'The Goldbergs' Star Wendi McLendon-Covey Speaks out About Jeff Garlin's Abrupt Exit
Jeff Garlin's exit from The Goldbergs was a "long time coming," Wendi McLendon-Covey said this week. As The Goldbergs prepares to end its 10th and final season, McLendon-Covey said Garlin's firing made her and the cast feel like they were finally being listened to. Garlin left partway through Season 9 due to HR complaints and his character was killed off-screen before the Season 10 premiere.
During an interview with Andy Cohen for the Bravo chief's SiriusXM radio show on Tuesday, McLendon-Covey said Garlin's exit wasn't as sudden to them as it was to the audience. "And that it finally happened it was like, 'OK, OK. Finally, someone is listening to us,'" she said, reports PEOPLE. However, McLendon-Covey declined to share details of the allegations against her on-screen husband.
"I feel like the less people know about [Garlin's allegations], the better," McLendon-Covey told Cohen. "No one, no one benefits from knowing anything." She added that she is "exhausted" from "the PTSD" of working with Garlin for nearly nine seasons.
Garlin confirmed there was a human resources investigation into his behavior during a December 2021 interview with Vanity Fair. "There has been an HR investigation on me [for] the past three years. HR has come to me three years in a row for my behavior on set," he told the magazine.
In that same interview, Garlin admitted he made mistakes but he didn't want to cause pain with his comedy. "I'm on a comedy show. I am always a kind and thoughtful person," Garlin said. "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." At the time of the interview, Garlin made it sound as if he was leaving the show on his own terms because he was "bored" with the show.
After Garlin left, producers kept his character, Murray Goldberg, alive but limited his appearances onscreen. They used stand-ins, outtakes, and even CGI. When a critic mocked how poorly the CGI was done, McLendon-Covey defended the series, noting they were doing the best they could under the circumstances. Producers ultimately decided to kill off Murray. In December, Garlin booked a role on Mindy Kaling's Netflix series Never Have I Ever.
The Goldbergs was created by Adam F. Goldberg and began as a sitcom loosely inspired by his childhood in 1980s suburban Philadelphia. Goldberg left the show in 2019, and it continued without using his real home videos as inspiration for the show. The series airs Wednesdays at 8:30 p.m. ET on ABC, with the series finale scheduled for May 3.