Pete Holmes Discusses the Quiet Hope in Crashing’s Next Chapter

By Allie Waxman

The comedian digs into the challenges and opportunities of creating the second season of his hit show.


Barking. Open Mics. Two-drink minimums. Thanks to Crashing Season 1, comedy fans finally saw the ugly truth about starting out in the biz. Season 2 continues the show’s honest storytelling; many plotlines come from real-life experiences brought to the writers’ room by series creator Pete Holmes and other writer-comedians including Greg Fitzsimmons, Beth Stelling and Jamie Lee. “The first thing that we do when we’re breaking a new season is discuss everything that’s happened to everybody,” Holmes explains.

Those stories are not always glamorous. While Pete’s comedy has improved in Season 2, he’s not an overnight success. Holmes insists that Crashing is steadfast in maintaining authenticity. He often reminds other cast members to ignore him when filming scenes, “because in reality, no one notices when an open-mic’er sits at a table.”

“Crashing is all about the grit and the mistakes that are associated with comedy. And the tension and the anxiety and ultimately the courage that is involved in doing stand-up.”
Pete Holmes

One Season 2 episode features a roast battle, where comedians trade personal jabs, and Holmes insisted on keeping “all the foibles, handshaking, looking at your notes, some of the, ‘let me do that again.’ All the stuff that you would take out if you were trying to do a slick show.”

The roast episode also shows the kinder side of comedy, Holmes says, referencing a scene in Season 2 where he’s “roasting Tony Hinchcliffe with some jokes that Tony Hinchcliffe wrote”—the perfect example of comedians helping each other. “Comedians are sweetie-pies,” Holmes maintains. “Especially when a dream is coming true, they are very supportive.”

Beyond comedy, Pete’s love life also sees some evolution as Pete meets a new love interest, played by comic Jamie Lee. Holmes equates his character’s Season 1 storyline with beginning a comedy career: “For the first ten years nobody knows who you are, so all of your comedy is [about] introducing yourself,” he explains. “You’re like, ‘Hi I’m Pete! I’m from Boston; I’m friendly. I’m tall. I’m soft.’ But once you build a fanbase, you can write a different kind of act. It would be stupid to say, ‘Hi, I’m Pete.’ Your audience would be like, ‘we know.’ In this way, Crashing is like being a bit more of an established comedian in that you don’t have to say, ‘Pete’s still feeling bad about his divorce,’—because if you saw the first season, you know. I look at Season 1 as Pete being in denial about what’s happening, and Season 2 as Pete accepting what’s real; she’s not coming back, so he’s going to live in the city. These weird guys are his friends now.”

“Season 1 was pulling the string on the bow back, and season two is letting it go a little bit... And seeing how weird it can be.”
Pete Holmes

Even though Season 2 is still about the struggle, Pete insists there’s a comfort underneath the hardships. “Even though there are all these painful moments where I’m getting kicked in the balls and failing, a friend of mine said he he likes watching it—there’s a quiet hope, because he knows I’m okay.”