Review: Crashing (Season 1, Episode 1)

The name Pete Holmes might not ring any bells with people on the outskirts of the New York stand-up circuit but his act certainly resonated with the prolific Fred Decorvoda of comedy, Judd Apatow. When Pete (as a veiled version of himself) is about to spontaneously have sex with his wife on the kitchen floor, he awkwardly makes a joke about “10 CC’s of Dawn” for his hands. From that point onward, the show has established Holmes’ comical persona as a tongue-tied nebbish whose mileage can vary based on your preference for cringe humor.

The half-hour format is optimal for sitcoms like this but the show is not stringently original in its concept. The fact that a comedian’s life is normally a shambles of neurotic setbacks is a trail that was blazed by Seinfeld, Marc maron and most currently, the brilliantly mumblecore stream-of-consciousness of FX’s Louie.

It’s too early in the series to see if the show will escape the vortex of those previous shows but it is intermittently funny and less noxious than Mike Judge’s Silicon Valley. The scene where Holmes interrupts extramarital sex with his wife and Lief, an oblivious art teacher, has been recycled dozens of times.

Since the show itself is on a brittle foundation, the show must rest solely on the supporting cast which is comprised of seasoned clowns like Artie Lange, Sarah Silverman and Jeffrey Ross. Artie’s critique of Holmes’ “set” is scathingly funny when he compares it to his cousin admitting to child molestation.

As such a comedian funneling his pain into a “raw” portion of his act, is pretty stale but the “crash and burn” aftermath is usually ignored. Obviously most of Lange’s autobiographical dialogue has been ad-libbed which probably accounts for why it is so off-the-cuff and generally hilarious about the drug-fueled downturn during his MADTV tribulations. It’s during the slice-of-pizza conversation that the show is lively and unfettered sans the Murphy’s Law contrivances. If the show continues down this lane and abandons the homogeneous plotline, it can be an amiable sleeper.

Rating: 3.25 out of 5

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