The pre-premiere promo for the Pete Holmes Show ran for what seemed like two months before the long-awaited moment finally arrived. It’s an interview-skit-silliness show, and it now follows Conan on TBS. A full half-hour with, as someone quipped, a “little known,” interviewing “little knowns.”
In his first monologue, Holmes set me back by mentioning he was the “only white man” at an Enrique Iglesias concert. He went on to say that everyone else at the Iglesias gig was a young Latino girl. Forgive me; I thought Latinos and Latinas were basically white. I could be wrong. Myself I even think black people are white. But as I was growing to find, Holmes is out of another place.
He does interviews. The feeling is, he is trying hard to shock the guests, not the audience, and to shake them up a bit. He asked one fellow, no script, off the cuff, “At what age did you stop kissing your father on the mouth?” The guest, nonplussed, made some non-committal remarks. Then Holmes clarified the issue; he told viewers in all seriousness, that he, Holmes, kissed his particular father, well on the mouth, until he was about 10 years old. He seemed to feel that that insight was quite fascinating. In the interview, with fellow stand-up comedian Kumail Nanijiane, he asked as off-topic as you please, “So, what do you think happens after we die?” Remember, this is supposed to be a funny show, and to that point, it wasn’t entirely clear Nanijiane, from Pakistan, comes from an Islamic background. Nanijiane stated the correct Islamic answer, which wasn’t particularly funny. Nanijiane took the exchange in stride. I found it a little awkward.
Here’s another thing. Holmes laughs at everything he says. He doesn’t laugh like Tim Conway, or Harvey Korman, who made a great success of the “crack-up laugh” in every skit. No. He laughs as if he can’t believe he’s actually on television. He laughs as if he really has no control. He covers his mouth, and sometimes his entire face, and seems like a kid who just swallowed your pet frog and is afraid it might come back up. . If you see the show, you’ll see what I mean. And you definitely have to see it. Again, it makes me feel just a little awkward.
Holmes mentions he was for a short time an “audience warm-up” comic for Jon Stewart, on Jon Stewart’s The Daily Show. By the time that bit of information came to my attention, I was already well up on why the “short time” applied.
There is something positive to say! Pete Holmes is not only a stand-up comedian, but also a cartoonist, whose work is sometimes seen in the New Yorker. In truth, some of his drawings are funny. Not timely, not world shaking; but funny. Here’s one:
I suspect we have here a young man from a wealthy background who managed to spend enough to get the Turner network to let him tie up a half hour each night. Maybe he hasn’t yet caught his breath. I think he might lose his shirt. And that segues nicely to one final anecdote. In one skit, he seems, and he really does seem, to be exposing himself fully and frontally naked to a young miss in his cast. He appears to be fairly comfortable; the young lady does not. I could be wrong; maybe it was funny.
I wish the man the best of luck. He thinks he’s John Ritter; unfortunately, he isn’t!