked together in a lot of venues.

Since first meeting as writer-performers at the legendary comedy troupe the Upright Citizens Brigade, they've teamed up to bring a signature blend of pop-culture patter and political commentary to audiences at live shows around the country, set earbuds buzzing with their popular podcast Throwing Shade, and taken their act to Youtube under the umbrella of comedy powerhouse Funny or Die.

Now, starting January 17th, TV Land will be the home of their new late-night show, also called Throwing Shade.

They introduce themselves at the beginning of each videocast episode as “feminasty Erin Gibson” “homosensual Bryan Safi,” and they mix LGBT and women's issues with straight-up topical silliness.

In a typical videocast, the Throwing Shade team might start out chatting about people who dress up as dolls, joke about doing foley work for X-rated films, and end up discussing Utah's court decision on gay marriage with a few jokes about blood diamonds thrown in. The two crack each other up easily, interrupt with asides, and throw in plenty of off-color quips.

They promise that TV won't change their style.

“One of our concerns was, could we be as unfiltered as we are on the podcast? Could we go after people as hard, be as raunchy – all those things. And TV Land said 'We WANT you to do all those things!” says Bryan. Will anything be off-limits? He considers a moment. “We know for sure we can say 'butthole,' so that's a big win!”

Which is not to say that Throwing Shade the TV show will be a carbon copy of Throwing Shade the podcast. For one thing, the show will have a live audience – a move Erin felt strongly about. “We thought it would be better for us, to key off an audience” as they do in their live performances, she says. In addition, TV will allow them to be far more visual, incorporating graphics and film clips.

Throwing Shade may be new to television, but Erin and Bryan are both veterans, each with a string of credits. Erin has been seen on Key and Peele, King of Queens, and many others, in addition to extensive videocast work at Funny or Die. And Bryan began his TV career as a staff writer for Ellen and is currently a recurring cast member on the show Young & Hungry, although he says that filming for the two shows won't have much overlap.

Erin adds, “But it's totally different, because on our show Bryan plays a gay man, and on that show he plays a gay man …”

“There are no nuances beyond 'gay man' in this industry,” Bryan laughs. “And [the Young & Hungry crew] is so excited that this show is finally happening.”

Although Throwing Shade is, by nature, going to be highly topical, the duo is working with a stable of writers and currently scripting portions of future episodes. “We're sticking with the format of our live shows, which is 70% scripted and 30% very loose,” says Bryan. Both hosts have extensive improv experience and enjoy riffing off each other, and the live audience may contribute to that dynamic as well.

Erin says that some of the topics to be covered include religious freedom laws, whether gay men should be allowed to donate blood, women in STEM fields, and maternity-leave policies. These are subjects the duo feels strongly about, but she promises that their approach won't be too solemn.

“For instance, I'll be talking about all the women who've been elected to Congress in a way that's hopefully not overly earnest, but still celebratory. We're going to have a good mix of really impactful issues to talk about that will be handled very differently on our show than they would be by Samantha Bee and John Oliver.”

Bryan adds, “We are not John Oliver, we are not Samantha Bee. They are brilliant. This is definitely a poppier, sillier version of what they do and hopefully you'll still get something out of it.”

“We are like your two smartest friends at brunch who are the most 'in,' telling you everything that you need to know about the week,” Erin sums up.

Whip up a pitcher of mimosas, because TV Land is hoping that Throwing Shade will be the late-night brunch that everyone is going to want to attend.

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