Finding his niche
In discussing the storylines for Season 3 of his HBO comedy “Crashing,” Pete Holmes quotes advice he received from fellow stand-up comic Mike Birbiglia when he created the half-hour series.
“He said, ‘If you’re not telling secrets, who cares?’ ” says Holmes, a veteran stand-up whose fictionalized alter ego returns for the first of eight episodes Sunday, Jan. 20. “Which I think is really interesting. So we’re talking about comedy, which obviously is well-traversed terrain, so we always want to try and tell some sort of secret about comedy. Obviously in Season 1, we talked about warm-ups; in Season 2, we talked about the alt scene and the college scene; and Season 3, we’re starting to talk about the niche markets that you can work in.”
And in these, says Holmes, one can find substantial work. There is the Jewish circuit, typically in-temple performances where Jewish humor is prevalent. There is also the Christian circuit and the “clean” circuit, which offers family-oriented fare. It’s just a matter of which way a comic wants to steer their career.
“You sort of see them like exits on the highway when you’re starting,” Holmes explains, “and it’s an interesting choice every performer needs to make, like, ‘Should I take this exit or should I keep going? And if I keep going, how much gas is in my tank and can I make it to the next exit or should I just take what’s in front of me?’
“For me, I never did the Christian circuit,” he continues. “I did a lot of the clean circuit. I would do shows in like Utah, for example, or Disneyland, places where you had to be clean. That was as close as I came to doing religious shows. Although that being said, I did do some Jewish shows. I’ve dabbled and I’ve certainly done some Christian shows.
“But we really wanted to kind of double down on the idea that it becomes Pete’s bread and butter.”
Full name: Peter Benedict Holmes
Birth date: March 30, 1979
Birthplace: Lexington, Mass.
Alma mater: Gordon College
Family ties: He and wife Valerie have a four-month-old daughter
TV credits: “Scott Bateman Presents Scott Bateman Presents,” “Honesty,” “Atom TV” (voice), “Ugly Americans” (voice), “Maron,” “Kroll Show,” “Just for Laughs: All-Access,” “CollegeHumor Originals,” “Mulaney,” “American Dad!” (voice), “Nothin’s Easy,” “Animals.” (voice), “TripTank” (voice), “Fantasy Hospital” (voice), “Penn Zero: Part-Time Hero” (voice), “Mighty Magiswords” (voice), “Crashing,” “Bob’s Burgers” (voice), “The Simpsons” (voice)
Movie credits: “Mash Up” (2011), “Don’t Think Twice” (2016), “The Secret Life of Pets 2” (voice; forthcoming)