Wendi McLendon-Covey said during a recent interview with Andy Cohen for SiriusXM that Jeff Garlin’s exit from “The Goldbergs” was “a long time coming.” The two comedians headlined the ABC sitcom from its 2013 debut until December 2021, when Garlin was fired from the show after a series of HR investigations into his alleged misconduct on set.
“That was a long time coming,” McLendon-Covey said. “That it finally happened, it was like, ‘Ok, finally someone is listening to us. But that was kind of hard though because we had lost George Segal in real life. To have to go through another loss on a sitcom…you can’t keep asking your audience to mourn people. That’s not why they tune in.”
When Cohen asked if Garlin’s exit from the series was the result of complaints made over a long period of time, McLendon-Covey responded, “Yes.”
“If we could not talk about that, that would be great,” she then politely requested. “I’m exhausted by that topic and the PTSD of it all. I just feel like the less people know about that, the better. No one benefits from knowing anything.”
“The Goldbergs” was in the middle of filming its ninth season when Garlin was fired. He did not complete his work on the remainder of the season, which forced the production team to come up with methods to keep his character on the show in a reduced capacity.
As Variety exclusively reported, the producers decided to keep Garlin’s character on the show by using off-camera dialogue and unused takes pulled from earlier episodes, as well as previously shot images of Garlin. The actor’s stand-in was also used in group scenes, but he was shot from the back. The final result was visually awkward and earned so many complaints on social media that McLendon-Covey even weighed in at the time.
“This season threw us for a loop because it’s hard to incorporate someone who doesn’t want to be there and wants to leave mid-scene, and we weren’t about to rewrite the second half of the season,” the comedian wrote on Twitter at the time. “We’re doing our best.”
When “The Goldbergs” kicked off its 10th and final season last fall, the show killed off Garlin’s character. “The Goldbergs” series finale will air in May on ABC.
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