Pete Holmes’ Faces and Sounds Displays a Mastery of Word Play

Written by Richard Dweck

Pete Holmes has been doing stand up since 2001. He is currently 38 years old and has finally found his voice as “Silly Silly Fun Boy.”

Although he had his first TV credit in 2005 on Premium Blend, 2008 is when Pete Holmes started to become a mainstream comedian. Now, almost a decade later, he is the host of the amazing Nerdist branded podcast You Made It Weird, which debuted in October 2011. In the previous year, Pete had his Comedy Central half hour special.

He released his first album Impregnated With Wonder in 2011 and the special/album Nice Try, The Devil in 2013.

Silly Silly Fun Boy as his style started out with his “dorky dad who doesn’t have kids” comedic voice. On Nice Try, The Devil, the evanglically raised youth pastor turned comedian explored his religion, as he does on his podcast. Now, in Faces and Sounds Pete has embraced that he does “faces and sounds.” “Comedy doesn’t have to be an art,” he adds. As a fan of George Carlin, Louis CK, Brian Regan and Bo Burnham, linguistic based humor is one of my favorite styles of stand up comedy.

Pete’s style of comedy uses a lot of word play. He is heavily inspired by the likes of Brian Regan, Jerry Seinfeld, and Dane Cook. Dane Cook and Brian Regan have dissected language, with Regan’s bits on struggling with the “I after E” grammar rule in elementary school and Dane Cook on the F word. In Impregnated With Wonder he has bits such as the possibility of a member of the KKK who thinks KKK should be the KKC, someone who hates bad spelling as much as people who are different. His bit about YouTube comments is even funnier now, with our current President’s social media usage, asking, “How is anybody going to run for President?” Pete also does material on the meaning of the phrase “nonfiction” and calling a Ven Diagram a “Sven Diagram.”

In his bit “Really?/Must Be Free” Pete goes on to talk about his grievances with people using outdated phrases such as a limo passing by and a friend saying, “My ride is here.” Pete has amazing lines, where his response to a person greeting another person with flowers, “I know you don’t know me, but are those for me?” Pete says, “Yes, I am going to murder you and put them on your grave.” Pete finally ends the joke revealing he is the person in the joke saying the phrases.

In Nice Try The Devil Pete discusses a sign in Austin, Texas for a Barbeque resturuant’s sign, “No need, teef to eat our beef.” He explains that the prices are for teeth having people. He goes on to mention his mother calling Celine Dione “Salon Dijon.”

The word play material showcased in Faces and Sounds is completely brilliant. Being in line at a coffee place and mishearing the woman behind the counter saying “Can I help who’s next?” as “Double snakes.” He introduces an imaginary person Dianne being broken up with and using the phrase ” Double snakes” as a retort to a break up.

Next on the English language bit he mentions being at a pool. “Not to brag, I was in a pool, I was recreating. I wasn’t employed by the pool” and mentions a young child behind him all day with the deepest voice he had ever heard. He recounts the boy’s questions to his mom such as “What is wind? Air moves?” and asking where he actually goes during a dream. ” I dreamt I was in London, I really there-uh” going on to mention how at a certain age you say “here” correctly and don’t notice how it happened.

His final bit on langauge comes with the joke “Britishing it.” First he discusses his beef with the word “edited” as having “too many dide-dets.” “It sounds like a handle of marbles cascading down a hardwood staircase.” Going on to explain someone has had to say that phrase in distress bringing up Dianne again going through another break up for not editing a video but while crying claiming she did edit it. That’s when he mentions he does “faces and sounds.” He next does what he calls his incredulous jokes bringing up how unicorn should be called unihorn. His next example bombs as he mentions Han Solo should be Han Duo because he was always with Chewbacca. He admits the joke is bad but explains that will be one of the only jokes you remember.

Next in the track he shows how the British handle uncomfortable conversation by repeating what the person said and knocking it back like verbal tennis. He does so with a great British accent:

American Man: I don’t know if Grandma’s gonna make it through the hot hot summer.

British Man: She’s on the way out, is she?

American Man: You know, I’m actually feeling really depressed.

British Man: Feeling a bit blue, are you?

American Man: You know, I’m actually having a suicidal thoughts.

British Man: Can’t quite take it, can you?

American Man: Maybe I’ll jump off a building.

British Man: Scary though, isn’t it?

American Man: I could shoot myself

British Man: Faster, yeah?

American man: I’m gonna do it tonight

British Man: Cheers.

Pete does impressions and of course sound effects, starting with one of his opening jokes about being scared, he mentions stand up comedy being scary and the voice he uses as the impression of a flustered comic is Bill Burr.

Pete Holmes is different from most comics, he is an easy laugh as he puts it. Pete’s laugh is infectious but it is very genuine unlike Jimmy Fallon’s obviously fake laugh. Pete Holmes is impregnated with wonder, he does faces and sounds, think he can’t make you laugh? Nice try, the Devil.

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