Sometime last fall I decided that Pete Holmes, star-creator of HBO’s Crashing, is not only not funny, but revoltingly upbeat. I was watching him do a standup bit and saying to myself “God, I hate this fucking guy…silly, unfunny dipshit comedy..and I hate it even more that the crowd is laughing with him.” Upbeat is fine if it’s coming from within my own heart (occasionally, from time to time), but it’s poison in comedians.
The truth is that I kind of hate upbeat as a rule, and goofy voices and too much smiling and little pig eyes, which Holmes definitely has, are toxic. I don’t need Sam Kinison-level anger, but the absence of anger is not only fatal — it’s inhuman. I want my comedians to call bullshit on everyone and everything. I want them to sneer and frown and shake their heads derisively. So “thanks but no thanks” on Holmes and Crashing. I’m sure he’s a nice guy and all but later.
If I knew Holmes personally I wouldn’t be rude to him, but I would make a point of talking to him only for 60 or 90 seconds if I were to run into him at a party or a screening. I would smile and chuckle and say a couple of nice things and maybe pat him on the shoulder, and then make a beeline for the food table or the bathroom.