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TV Review: The Pete Holmes Show, Series Premiere

Written by Allison Lips


The Pete Holmes Show tries to be a combination of a traditional talk show and a sketch comedy show. If the show as an hour, it would work well. However, the show is only a half hour, which works against it.

As a comedian, Pete Holmes has the outlook of Jimmy Fallon with Conan O’Brien’s sensibilities. He’s cheery, quirky, and clearly enjoying life. It’s a refreshing change from David Letterman, Jon Stewart, and Conan O’Brien, whose production company produces The Pete Holmes Show.

The first episode opened with a sketch about the “Ex-Men,” obviously a parody of the X-Men. Comic book fans will appreciate it more than I did, but it was funny. In the sketch, Professor X fired Wolverine for being useless. Since the team constantly battles Magneto, who can manipulate metal, Wolverine is constantly at a disadvantage. Pete’s Professor X pointed out that he could always have Storm defeat Magneto with a hurricane.

After the sketch, Pete does his monologue. Since The Pete Holmes Show doesn’t air the same day it is taped, Pete talks about his own life. He told a story about being the only white man at an Enrique Iglesias concert. Pete found the experience awkward because he was alone, but the man definitely enjoyed that concert and told a funny story. He’s one of the few comedians that doesn’t turn to sarcasm and cynicism and still manages to be funny.

The monologue was followed by an interview with Jon Stewart, which took place on The Daily Show set. Pete used to be the warm-up comedian for The Daily Show, so the two have a history together. The interview seemed unnecessary because it was short and focused on Jon giving Pete a hard time. Pete is a happy person. It’s hard to watch someone trying to crush his desire to be on The Daily Show, even when it’s just jokingly.

Pete’s first guest on his own set was comedian Kumail Nanjiani. The interview focused on the pair’s decade-long friendship and how the audience won’t recognize either one of them, so Pete probably should have picked a better-known guest. Kumail made a fine guest. In fact, I wish TBS aired the whole interview. Instead, viewers were directed to PeteHolmes.com for the full interview, which seems to be everything that aired as part of the show. It’s a shame that guests on The Pete Holmes Show only get four minutes.

Pete ended the show with a segment called “All The Games,” which takes well-known video games and comes up with joke titles, such as Mormon Kombat. The segment is nothing special. It’s been done millions of times. That’s not to say it wasn’t funny, but it was the one part of the show that Pete didn’t make his own.

The Pete Holmes Show has a lot of potential, but it needs to be expanded to an hour. Even though it’s trying to be different, at heart, the show is basically a modern take on the standard talk show. Hopefully, TBS will realize that Pete Holmes deserves more than a half hour Monday through Thursday between a new episode of Conan and that same episode’s rerun.

Allison Lips
Allison Lips
Anglophile, Rockabilly, Pompadour lover, TV and Music Critic

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