Pete Holmes masters his own unique domain of silliness and absurdity in new special
By Michael Shashoua / Jester editor-in-chief
Stand-up comedian and podcaster (“You Made It Weird”) Pete Holmes returns with new material in “Nice Try, The Devil,” a special airing on Comedy Central on May 12 and available as a CD/DVD package on May 14.
Holmes has seemingly simple, but well-constructed and effective material. He takes being silly or goofy a long way. In “Youth Pastor,” toward the beginning of the performance, Holmes remarks that he looks like that’s exactly what he should be – a Christian guy with an acoustic guitar singing squeaky clean folk songs in a high school gym.
The clever construction of the material emerges in bits like “Pierce!!!/Juan!!!” in which Holmes puts a lot of energy into sentences with lots of sound-alike words written purposely to be overly goofball. Holmes also invests unique imagination in pieces like “Good Time McDonald’s,” which imagines what odd conversational tics can clear a room, and “Atlanta,” which plays off white guilt.
The special’s closer, “Telemarketers,” is fittingly strong, and captures the best of what Holmes can do – melding absurdity that would fit easily into “Airplane” or “The Naked Gun,” with his own twisted sense of the world that appears throughout the performance. Admittedly, there are a few lulls and weaker pieces in “Nice Try, The Devil,” but overall there’s enough to recommend it.
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