Big Lake is Comedy Central’s latest sitcom. It debuts tonight, August 17, 2010 at 10PM EST. Its Executive Producers are Will Ferrell and Adam McKay. It was originally set to star a slim Horatio Sanz, 30 Rock‘s Chris Parnell, and Napoleon Dynamite‘s Jon Heder. It now stars a slim Horatio Sanz, 30 Rock‘s Chris Parnell, and Chris Gethard.

Chris who? That’s the question the show’s producers and Comedy Central have been trying to answer in the weeks leading up to Big Lake’s premiere.

big-lake-comedy-centralGethard is a UCB regular, whose schtick “revolves around telling his mother illicit, inappropriate anecdotes from his childhood, tales from the bayous of the Garden State, and geeking out on everything from X-Men to amateur wrestling to Daryl Strawberry.” Despite a strong following in New York City’s comedy scene, Gethard’s still a relative unknown. He doesn’t yet have the name recognition to land appearances on Kimmel, Fallon, or Ferguson. So, instead of making the late night talk show rounds to garner publicity for Big Lake, Gethard made the rounds in online video.

In June, Comedy Central placed Gethard alongside Bobby Moynihan for the premiere episode of its Sobe-sponsored web series, Portable Lounge. In early August, Funny or Die (a website which Big Lake‘s Ferrel and McKay also founded) released an exclusive video, Discovering a TV Star featuring Gethard. And yesterday, Gethard appeared in a Big Lake-sponsored installment of College Humor’s Hardly Working as a cheesy, loving, verbally abusive, and very funny step dad.

The videos certainly don’t have the same reach as an appearance on late night TV, but with more than 42,000 views on Gethard’s Funny or Die short and a few hundred likes on his episode of Hardly Working, at least a few people know the name Chris Gethard that didn’t recognize it before. Once the ratings are in for tonight’s Big Lake premiere, we’ll see if making the online video rounds was worth the trip.

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