Why Did Max Joseph Leave Catfish?

For over a decade, MTV’s reality series Catfish has been one of the most popular shows on the network’s lineup. Focusing on the world of online dating, the show’s format exposed liars and cheats who used social media to trick their current or potential significant others into believing certain truths about their relationships. The show became popular due to its often dramatic content filled with teen angst and often aggressive conflicts, making it one of the most-watched shows during the latter part of the last decade.

Based on the documentary by Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman, the Catfish series was developed by Ariel Schulman’s brother, Nev. As they were developing the concept for the series, Nev wanted to know if Ariel’s friend Max Joseph would be interested in working on a pilot for MTV. 

According to Joseph’s 2016 article, “My Life As A Minor Celebrity,” Joseph recalls that he said yes because “he needed the money and thought that networks don’t usually pick up pilots.” Much to his surprise, MTV did pick up Catfish and Joseph was soon thrust into the position of co-host and co-developer in addition to being Nev’s cameraman. For seven seasons, Joseph’s calm demeanor and charming wit made him a fan favorite and the show’s popularity rose to mainstream fame, with both the show and its hosts referenced frequently in pop culture.

In 2014, Joseph took a leave of absence during the show’s fourth season to focus on his feature film directorial debut, We Are Your Friends starring Zac Efron. He returned after wrapping production on the film and continued to serve as the co-host on Catfish. In 2018, Joseph dropped a bombshell when he announced that he was leaving the series halfway through the show’s seventh season. The announcement shocked fans, as they had grown to love the chemistry between Joseph and Schulman over the years, prompting them to ask if the two had had a falling out.

In an Instagram post, Joseph explained his reason for the departure:

“Hey guys, the time has come, sadly, for me to move on from Catfish. Working on this show for the last seven years has been one of the most meaningful experiences of my life. I’ve learned a lot about myself, my country, and human nature in general. Nev and I have become brothers and our bromance has blossomed before your eyes. For a while now, I have been straddling two careers as a TV host and filmmaker and, while this level of busy-ness is a dream come true, my life can no longer sustain it. With Catfish still going strong after seven seasons, 115 episodes, 31 specials, and showing no sign of slowing down, I feel it is finally the time for me to make my exit.”

Nev also responded to Joseph’s departure with a heartfelt message:

“Max isn’t just a co-host, he’s a partner, therapist, and brother. His ability to listen, empathize, and advise is astounding and has made me a better man,” Schulman wrote. “I’m going to miss him a lot. He’s my best friend. Period.”

According to The Cinemaholic, Joseph has focused most of his time on making documentary films since leaving Catfish in 2018. He released the documentary BOOKSTORES: How To Read More Books In The Golden Age of Content in 2019 and is currently working with Monica Lewinsky on the documentary 15 Minutes of Shame for HBO Max. Outside of filmmaking, Joseph has also been spending time with his wife, Priscilla, and helping her run her accessories business, MAXCILA.

Who is the new Catfish co-host?

After Joseph’s departure in the 7th season, Shulman was joined by a rotation of guest hosts including actress Kimiko Glenn and basketball star Nick Young. But one guest host impressed MTV and Shulman so much that they were named the official replacement for Joseph: Kamie Crawford.

Crawford, a former beauty pageant winner and former Miss Teen USA, first appeared on the show in 2019. In January of the same year, she announced that MTV had decided to bring her on as a full-time, permanent host of the show. Of course, fans of the Schulman-Joseph dynamic raised concerns over MTV’s new choice, which Crawford had no problem addressing:

“Stop asking where @maxjoseph is. I told you – I tied him up and I’m holding him hostage in my broom closet. I don’t want to have to keep addressing this. It’s upsetting me and my homegirl!”

Despite the light humor, Crawford went on to express her respect for her predecessor on Twitter, saying, “NO ONE will ever replace @maxjoseph, but I feel so blessed and excited to be @NevSchulman’s new sidekick!!!” Currently, Crawford and Schulman are reportedly working on the next season of Catfish, but no release date for the new season has been announced.