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Judd Apatow and Pete Holmes talk HBO's 'Crashing' and the future of comedy in the Trump age

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NewsHubWith two new shows about stand-up comics coming to premium cable, stand-up comedy may well be the new rock ’n’ roll in 2017.
On the heels of the music-centric series “Vinyl,” “Roadies” and “Sex&Drugs& Rock&Roll,” Showtime has the ’70s stand-up of the Sunset Strip in “I’m Dying Up Here” due this summer. And HBO offered an early look at its glimpse of New York’s modern-day comedy scene, “Crashing,” which debuts Feb. 19.
The series was created by stand-up comic Pete Holmes and executive producer is Judd Apatow , who in addition to his long line of influential comedies is also an experienced comic.
Drawing from Holmes’ time at open mics and “bringer rooms” from early in his career, as well as his experience as someone raised as a Christian navigating that world, “Crashing” will also feature real-life successful stand-up comics Sarah Silverman, T. J. Miller and Artie Lange portraying versions of themselves.
Holmes, who hosted a late-night talk show on TBS from 2013 to 2014, said a half-hour comedy that drew from his own background was a natural step toward reaching a broad audience.
“When I really considered after the talk show what I wanted to do, I asked myself what are the shows that really latch on to me?” he said, noting the importance of characters he could care about. “I kind of had a quiet reset after the talk show … but I was like, everything aside, what are we here to do? What is the story [I] uniquely can tell?”
“So if you’re really trying to burrow into Americans’ viewing patterns, I think you need to connect on some sort of emotional level,” he said.
The panel took a broader view at its close as Apatow and Holmes were asked about the role of stand-up comedians in facing the coming Trump administration.
“I don’t think we really know,” Apatow began, and went on to express uncertainty about the impact of “brilliant” satirists such as John Oliver, Seth Meyers and Samantha Bee. “I think everyone has to keep it up and pay attention … but I don’t know if it’s the linchpin thing that will alter anything. It may just be about us getting a laugh at the end of a very stressful day of new information.”
“It’s hard to do comedy when what’s happening is so weird,” Apatow said. “We’ve really passed the point where daily offense would be logical if I was writing a movie. Everything now is weirder than the movie ‘Network.’
“It’s a whole new ballgame,” he said.
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