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The Daily Cardinal Est. 1892
Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Pete Holmes captivates with charming, genuine comedy

This last weekend, Pete Holmes performed two sold-out stand up sets at the Majestic Theater and recorded his podcast "You Made It Weird" for the Madison Comedy Festival. Attending both the stand up and podcast recording as an avid fan of Holmes, I noticed how the crowds were drawn to his presence just as much as the self-proclaimed super fan.

Holmes has performed comedy for over 10 years and with that experience comes dozens of discrete and purposeful tricks and skills that work to engage the audience throughout the entire set. Holmes will often directly tell the audience if he thinks a joke is great, bad or silly and convince them to agree. He does this by either admitting his feelings while telling a joke or demanding the crowd stick with him throughout it. No matter what path he chooses, his voice is sincere, heartfelt and one that makes you want him to do well no matter what.

Immediately after coming on stage for his stand up set, Holmes improvised a five-minute bit on Madison, engaging the crowd and utilizing colloquialisms to help associate himself among the people. Sometimes the punch lines were silly and easy, which he would admit and justify by saying humbly that it’s all improv. By the end of it he made himself part of the crowd and someone who was going to make sure everyone had fun.

Halfway into the set, Holmes declared the next jokes as "which jokes will make it into the act and which are bad," a style of meta-performance some could perceive as amateur, but ultimately adheres to the open, carefree persona he abides by on and off stage. If he ever said a joke that was offensive or gross in description, he would make an off-put face and blame his brain, questioning why he said the line and agreeing with anyone in the audience who backed away. This added instant-criticism in his performance is exactly how Pete Holmes wants to be branded, as a regular, fun-loving person who knows how he comes off and enjoys explaining it.

"You Made It Weird," Holmes' podcast, brands itself as a cathartic, all-cards-on-the-table interview that consists of him expressing his most intimate thoughts and life stories while asking the guest thought-provoking questions on life, their personal story and how they view the world. Holding a live recording of the podcast allows the listeners to see how Holmes conducts the interviews and interact with him while he talks to the guests. Before starting the show, he opened the floor for questions from the crowd like a real life Reddit AMA where no questions are off limits and fans can get a personal answer. Each guest that came onstage told embarrassing, heartbreaking and always hilarious anecdotes that helped the crowd understand who they are beyond the comedian persona they display.

Pete Holmes has always embodied a lovable charm throughout his career: one where he can make and take a joke, listen intently to whoever has his attention, and as someone who always makes sure that those who are watching and listening to him perform are having a great time. Check out his stand up special "Nice Try, The Devil," the various stand up clips and sketches he releases on YouTube, and be sure to subscribe to his Nerdist-produced podcast "You Made It Weird," because a professional like Pete Holmes is not one to miss out on.

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