Pete Holmes, Late Night TV's 'Oversharer,' on Conan, Apatow and His Return
"The Pete Holmes Show" kicks off another 13 weeks of episodes on TBS.
Pete Holmes is ready for more television.
The stand-up comedian and podcast king added late-night host to his résumé last fall, and his TBS talker The Pete Holmes Show returns Monday for a 13-week run of new episodes.
Holmes returns to the airwaves the same night Seth Meyers makes his anticipated Late Night debut and one week after Jimmy Fallon dominated the ratings with his move to The Tonight Show. But Holmes doesn't concern himself too much with the competition, partly because he's abandoned many elements of the traditional late-night model.
"We have all of this anonymity, and in this anonymity we have all of this freedom," Holmes tells The Hollywood Reporter. "It's a little different when you're inheriting this legacy like Seth is or Jimmy is -- and I love both of those guys very dearly -- but we didn’t replace anyone. We're just this new thing."
His show is full of sketches about Batman or James Bond. An October "Gabbin' Like Gals" segment saw a pajamas-wearing Holmes get Girls star Allison Williams to play marry, f--- or kill with Ryan Gosling characters from different movies.
Holmes, who describes himself as an "oversharing person," says his show doesn't worry about being topical. Regular listeners to his You Made It Weird podcast will likely know Holmes grew up religious, attended a Christian college, married young (and later divorced) and eventually left Christianity to explore other spiritual options. Some of those very personal topics make their way into his TV show in a way it's difficult to imagine another late-night host pulling off.
An early sketch in this new batch of episodes will feature Judd Apatow making fun of Holmes' divorce and "how I describe my penis," Holmes says.
"I take a lot of pride in that you don't know what we're going to do and you don't know what it's going to look like," Holmes says.
On his podcast, Holmes once remarked that part of him liked the idea that his ex-wife and her new husband might see his work during the Super Bowl. (Holmes voices the E*Trade baby, which appeared in Super Bowl spots from 2008-13.) He admits he occasionally feels that way about his TV show, too, but not before describing his ex as "kind and supportive and gracious."
"It's in weaker moments you have thoughts like, 'What do you think of me now? How do you like me now?' That's not my favorite part of my heart, but it can be nice to acknowledge that you do feel that way sometimes," says Holmes.
He adds that acknowledging the less-flattering parts of himself fits into his philosophy about TV hosting -- that he wants to be real.
"I'm not going to have the TV personality and be like, 'There's no bitterness. There's no ugliness.' There's bitterness. There's ugliness. There's pain. There's greed. There's malice and there's hurt," he says. "That's all good stuff for any kind of art. I'm not necessarily feeding that side of myself, and I try not to encourage it too much."
With the added responsibility of anchoring a TV show, Holmes says he follows the example of Conan O'Brien -- whose Conaco produces Pete Holmes -- on how to reconcile being the boss with being a comedian.
"Conan is being the boss and constantly making fun of his position as the boss. Comedians are the type of people to make fun of bosses, so when you become one, you have to take it with a grain of salt and make jokes about being a diva as opposed to actually being a diva," Holmes says. "I'm not an executive producer on the show. I always joke with the kids that I'm just the executive blogger."
The Pete Holmes Show airs Monday-Thursday at midnight on TBS.
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