It is definitely a rather thorny time to dive into the late-night television pool. It has become a little saturated as of late, with many networks trying to find the latest voice of this generation that consumes content like Ms. Pac Man eats white dots. On Monday night, TBS premiered The Pete Holmes Show, a talk show/sketch comedy hybrid that airs at midnight on Monday through Thursday following Conan. Holmes, who has had lucrative success with his stand-up career, seemed a little awkward on his first night sitting in the hot seat. However, the lesbian Val Kilmer-resembling (Holmes’ words) host was able to showcase his lovability and tastefully goofy traits amidst a few hiccups that will inevitably occur on a debut.
In his opening monologue, Holmes embraces the fact that most people viewing the show are probably wondering “Who am I?” and “Why do I have my own talk show?” His opening bit was classic stand-up Petey, as he went on to tell a story about how he went to an Enrique Iglesias concert by himself and was a giant surrounded by a sea of “Latina niñas.” The oddest thing about the monologue is that it was over seven minutes long. For a show that is a half-hour long, 20 minutes with commercials, it was damn nearly half monologue. This would be fine if it was another Holmes stand-up special, but this is a late-night talk show. Maybe TBS was trying to reel in his fans to stay tuned in?
The first guest on The Pete Holmes Show was comic Kumail Nanjiani, the man behind one of the best stand-up specials of the year, Beta Male. The two longtime friends conversed about how they used to tour small town colleges across the United States and how Pete used to call the Pakistan-native Nanjiani “the only brown in town.” Although it was entertaining as anything to see two of the hippest comedians go back and forth on late-night television, there was a hovering question over the conversation: “Who was interviewing whom?” In order to continue as a talk-show host, he has to learn how to own the conversation. At points, it looked as if Nanjiani was interviewing Holmes. To set premiere judgments aside, it could just be because the two are already well-acquainted from years of friendship, making it natural just to go back and forth at one another.
The most surprising bit of the premiere was that he visited Jon Stewart of The Daily Show to get a few pointers on being a talk-show host. There is no denying that Holmes looked a little nervous talking to Stewart, as his face looked flushed and he interrupted him on a few occasions. That is not to say that this segment wasn’t hilarious, because it most definitely was. Stewart explains to him that he has to toughen up if he wants to make it, and in response Holmes says in his Opie from The Andy Griffith Show impression, “I’m-a do mah best, Papa.” Then they went on to have a 30-second conversation about the 29-cent pen that he had behind his desk.
Setting aside the few premiere blues, it is hard not to root for the guy because he is so darn likable. We’ll have to see who survives between Comedy Central’s @midnight host Chris Hardwick, the returning Arsenio Hall Show on CBS and Holmes. Looking forward to the next few weeks of The Pete Holmes Show, he is set to have many prominent guests, including Chelsea Peretti, Allison Williams and Jim Jeffries. To check out this latest addition to late-night television, head over to TBS at midnight on weekday nights Monday through Thursday following Conan.