HBO’s Crashing offers a new spin on an established TV genre, and the Pete Holmes series is as thoughtful as it is hilarious.
By Megan McLachlan
A lot of TV shows about comedians follow established acts (Seinfeld, Louie), those trying to adapt to changing times (The Comedians), and then those who really don’t give a F*** anymore (Curb Your Enthusiasm). HBO’s Crashing, starring Pete Holmes and from executive producer Judd Apatow, is none of the above, and ultimately a refreshing take on a familiar genre.
Holmes, on the show, is not an established comic. Instead he’s a former pastor who relies on his wife (lovely Lauren Lapkus) to support him as he tries his hand in comedy, something, from the sound of it, he’s been trying his hand at for a while now.
“It’s like a wife supporting her husband through medical school,” he insists throughout the pilot episode.
Only the outcome of medical school is a job with $900,000 salary, says comic Artie Lange, who plays himself in the series and HAS to be what SNL‘s Bobby Moynahan models “Drunk Uncle” after.
The first episode titled “Artie Lange” is written by Holmes and directed by Apatow, and is reminiscent of Apatow’s film Funny People with its candid take on stand-up comedy. But Crashing doesn’t follow standard formula.
After he finds out his wife is cheating on him, Pete heads to a comedy club in Manhattan to get his mind off of it, but soon finds himself on stage when an act doesn’t show. In most TV series, this is the point in the episode where Pete takes the stage and floors everyone with his frank comedy based on actual events in his life. But this is not the case. He flops and does not pull a Tig Notaro (who notably took the stage after a cancer diagnosis), where he’s able to make comedy out of tragedy.
What makes this show interesting is that in addition to making commentary on the culture surrounding stand-up comedy and what it takes to make it big, it also has a thoughtful plot about a man being forced to start a new life on his own, especially after he confesses that his wife does everything for him and has been the only woman he’s ever really been with.
Sounds like there’s a lot of material for future acts—and episodes.