How getting high with T.J. Miller inspired Pete Holmes’ ‘Crashing’

Go write it. APATOW:   Usually I feel like other people can do it better than me, and I’m always proven correct. All these things started happening [in real life], so we wanted to do a dramatization of what that’s like, when someone from a really kind of ethical, more traditional world is accepted by degenerates. HOLMES:   I thought to myself, “What would be my show?” And I’ve always kicked around the idea of doing a show about my actual divorce. That’s all true. Like, T.J. The show is obviously a fictionalization of that. I never directed an episode of Girls [Apatow is an EP], but I’ve also never watched any moment of Girls and thought it wasn’t directed as well as it could have been. ET —   Pete Holmes plays a religious young comic named, well, Pete, who gets divorced from his unfaithful wife and finds solace in the dirty world of standup comedy. Go write it now, and I wrote it in two days or something. The characters are different, the situation is different, but everything is based on a true emotion or something that’s like, this is how that really felt, and this is what I would have said, and this is what you would have said…. But I’ve never been a sad drinker or anything, so instead we were like, well, we could try making a sketch show. Miller. I wasn’t going to miss it. It’s funny, when I got divorced in real life, you have that moment where you’re like, should I drink vodka? In fact, when I did a sketch with Judd for my talk show, I pitched him this show as a joke. So Crashing began as a sketch series? I would read about her process, and I was like, “That sounds to me like the dream.”
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Would you say this is your Girls? So he has to sleep on different people’s couches while he tries to get better at it because he’s not good enough to pay his bills. I was married when I was 22, and then my wife cheated on me. APATOW:   Pete loves comedy so much that it’s infectious. Judd, for Crashing you directed a couple of episodes, which you haven’t done for a TV comedy since the shows you created. This show is about someone trying to be very positive and hold on to their morality while traveling in the weird, dark world of comedians. HOLMES:   Not really. It does have a similar vibe. I got there so early! I always wanted to do something about what it’s like to get divorced, especially when it’s a young marriage to start with. But because Crashing stars a lot of comedians, it’s a world where I feel like I know I helped get the best out of all of these people. And then in walks Judd, and it was just one of those moments — he’s such a regular guy. Let’s say we were canceled on Tuesday. Miller, Sarah Silverman, and Artie Lange. He was on the set for Trainwreck. I thought that was great. After he leaves his wife, your character crashes with famous comedians like T.J. HOLMES:   When I got divorced, the first people I called were Nick Kroll and John Mulaney and T.J. Let’s go pitch one! ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: When did you start thinking you wanted to do a show like this? Oh, I got married when I was young. I found out the show was going to be canceled. Is that also based on true experiences? So I got in the car and was kind of frustrated. So it sounds like people should view Crashing as an uplifting love letter to comedy rather than a sad show about divorce. Judd and I both enjoy stories about finding unlikely grace and redemption, and unexpected support and love, and that’s what I found. The very next day, we went to Comedy Central just to chat and see if they were interested, and they said that they had too many sketch shows. Why was this the project to get you off the bench? HOLMES:   We really played with the rawness. [Laughs] Like, people who sleep all day and don’t think twice about doing drugs or having casual sex. How much does your character’s fictional journey mirror your real-life one? Pete, your character grew up religious, got married early, and is going through a divorce — so obviously the show has a lot of earnest, emotional moments. Show Full Article JUDD APATOW:   I said, “Oh, your life is too sad.” But then he came in later [in 2014] and formally pitched this idea of a comedian who is going through a divorce and has no money — all he has is the comedy community. I woke   up real, real early. Miller — all the pals. I knew Amy [Schumer] a little bit, but they’re not even there yet. I woke up at like 5. Was it difficult to balance all that while making sure it was also humorous? And when the show was canceled, it was obviously sad in a different way, but it was like, should we…is that what men do? I’m coming to set, and I hadn’t really spent much time on a movie set before, so it was a big thrill. He doesn’t sit down and cut the end off a cigar and put his feet up like, “What do you got?” We just talked, and fortunately for me, the topics of the show came up because those are things that he’s interested in, comedy for example, standup, and we just…I just kind of told him the idea for the show, and there was no…like, he didn’t stand up and give me a hearty handshake. HOLMES:   It’s very interesting to find hope and something really beautiful in that world. That’s fun for me. was a big help in healing his sad friend. PETE HOMES:   Well, I was doing a   talk show for a while on TBS. HOLMES:   I remember that day [I pitched him for real]. On his new HBO comedy Crashing —   debuting Sunday at 10:30 p.m. I think it’s funny, but it’s definitely sad for the character. That’s what you think you’re supposed to do! He took me to his movie set and we smoked pot for the first time. RELATED:   Is HBO’s   Crashing   the next   Girls? The way that Judd works is he was like, okay, you think you have an idea. I knew I wanted a Girls-type show about my life, but what’s the big thing that happened to me? We spoke to Holmes and Judd Apatow, who executive-produces the series and directs multiple episodes, about the comedy, religion, and getting high with T.J. HOLMES:   I’m not religious anymore, but I was raised religious. As the comedian tells EW, it’s a story he knows all too well. We do a lot of improvisation, which requires a different kind of directing — you’re writing a scene on its feet as it happens. I was like, “If you could do anything, what would you want to do?” I’m a big fan of Girls and was really kind of…I wouldn’t say obsessed with but very into Lena [Dunham].