‘I’m doing the best I can’: Former The Goldbergs star Jeff Garlin reveals he has bipolar disorder… after exiting the show following claims of inappropriate ‘verbal and physical conduct’ on set
Former The Goldbergs star Jeff Garlin has revealed that he suffers from bipolar disorder, which is a mental disorder that causes extreme mood swings that range from mania to depression.
The actor/comedian’s reveal comes nine months after he abruptly exited the ABC sitcom following claims of inappropriate ‘verbal and physical conduct’ on set.
‘Bipolar is a motherf****er. Sometimes it’s just too much to deal with. I’m doing the best I can,’ penned Garlin, 60, in an Instagram post published Tuesday.
He noted that this is ‘the first time that I’ve opened up about’ dealing with bipolar disorder, before concluding with the hashtag ‘#bipolar.’
Mental health: Former The Goldbergs star Jeff Garlin has revealed that he suffers from bipolar disorder, which is a mental disorder that causes extreme mood swings; Garlin seen in 2017
Late last month, showrunners for The Goldbergs dished to Entertainment Weekly that Garlin’s character Murray Goldberg has been killed off the show.
‘Well, [Garlin is] not going to be on the season, obviously. [Murray] will have passed, and we are sort of starting from a place of multiple months removed from his death,’ co-showrunner Alex Barnow said.
‘The family has already grieved, unlike Pops [George Segal] and the premiere of season 9 where they’re dealing with it sort of very freshly. This is going to be a family that has not reconciled the fact that their father’s gone but has sort of moved on and has dealt with a lot of that.
‘So we’re starting with optimism about a baby coming and looking forward to the future. It’s an opportunity for this interesting emotional basis for the way people are behaving.
‘But Jeff won’t be in the series this year, and so far the stories have been largely about looking forward rather than looking back.’
‘Bipolar is a motherf****er. Sometimes it’s just too much to deal with. I’m doing the best I can,’ penned Garlin, 60, in an Instagram post published Tuesday
Exit: The actor/comedian’s reveal comes nine months after he abruptly exited the ABC sitcom following claims of inappropriate ‘verbal and physical conduct’ on set; Garlin seen in The Goldbergs with co-star Wendi McLendon-Covey
Barnow also admitted he was not certain Garlin was aware of his character’s fate, though was ‘assuming’ the comic knew his character had died.
‘I’ve had a conversation with Jeff and he’s aware that he’s not being replaced. The truth is, I don’t know if he knows what his fate is, but I’m assuming he knows, would be the answer to that question.
‘We haven’t had a subsequent conversation since the beginning of writing that he would have any specific clarity on that.’
The 10th season of The Goldbergs will premiere on ABC on September 21.
Nearly a year ago, Garlin suddenly departed The Goldbergs following an HR investigation into the claims made against him.
He came to a mutual agreement with Sony Pictures Television to leave the production immediately, Deadline reported in December 2021.
According to the publication, Garlin only had a single day of shooting left for the series’ ongoing ninth season, which began airing in September.
Killed off: Late last month, showrunners for The Goldbergs dished to Entertainment Weekly that Garlin’s character Murray Goldberg has been killed off the show; Garlin seen in 2017
‘Well, [Garlin is] not going to be on the season, obviously. [Murray] will have passed, and we are sort of starting from a place of multiple months removed from his death,’ co-showrunner Alex Barnow said; Garlin seen with co-star Wendi McLendon-Covey
Following news of his departure from The Goldbergs, it was reported that Garlin had been replaced by his regular stand-in to wrap up his character’s story.
The body double stood in for Garlin’s body, while the comedian’s face will later be digitally superimposed, sources told Deadline in December.
In his lengthy interview with Vanity Fair, Garlin defended himself following an alleged altercation with two stand-ins, but it’s unclear if the person who replaced him in the episode was one of those people.
The Curb Your Enthusiasm actor reportedly canceled his Covid-19 test on what would have been his last day.
Sources on set revealed that executives visited days earlier at night to address ‘the elephant in the room’ of Garlin’s departure, while also congratulating everyone on filming the series’ 200th episode.
‘It feels a little surreal that he will never be here again but the mood on the set is ecstatic,’ said a person who witnessed the visit. ‘In fact several people cheered when the execs said that Jeff would not be returning.’
Deadline reported that Garlin was abruptly exiting The Goldbergs following an HR investigation.
The standup comedian admitted in a lengthy interview with Vanity Fair earlier in December that he had been investigated multiple times by HR over complaints of inappropriate touching and offensive language, though he claimed at the time that he had not been fired.
Assumption: Barnow also admitted he was not certain Garlin was aware of his character’s fate, though was ‘assuming’ the comic knew his character had died; Jeff Garlin, Wendi McLendon-Covey, and George Segal seen in The Goldbergs
Sources claimed to The Hollywood Reporter that Garlin wasn’t expected to stick with the series if it was renewed, and it’s currently unclear how the show will address his absence.
A combination of his body double and previously shot but unused footage of Garlin was incorporated to complete the season.
He starred as the patriarch Murray Christian Goldberg, who is married to Beverly Goldberg, played by Wendi McLendon-Covey. The autobiographical comedy series is inspired by creator Adam F. Goldberg’s childhood in the 1980s.
Following Garlin’s interview with Vanity Fair, in which he defended himself against complaints from on set, his coworkers spoke with Deadline anonymously.
The described conditions on set as being relatively professional and cordial, though the atmosphere allegedly turned sour when he was on set to film.
‘He is extremely verbally and emotionally abusive,’ one employee claimed.
One source alleged that a camera assistant complained to her department head about Garlin’s use on set of the word ‘vagina,’ which he admitted to using in his interview.
After he learned of the complaint, Garlin reportedly put his hands around the camera assistant’s face and repeatedly said the word to her.
He also allegedly made a variety of off-color sex jokes that offended some crew members.
The comedian reportedly had a tendency to refer to some female crew members by nicknames, some of which they found offensive.
Elsewhere in his Vanity Fair interview, Garlin defended himself after he was accused of having a ‘physical and verbal’ incident with a stand-in.
He’s out: Garlin mutually decided with Sony to leave ABC’s comedy The Goldbergs immediately following several HR investigations, Deadline reported last year; seen November 2021 in Burbank
Speaking out: Following a defensive interview with Vanity Fair, his coworkers anonymously claimed that he was ‘extremely verbally and emotionally abusive’ on set; seen with McLendon-Covey on The Goldbergs
A person who claimed to have witnessed the incident said that he screamed at a female stand-in, ‘Why are you always in my way? Get the f*** out of my way,’ as she walked in front of him down a ramp.
He allegedly then told her husband, also a stand-in, to ‘tell your wife to get the f*** out of my way.’
Sources described this incident as ‘the straw that broke the camel’s back,’ and it allegedly led to new HR complaints.
‘Not just would he intimated that woman, he would then turn around and belittle and embarrass her husband,’ the eyewitness said. ‘This is just the grossest abuse of power.’
Sources contended that during the few times when Garlin was on set after the incident, his offensive behaviors continued and he even mocked the HR investigations.
Garlin denied claims he behaved inappropriately on the set of The Goldbergs during his interview with Vanity Fair.
The standup comedian, who has been part of the main cast since the series premiered in 2019, claimed that he was still part of the series in a lengthy interview.
The actor also downplayed allegations that he told inappropriate language on set and defended himself as a ‘person who hugs’ after sources reportedly complained about being touched by him.
Garlin was said to have ‘engaged in a pattern of verbal and physical conduct on set that made people uncomfortable’ from three people who formerly worked on the show.
Rude behavior: Garlin allegedly told a female stand-in to ‘get the f*** out of my way’ after filming a scene and repeated the comment to her husband, who is also a stand-in; still from The Goldbergs
One of the sources noted that they weren’t personally made uncomfortable by his behavior, though they other people thought it was ‘demeaning or unprofessional.’
The insiders claimed that some people on set were made uncomfortable by the actor touching or hugging them, though it’s unclear if any of the offended parties told him that they were uncomfortable.
‘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,” one source claimed.
In his interview, Garlin made it clear that he was still working on the series.
‘No, I was not fired from The Goldbergs. I have not been fired from The Goldbergs,’ he said.
In a statement sent to People, a spokesperson for Sony Pictures Television wrote: ‘The well-being of our cast and crew is of utmost importance to us. This is an employment matter and it is being addressed by HR and production.’
After he was asked about an incident with a stand-in that was described as both ‘physical and verbal,’ Garlin denied that there was any physical component to the altercation.
‘And the verbal part was a joke that was completely missed,’ he continued, adding that he personally like the man and his wife, who were unnamed.
‘If someone misses a joke, that’s unfortunate to me. I don’t like it,’ he said, though he refused to disclose what the joke was, only calling it ‘silly’ and saying it was ‘misconstrued.’
The comedian denied that he had ever ‘sent a text to a Goldbergs colleague saying that they should go to the next table-read wearing only panties.’
‘I didn’t write those words. And I’d like to see the text and who I sent it to,’ he replied. ‘But everything that I write like that is about joking. I am respectful of women and women’s bodies. And I don’t make jokes about that, because I don’t find it funny.’
Pleading his case: Garlin previously denied claims he had ‘engaged in a pattern of verbal and physical conduct on set that made people uncomfortable’ in an interview with Vanity Fair; seen in 2018 in Burbank, Calif.
Fighting back: Garlin stressed that he hadn’t been fired from ABC’s The Goldbergs and claimed that one complaint about him from a stand-in was over a joke ‘that was completely missed’; still from The Goldbergs
Garlin claimed there was ‘no story’ behind the allegations, and suggested it was all a misunderstanding over his attempts to bolster his humor.
‘My opinion is, I have my process about how I’m funny, in terms of the scene and what I have to do. [Sony] feels that it makes for a quote ‘unsafe’ workspace,’ he said.
‘I am always a kind and thoughtful person. I make mistakes, sure. But my comedy is about easing people’s pain,’ he continued. ‘Why would I ever want to cause pain in anybody for a laugh? That’s bullying. That’s just uncalled for.’
Garlin continued, saying that ‘HR has come to me three years in a row for my behavior on set.’
He didn’t say what set off the investigations but claimed they were over ‘silly’ matters.
‘If I said something silly and offensive, and I’m working at an insurance company, I think it’s a different situation,’ the comic argued.
‘If I, as the star of the show, demanded a gun range and on set, and I was firing guns every day and I was a little bit loose — to me, that’s an unsafe work atmosphere,’ he continued. ‘If I threatened people, that’s an unsafe work atmosphere.
‘None of that goes on ever with me. That’s not who I am,’ he said, adding that there was ‘no big story’ unless it was framed around ‘political correctness.’
Garlin then denied any kind of physical misconduct and and said that anyone complaining about his verbal conduct on set ‘has it out for’ him.
As for the question of unwanted hugs, the Curb Your Enthusiasm star said people on set who never want to be hugged by him tell him that.
Touchy feely: Garlin admitted he’s a ‘person who hugs for sure’ after he was confronted with complaints, but said he wished offended people would have told him or a producer before HR; seen in 2019 in NYC with Netflix COO Ted Sarandos
‘I am a person who hugs for sure. And it’s quick hugs, but I didn’t realize that anyone was feeling — so if you want to write that story, that’s a true story,’ he said. ‘It puts the onus on them to say something, and I would gladly respect anyone who said, ‘Please don’t hug me. I don’t feel comfortable.”
However, he said that ‘HR has never said a word to me about hugs.’
Garlin did agree that hugging that made someone uncomfortable would be ‘wrong.’
In response to a question about Garlin allegedly ‘saying things on set that make people feel uncomfortable and demeaned,’ he claimed it was just his ‘silliness on set’ and said he thought it was acceptable behavior in the workplace, while again saying he wished the offended parties had told him or one of the producers about their concerns before bringing the matter up with HR.
Although he again reiterated that he had not been fired, he indicated that negotiations were ongoing about his future with the series.
‘We’re trying to come to a place where we come to an agreement,’ he said. ‘Either I can behave the way [they want] or not. We’ll see, but I’m not being fired and I’ve not been fired.’
He also said he would ‘not be doing any of my silly stuff or anything, out of respect,’ when he returned to work.
Garlin wound down the interview by claiming he almost hadn’t returned for the ninth season because he was ‘bored’ by filming on it, and he suggested the series might not even be renewed for a tenth season.
Tired of it: Garlin said he almost left before filming the ninth season because he was ‘bored’ with The Goldbergs and suggested it might not be renewed for a tenth season; still from The Goldbergs