“Warm-up” - Crashing review

Chad White

Season 1, Episode 6

You were thinking about center pieces while you were getting a blow job?

For six episodes now we’ve seen Pete hit lows that would defeat any normal human being. He’s been cheated on, ridiculed, and befriended the man who took his wife to name a few. But he’s also gotten to open for TJ Miller and Artie Lange and earned his own way to barking at a local club. Tonight, for the first time in the show’s short history, Pete Holmes said he was happy. It came late in the episode but it was well earned. And Crashing has solidified itself as a auto-com contrarian hit.

It still starts with Pete being treated poorly. He’s told to leave Jermaine’s apartment because the comedian’s “cousin” is visiting (it was just a ploy to get him to leave). Soon after, Pete is tricked into Artie’s podcast and embarrassed in front of Sarah Silverman who takes pity on the blossoming comedian when she sees him barking for stage time (and not money). Silverman offers him respite -- even after Pete says that it’d be inappropriate if they slept together. She’s not looking for that though; she takes in stray comedians as seen in the likes of her Sarah Silverman Program co-star Steve Agee.

Seeing Pete happy to be in Silverman’s beautiful home is a good sight in and of itself. He’s bright and childlike in his movement through the house. When greeted by Agee and another comedian, his demeanor doesn’t change even as they annoyingly approach him. That’s what makes Pete and Crashing different from the countless other auto-coms that have come and gone. He’s excitable, almost puppy-esque on an attitudinal scale. Pete’s able to go with the flow, a move that is smart because he has no control over his own life. He’s a happy man even after no one shows up to the stand up showcase he worked so hard to bark for.

After Silverman arrives home, she gives him an ultimatum after asking for his plan. The she sets him up with a warm-up gig at Rachael Ray’s show that shoots from understudy to main attraction in a matter of minutes after the seasoned comic flips out on set. Here, the direction from Ryan McFaul is simply transcendent. The camera dollies with a nervous Pete from behind at a low angle as he walks out to the abrasive crowd. He’s apologetic but unafraid to tackle the situation that just changed the trajectory of his career. It’s an outstanding moment that makes an already good show better. From there, Pete is truly happy for the first time in a long time. Silverman even gets him to jump out of his comfort zone and try weed, which makes a happy Pete happier. (His initial hesitancy is made funnier by the fact that he smokes or does mushrooms pretty much all the time now in real life). Ol’ Sweetie Petey finally wins one.

Should you watch “Warm-up?”

The best episode of the season for one of my favorite new comedies of the mid-season should not be missed.