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Comedy CD/DVD Combo Review: Pete Holmes – Pete Holmes: Nice Try, The Devil

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An extended, uncensored CD/DVD Combo of comedian Pete Holmes’s May 12th Comedy Central stand-up special Pete Holmes: Nice Try, The Devil is set for release on May 14. The show features the comic’s patented brand of zany foolery ranging from asking his buddy Pierce to get beer and play Tears for Fears (a fan favorite) to his thoughts on the conflict between science and religion. It is a diverse routine that mixes large doses of clowning buffoonery with a dollop or two of controversy—but never so much controversy as to be too offensive, and always delivered with a kind of self-deprecating laughter that makes it hard to take umbrage. Holmes is a comic at the top of his game, and his set shows him at work with gusto.

He exudes good feeling, and his joy in what he is doing is contagious. His delivery is lively and animated. He is obviously enjoying himself, pausing as he relishes what he is going to say, giving a smile and a chuckle in anticipation, and then leading the laughter after the punch line is delivered. From the opening where he talks about how his mother mistakenly pronounced the name of Celine Dion, through the miracle of breast milk, to his concluding riff on dealing with telemarketers who have to listen to you, his material is original and entertaining—and what he does for the lowly otter (perhaps the finest, if not the only, comedic use of that neglected beast since Animal House) is gold, solid gold.

The quality of his material isn’t surprising. Holmes, after all, writes and does the voice in the wonderfully inventive “E*Trade Baby” commercials, and he has had cartoons published in the prestigious New Yorker magazine. His short videos appear on CollegeHumor.com, Tosh.O and Atom.com. He has appeared on Conan, and is scheduled to host a TBS late night talk show come this fall.

The DVD includes three bonus segments. There is his Comedy Central Presents appearance, plus two sets from John Oliver’s New York Stand-Up Show. Total bonus time is about 40 minutes of additional material.

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