‘The Goldbergs’: How the Days Leading Up to Jeff Garlin’s Exit Reportedly Went

by Josh Lanier

Jeff Garlin said he hated The Goldbergs and only appeared in the series for a paycheck. The comic starred in the ABC show for a decade before he walked away last week following reports of inappropriate on-set behavior. Staffers on the series said he was “extremely verbally and emotionally abusive” to his colleagues.” Things were reportedly tense in the weeks leading up to him leaving the series.

Garlin, who played Murray in the show, railed against The Goldbergs during a stand-up set at the Hollywood Improve the day before Thanksgiving, Variety reported. This was two weeks before Vanity Fair reported Sony was investigating complaints made against him. They said the 59-year-old comic used inappropriate language and would hug people whether they were comfortable with it or not.

When people told him they didn’t like the touching, he would say it was just his nature. “He got away with it because he would call himself out for it—saying he was a big teddy bear, saying things like, ‘Oh you know me, just a big bowl of mush, I’m a hugger. I just love you,'” a source told Maureen Ryan with Vanity Fair.

Garlin laughed off the accusations but admitted Sony had opened an HR investigation into them more than three years ago. He said someone on set misunderstood a joke he made. He declined to repeat what he said.

“I am always a kind and thoughtful person,” Garlin told Ryan. “I make mistakes, sure. But my comedy is about easing people’s pain. Why would I ever want to cause pain in anybody for a laugh? That’s bullying. That’s just uncalled for.”

Staff members on the series, though, said Garlin made life miserable. They told Deadline that the mood would shift from happy to tense whenever he showed up on set.

“He is extremely verbally and emotionally abusive,” The Goldbergs employee said.

Jeff Garlin Addresses ‘The Goldbergs’ Complaints in Netflix Special

This isn’t the first time that people complained about Garlin’s behavior. He admitted in his 2019 Netflix special that Sony told him he needed to change how he behaved during the production of The Goldbergs.

In Jeff Garlin: Our Man In Chicago, the comic explained that crewmembers on the series took issue with a joke he made during filming and reported him to human resources. He told the crowd that he’d joked that “his vagina hurt” after sitting for an entire day in his underwear for an episode of the show. The company then requested a meeting with him.

“I get called in, and they go, ‘Look, you can’t do this.’ And I go, ‘Oh yes, I can.’ They go, ‘You might get fired.’ I go, ‘I’d love to be fired and have it hit the papers. Cover of TMZ: ‘Jeff Garlin Fired Because His Vagina Hurts,'” he says to big laughs. “I’m on a comedy. I’m a comedian. Let’s get over it. I don’t have a vagina. I think everyone knows that.”

Garlin said the real story isn’t about how he acted on set but about political correctness. He said it hamstrings comics as it’s their job to push the envelope on occasion.

Garlin’s departure from The Goldbergs is the second major shake-up on the series this year. George Segal, Albert “Pops” Solomon, died in March.