I am writing to share the unfortunate news that ‘Joe Pera Talks With You’ is over for now.
We were driving home from Bethlehem, PA the morning after my final Spring Tour show when I got a call that it wouldn’t be renewed for another season.
“Ok, I know what to do” I thought, and stopped the car for some fast food. It was a lot to process, especially after meeting so many of you on the road who were so enthusiastic about it. I hadn’t done much touring since right after season one in 2018 and to feel such a welcome at each show was overwhelming (thank you if you came).
It was the best when I’d meet someone after a show and they’d mention they watched the Christmas Tree Special every December, or tell me that the sleep episodes actually work, or that they showed the series to their Dad and at first he hated it but now they watch it together regularly.
I thought about that as I ate my chicken sandwich and fries. I also thought about how we were really just getting going. This winter I spent three weeks in Marquette doing research (also drinking beer) and was filled with new ideas. But mostly, it’s a shame that the characters’ stories can’t continue. I knew where things were headed but I won’t say here cause part of me is holding out hope that sometime down the line we can film a proper ending for Joe, Sarah, the Melskys, Gene, Lulu, and most importantly, Fred the Sample Guy.
We had an idea where Fred starts a ‘Regret Club’ where people are encouraged to come and share things they regret most in their lives under the pretense that the club will help them find some resolution but Fred hasn’t planned that far ahead and everyone just gets pissed off at him.
At the same time, I thought about how lucky we were. The more I learn how TV works, the more I realize that it’s kind of a miracle that our quiet, 11-minute show about rocks, beans, grocery stores, and breakfast crews got on the air and lasted as long as it did.
I also felt very lucky that I was able to work with my close friends and recognized how special it was that all these funny people were working on the same thing for a period of time. There was always a little guilt that Jo Firestone and Conner O’Malley should be devoting energy to shows of their own, but hopefully they will be soon. As should all of the writers – Dan Licata, Nathan Min, Katie Dolan, Whit Conway, the editor, and of course, director Marty Schousboe.
Plus Jo Scott (Sue Melsky), Brad Howe (Brad Cam), Annie Donley (Diane Luten), Devin Bockrath (Debin Jaconski-Hammerschmidt), Carmen Christopher (Carlos), and many other comedians who were so funny in their characters.
And it was rare how much creative freedom we were given by the network. An episode where a guy recreates the 2001 film Rat Race with his friends that also realistically depicts the experience of losing a family member? Go for it. Cam, Walter, Mike, Keith and everyone else at Adult Swim supported our ideas and wanted us to make the show we wanted to make.
It felt like we cracked something – a different kind of tone that has now popped up a bit elsewhere. Kinda neat but also frustrating that we won’t be able to continue exploring it (at least with this show). Hey, if I never make anything else, this was the show I always wanted to see and I’m glad it now exists. But hopefully that’s not the case.
So what is next? Well, a credit card company proposed to me that we do a :30 version of the show. Like a show that goes between other shows and I hold up their credit card at the end. It sounded great to me so I said…just kidding, I would never.
I’m working on a few movie ideas, including ‘Postcard Men’ of course. It was a little discouraging when I showed it to a studio and they said that it was “too far ahead of its time” and that I should “shelve it for a couple decades til people are ready” but I’m going to keep moving forward with it anyhow.
And the tour has been great. I started out doing standup but for the past 4-5 years, most of the writing and bits I put together onstage have been folded into the tv show. Doing standup for standup’s sake is a treat and last week I decided that it’s time to film a special. If you come to one of the upcoming shows, I’m going to be working out the kinks and then trying to film in December. Maybe a network will want to do it, maybe not and I’ll do it myself but it’s time. And Marty has agreed to direct. And that’s what I’ve got for now.
A sincere thank you to everyone who made the show possible. To the many people who worked on it and gave so much of their talent and hard work to it. That especially includes the crew in Milwaukee, many of whom have been with the show from the start. And thank you for watching and supporting the show and helping it get as far as it did.
I’m sorry if this is disappointing news- there’s always fast food- but maybe I’ll see you at a live show this Summer or Fall and I will let you know when the next thing is rolling.