"Barking" - Crashing review

Chad White

Season 1, Episode 4

This is a flyer, not a liar.

Up until the final few moments of “The Road” and “Yard Sale,” there have only been tangential hints that Pete is a comedian. Characters say he is and he himself insists it but the pros and the audience have yet to see a full body of his work. And at the end of last week’s episode, the booker says that Pete will only get better if he follows a seasoned comedian. He’s been lucky for the past few weeks to have such a lovely group of fellow comedians who can help support him. Though, they only do so with advice. It’s up to Pete to find his own way in the comedy world. This week’s “Barking” is just the start of Ol’ Sweetie Petey getting a backbone. To add to that, he may have finally found a group of young upstarts like himself to whom he can relate.

Pete’s first act is simple: get stage time at a local club. But the booker/owner/fellow comic is constantly booked. He does, however, give our hero a barking position. The job -- not paying of course -- does offer a stand up spot at the end of the night if he nabs five paying customers. But one of the aspects of the job is to lie about who’s going to appear at the club. Pete is still the upstanding citizen he’s always been, unable to bring himself to lying. Although he’s still trying to be strong, it’s obvious Pete -- while well-meaning -- is oblivious to how the world outside of his works. For instance, the three other barkers tire of his wide-eyed persona pretty much instantly.

His optimism is hated while he’s just happy eating a hotdog and standing in the corner, waiting to perform. His biggest worry is standing on concrete for four hours as he spouts off the different types of shoes he should’ve worn instead (apparently clogs would be better than what he’s wearing). One of the best bits comes when one of the barkers asks Pete’s denomination of Christianity and his response is “I’m not Mormon; just regular,” furthering his almost adorable and childlike manner.

After a fellow barker kicks Pete out of his spot -- and almost gets both of them killed -- our hapless hero stumbles upon a drug dealer that teaches him how to stand up for himself. And that’s what Pete needed; a kick in the pants. The top of the half hour only alluded to that but, by the end, the young comedian is fully confident. A group of Asian businessmen that he spoke to earlier enters and brings the club a massive amount of business. Each and every one of the night’s barkers including the likes of Aparna Nancherla and Jermaine Fowler get to perform their set with a willing, drunk audience. It’s a sweet moment for those involved.  

Should you watch “Barking?”

There’s something to this show that makes it much more likeable than many other comedian led auto-comedies ™. It feels like one of executive producer Judd Apatow’s full length projects but it runs well as a TV series. Holmes continues to kill it on screen and on the page as he tag teams with a different writer seemingly every week.