The Comedians is a mockumentary that premiered on FX in 2015. It is based on the Swedish series Ulveson And Herngren.
Billy Crystal and Josh Gad, as fictionalized versions of themselves, are forced to work together on an FX sketch comedy series titled The Billy and Josh Show. Neither can stand the other, they have wildly differing views on what makes comedy, but their careers are at a point when they have no choice but to grit their teeth and go with it. The conflict that occurs behind the scenes is documented by a camera crew for a documentary about the sketch show's production.
Not related to The '70s British show of the same name.
This show provides examples of:
- Actor Allusion: The pilot has Billy reenacting Meg Ryan's famous deli scene from When Harry Met Sally....
- Also, The Billy and Josh Show's production offices are loaded with references to the two leads' careers and other FX shows.
- Ambiguously Gay: Josh can't seem to go an episode without alienating Billy by mentioning something he once did with a dildo, or offhandedly suggesting he or someone else suck Billy's dick.
McG: ... it's like, you know, if you suck three cocks, you're gay...
- Maybe its just everybody who has a brief, private moment with Billy.
- Aside Glance: In keeping with the show's mockumentary style, characters occasionally glance directly into the camera lens.
- Adam Westing: Billy Crystal and Josh Gad play fictionalized versions of themselves. Larry Charles also appears as himself.
- Executive Meddling: In-Universe. Billy was originally supposed to have a show called The Billy & Billy Show, a sketch show where he plays all the characters. FX executives force him to retool the premise out of fear that his being the only cast member will be audience-alienating and force him to accept Josh as a co-host by dangling the promise of a full season pickup.
- Gilligan Cut: Seen in "Misdirection":Billy: "I saw Larry at an event the other night, and he's still a little miffed."(Cut to Larry screaming at Billy in a Cluster F-Bomb rant.)
- I'm a Humanitarian: One sketch has Josh (as a rural chef) feeding Billy (as Anthony Bourdain) human testicles and anus. See Vomit Indiscretion Shot for the reaction.
- Irony:Billy: ...on the plus side, we just saved $5000.(Cue rock hitting the rear window of Billy's Prius.)Josh: I'll split it with you.
- Is This Thing Still On?: If you don't know how to use the hold function on a phone, you shouldn't try. Or maybe Kristen is just lazy; her face when Billy tells her to put them back on screams that she fully knows that Denis heard every word.
- Mockumentary: The premise is that the show is a behind the scenes look at the creation of The Billy and Josh Show. There are glimpses of the camera crew in certain shots.
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: Regardless of the fact that this is an FX series, and the walls of his office are covered in actual posters for other actual FX series, John Landgraf neither lent himself nor his name to an actor portraying "FX President Denis Grant".
- Spiritual Successor: to The Larry Sanders Show.
- The Stoner: Josh and his roommate like to get high. As does Billy (although he refuses to smoke on camera). Billy and Josh spend half of one episode wandering around a supermarket completely baked.
- Talking Heads: The show features on-camera interviews.
- Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: Billy and Josh don't respect each other and have very different ideas about what's funny. But they're stuck with each other because the show is the only thing going on in their careers at the moment.
- Vomit Indiscretion Shot: Testes are delicious, until you realize what animal they come from... twice. And ass, which is fine, unless cleaned a bit improperly.