The eight-episode HBO comedy series Crashing tells the story of Pete (Peter Holmes, who draws on his own experiences as a comedian for the show) a sheltered suburbanite who finds out that his wife is cheating on him, unraveling the world in which he was married to his childhood sweetheart with dreams of making it as a stand-up comedian. Forced to re-evaluate his priorities, Pete jumps into the New York comedy scene, crashing on other people’s couches while learning hard life lessons he never imagined he’d be experiencing.
Executive Producers Pete Holmes and Judd Apatow (who also directed the first and last episode of the season) sat down with Collider to chat about the new series and the journey that Pete will be taking. During the interview, the two talked about how they first crossed paths, how you know when a collaboration will work out, shaping the story, putting together an incredible list of hilarious comedy guest stars, and why stand-up comics and comedy are so intriguing, as a subject.
Collider: How did you guys come to be working on this show together?
PETE HOLMES: My manager asked Judd [Apatow] to do my podcast in Austin, and Judd did it.
JUDD APATOW: That was for the premiere of Girls, which was five years ago.
HOLMES: Some magical wind blew and Judd was like, “Yeah, I’ll do a podcast with some people I’ve never heard of!” It was me, Kumail Nanjiani, Chris Gethard and Todd Barry. Judd is producing Kumail’s movie, we made this show together, and he’s doing Chris Gethard’s Career Suicide show for HBO. It’s the most productive podcast in the history of man.
Judd, are you just always looking for people to work with, wherever you go?
APATOW: You know, I’m never looking. I just stumble upon people. There’s no part of me that ever has my casting cap on. I just find myself laughing at somebody, or maybe they say to me, “Hey, can I tell you this idea I have?” And then, for some reason, I think, “I kind of know how to do that.” That’s really all it is for me. It’s about, do I want to see it and do I have anything to add to it?
So, do you usually know pretty quickly, if you’re on the same page as someone else, or are there times where you think you are, and then you read the material and realize you’re not?
APATOW: Well, you don’t know. Sometimes you talk about something, and then they send a script and you say, “Okay, here’s how to fix it.” And then, they refuse and it’s over because the relationship doesn’t work. Pete wrote very quickly, which is helpful. Amy Schumer is like that. She worked very hard and she wrote fast. Pete would write a draft of an episode in a few days or a week, and then we would talk about it and he’d do another draft in two days. It becomes very productive. You know right away, if you see things the same way and if someone appreciates your input. It just completely worked. I liked his writing. Even when he sent over the first scene or two, I thought, “He’s a great writer. This is just going to be fun!”
And he has a point of view that’s unique. His history as someone who was religious and who wanted to be a youth pastor is a way of looking at life that is so different from anything I’ve experienced, and that fascinated me. It was all new terrain to explore. I’ve never been able to communicate about these ideas in any of my work, so this was a fun, new conversation to have. Especially as I get older and I know I’m going to be meeting my maker, I feel like it would be helpful if Pete could get some damn religion in me, before it’s over.
HOLMES: This is a spiritual alliance.