Pete Gets a Win in the Crashing Season 3 Finale

BY ARIANA BACLE

Crashing star and creator Pete Holmes dives into John Mulaney’s big mix-up.

Pete (Pete Holmes) faces a test in the Season 3 finale of Crashing: He has to improvise.

At the beginning of “Mulaney,” Pete learns big-time comic John Mulaney requested Pete as an opener. But once Pete gets to the venue for the show, Mulaney realizes it wasn’t Pete Holmes he wanted — it was Ben Holmes. After trying and failing to recruit other local comedians, Mulaney lets the wrong Holmes take the opening spot, but instructs him not to talk about adolescence or marriage in his set. That’s when the improvisation comes in: Pete ditches his pre-planned set.

“A professional comedian knows it’s always better to address what’s going on than to act like nothing’s going on and just do your joke about eight-slice toasters or whatever,” Holmes tells HBO. “That’s the moment where I go, ‘Oh, Pete is funny. He has some chops.’”

Pete once again proves himself when he performs at the Comedy Cellar for the first time later in the episode. These are two huge wins after a season spent toggling between working New York’s downtown clubs, getting kicked off a Christian tour, and breaking up with Kat (Madeline Wise) after realizing they aren’t actually compatible.

“Kat thinks, wrongly, that everybody is like her, that they’re honest and proud of how they feel,” Holmes explains. “She doesn’t know what it’s like to be with someone who’s not overtly dishonest, but certainly feels ashamed of himself.”

Instead of talking to Kat about those feelings and trying to find a solution, Pete “lets it fester” until their relationship reaches a boiling point. “He’ll never be the person drunk in the front row heckling,” Holmes explains, alluding to “The Secret,” the episode where Kat makes an uncomfortable Pete sit up front at a Comedy Cellar show as she shouts insults. “He’ll always either be on stage or he’ll be in the back of the room, because that’s where comedians feel comfortable.”

Not all is lost when it comes to Pete’s love life though — Pete discovers Ali (Jamie Lee) has broken up with her “perfect in all of the wrong ways” boyfriend. By the end of the episode, Pete rejects Mulaney’s offer to get some food so he can instead grab a hot dog with Ali — and make out with her on the sidewalk.

“He can be himself with Ali in a way that he can’t with other people, and I think that’s why he’s drawn back to her at the end,” Holmes says. “Where that goes, we’ll have to see. I’d say whatever they’re doing, they’re having a good time.”

Seasons 1-3 of Crashing are now available on HBO.