When I first reviewed Crashing, I admired the show for its intimate nutty look at the day to day of the average struggling comedian but found the show’s central figure, Peter Holmes too bland and upright in a NYC Comedy Scene often plagued with sketchy characters, drunks, and self-destructive narcissists. But this season they seemed to have taken my advice. They mellowed Pete’s character a little. Got him laid. lightened him up and made him more of an active agent in his own life.
Pete’s still the most square, awkward person in any room. His stand-up is self-deprecating and genuine. since club comics on these types of shows are often depicted as disgruntled cast-offs who resent and disdain their audiences, I find it refreshing, for once, to see a comedian who doesn’t want to secretly murder his audience. Pete’s not smarting from some career set-back or some personal pain. He’s not particularly angry at anything. Honestly, he seems to just want to make people laugh. To belong.
Crashing is also experimenting with is own form. One particularly effecting episode, “The Athiest” has Pete talking religion and philosophy with guest star, Magician Penn Jillette. in a casual, five minute conversation Jillette has Pete questioning his own faith in Christianity and willing to, however briefly, let his hair down and test his boundaries. Wow, Who knew Penn Gillette could get so deep? Sure, Raymond Teller… Now, Teller is a an endless fountain of philosophy… but Jillette?!!!
One of the shows best strengths is its ability to realistically show how friendships between comedians are forged on the road. Pete’s younger, “innocent brother” type seems to be catnip for comedians like Artie Lange or Bill Burr who quickly take Pete under their wing and try to snap Pete out of his earnest naivete. This season also has Pete finally acquire a normal romantic/friendship with a female comedian, Ally who is winningly played by Comedian Jamie Lee. She’s a struggling comic trying to piece together enough good footage a demo reel. Pete and Jamie’s relationship is as giggly and cringingly real and awkward as any new relationship. I hope they stay together for a while. So far their relationship seems the warmest and un-pretentious on television.
Less successful, however, is the show’s reliance on the stereotype of the nasty comedy club owner. Inevitably, these people are always portrayed as profit-motivated dicks. Once in a while, it might be okay for a club owner to be nice and actually try to encourage and mentor talent. I don’t think they would be breaking any Union Rules.
Another small weakness of the show is the actual comedy sets. It seems that whenever I see an autobiographical movie about a stand up, it seems like the writers always half-ass the actual bits. Pete’s forced bits about Roach Spray or how he physically resembles a dorky guy at a barbecue don’t seem the kind of stuff to set the comedy world on fire. Its like the comedians don’t want to part with any of the real gems of their acts for fear that, if “Crashing” gets cancelled or their characters get the boot, they won’t have anything left when they go back out on the road.
Ultimately, I’m happy I stuck with Crashing. Now, I look forward to watching it every week and having it as my stable Sunday Gig. If you haven’t checked it out yet, give it a shot. Sundays, 10:30 HBO.
Here’s my original, first review of “Crashing” : https://wp.me/p6Hm24-T0