Executive Producer Judah Miller Thinks Pete Holmes Is Like a Fine Wine
The Crashing executive producer opens up about working with Pete, the vibe on set and setting the tone for the show’s second season.
HBO: How did you first get involved with Crashing?
Judah Miller: I met Pete right after he filmed the pilot and we really hit it off. I’d just seen the pilot and we talked a little bit about where we saw [the show] moving forward, but I was completely blown away by Pete and his dynamic with Artie—how strong that was.
HBO: How’s working with Pete?
Judah Miller: Oh, it’s been amazing. This show is so from Pete’s life and it’s so much about his point of view. We’ve never had a doubt about what the show’s about and what we’re trying to say.
HBO: Can you talk a about the creative process in the writers’ room?
Judah Miller: It’s very collaborative. [Executive producer] Judd [Apatow] has been a proponent of bringing in actual stand-up comedians and trying to really capture the truth of what it’s like to be a stand-up, particularly at the stage when you’re starting out. Some stand-ups we bring in have never been in a traditional writers’ room for TV. We do a lot of brainstorming and riffing before we hone in on what the arc of the season’s going to be. It’s a very non-traditional writers' room, which I think comes through in the show.
HBO: Can you talk about the vibe on set?
Judah Miller: It’s very loose. Judd encourages a lot of improvising and a lot of variations on jokes, so it’s a very fun atmosphere. I feel very lucky to work on the show because I get to work with some very funny, talented people. One of our writers, Greg Fitzsimmons, is on the show this season and to see him go up and do his act is just incredible.
HBO: Have you ever done stand up?
Judah Miller: I’ve never done stand up, but I’ve been joking with the writers that I want to try an open mic and bomb so I can experience what that’s like. But I want to do it all by myself so I can just experience that in solitude. There have been some jokes that I have with the writers and I’m like, ‘Okay, maybe I can put that in my set.’
HBO: How has the show changed since Season 1?
Judah Miller: Pete is starting to wander outside of his close connection to God. That’s an interesting arc that colors the second season in a different way. The demise of Pete’s marriage and his life being thrust into a new situation is opening him up to a different perspective on the world. That just continues in a bigger way. I’d say everything starts to get escalated in Season 2. It gets amped up. We’ve set everything in place and now it’s time for Pete to evolve even further.
HBO: If you could pinpoint what makes Crashing so funny, what do you think that is?
Judah Miller: The thing that I like the most about Crashing is that all of the comedy comes from a very truthful, real-world place. I love absurdist comedy, but this is all very much grounded in reality and so much of it is based on true experiences that our writers have and Pete Holmes have had. I think the fact that we’re able to find such big comedic pieces, but not have them ever bend reality is something that I’m really proud of.
Pete Holmes is an incredibly relatable, rootable, sweet-but-sometimes-misguided, foolish person. But he’s just so lovable, that I think audiences really connect with him and relate to him, even if his experiences aren’t necessarily their own. He pairs so well with so many different people. I’m like, “Pete and Artie, you’re my favorite comedy duo,” but then this season Pete and Bill Burr have an incredible connection. Pete’s like a fine wine, he pairs well with so many different things.
Crashing premieres January 14 at 10:30 PM on HBO.