Have you been searching for a comedian that is the embodiment of the dad joke to no avail? Let me end that arduous search for you.
Pete Holmes is the delightful, barbecue dad of comedy. With a deep love of the silly, Pete embraces and utilizes his dad-li-ness(?) to make for goofy and fun performances. Starting near the beginning last year, he landed his own HBO show called “Crashing” loosely based on his experience of trying to be a comedian in New York. Before that, he briefly had his own talk show that aired right after Conan on TBS. I was a fan and super disappointed when it got canceled.
Out of all the things Pete does as a professional comedian, my favorite thing is his podcast You Made It Weird. He’s been doing it since 2011 and it has gotten better every year.
Seeing how Pete is a comedian and a lot of his interviews are with other comedians, comedy tends to come up a lot. However, if defining what the podcast is about, comedy isn’t what I would say.
Growing up a devout Christian, losing some of his faith as his comedy career burgeoned, Pete incorporates his personal fascination with what he often refers to as “god stuff.” There’s no religious pandering in his podcast, but a genuine curiosity for how the universe works and what others make of it. Expect Ram Dass quotes.
With his guests, Pete explores passions, comedy, art, and what there is to be made out of the mess that human existence can often be. With Pete’s pension for getting philosophical, the podcast can be very silly but often travels into asking deeper questions about what motivates people and what the heck we’re all doing here.
Pete’s mission within the podcast seems to be exploring human spirituality and the things that bring us joy. Each episode, Pete manages to make some sort of connection with the person he chats with. He usually starts the podcast by talking about his guest’s career, naturally progressing into their childhood, and ends with a brief round of specific questions like: When was the time you laughed the hardest? What’s some advice you have for others? What do you think the purpose of life is?
Even with trying to ask and explore really big picture questions with people, Pete never manages to not be goofy.
One of my favorites that he’s done recently was with Mark Duplass, his second appearance on the podcast. In the episode, they talk about how they totally became best friends after the first interview they did and the wonderful book, Like Brothers, Mark wrote with his brother Jay.
Give it a listen and, as Pete would say, keep it crispy.