American television execs are great at “borrowing” TV shows from other countries. We have “The Returned,” pilfered from France, “The Office,” and “House of Cards” based on better versions by the Brits. “Ugly Betty,” a rip-off of a Colombian telenovela, “The Bridge” from Denmark , “Homeland” from Israel, “Deal or No Deal” from the Netherlands, and now “The Comedians” from the Swedes on FX. The thing about “The Comedians” is that it brings Billy Crystal back to the tube. “When I was sent the Swedish show called ‘The Comedians,’ I was bowled over in the first five minutes,” he says.
“I was not looking to do anything at that time, and I said, ‘Well, Sweden? How could this be funny? It’s dark at noon and then they drink?’ And then these two comedians were so inspired. The show was so great. Within five minutes I said, ‘I could do this show. I could like doing this show.’ And the reason why is because I get to play an extended version of myself, which is great. I get to do live sketches in front of a live audience. I get to do these film pieces. I get to have crazy fun like that and work with incredible people.”