Pete Holmes: Nice Try, The Devil
Comedy Central // Unrated // April 30, 2013
Review by Francis Rizzo III | posted May 20, 2013
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In 10 Words or Less
Pete Holmes makes it weird

Reviewer's Bias*
Loves: Pete Holmes, Stand-Up Comedy
Likes: You Made it Weird/
Dislikes: Being single
Hates: Homophobia

The Show
Most people know Pete Holmes from one of two things, and they probably don't even know they know him from the one. Holmes is the host of a brilliant conversational postcast on the Nerdist network, You Made it Weird, where he talks to funny and/or interesting people about a variety of subjects and sometimes/often gets rather deep. But he's also the voice of the e-Trade baby, so he is something of a renaissance manbaby. I'd never really checked out his stand-up before, but knew he was hilarious, so this new special was the perfect opportunity for me to get to know him a bit better.

Holmes can best be described as joy personified. His big smiling face is incredibly welcoming, and helps cut any harshness in his act, like when he talks about dropping a dog. How can you look at that face and stay mad at him? You can't, and it's just that simple. But you can laugh yourself silly as he offers up ridiculous jokes like his "Pierce!" bit or his musings on video-game doctors, but especially his thoughts on sexuality and his love of Ryan Gosling, which is part of a hilarious stretch on homophobia. Sometimes he'll tackle the standard stand-up areas like relationships between men and women, but he has his own unique take on them.

As goofy as Holmes can be. he's also a surprisingly insightful comic, as listeners to his podcast know very well. After spending most of the special talking about things like dropping dogs and barbeque that doesn't require teeth, he changes gears and dives into topics like death, religion and other such fun, before just as smoothly taking a hard left into comparing baking and porn and contemplating poorly-named fruits. But even when he gets a touch heavy, he's still a silly, silly boy, more than willing to let loose a hearty laugh when he amuses himself with a gag about fast food and deities or a tone-deaf savior.

Riding along with Holmes on his stream of consciousness is an exhilarating experience, if only because of how random he can be, jumping from a group butt-tightening experiment to the weirdness of the existence of electric eels, with a side-trip to gaze in wonder at the process of breast-milk production. I'm pretty certain I would listen if he stood on stage and spewed hateful invective, if he did it with the same joy, energy and chaos he displays in this special.

The Discs
Nice Try, The Devil comes in a two-disc set, with a CD and a DVD, which are packed in a CD-size three-panel digipack with some of the creepiest sprinkles-related photography ever. The DVD features a static anamorphic widescreen menu with options to play the special, select scenes, check out the extras and adjust the set-up. There are no audio options, but subtitles are available in English SDH.

The Quality
The anamorphic widescreen transfer on this special is clean and clear, if a touch soft, but the color (including the comic's skintone) and black levels are solid, and there are no noticeable issues with digital compression artifacts.

Like most stand-up DVDs lately, this special comes with a Dolby Digital 2.0 track that does a fine job of presenting Holmes' voice, and keeping it separate from the audience's reactions, but there's not a whole lot more to it, as the presentation is center-balanced and up-front, with nothing dynamic about the mix.

The Extras
The first extra is Holmes' half-hour episode of Comedy Central Presents (20:57). It's classic Holmes, though only one bit was repeated in his hour (Pierce!), and it has a different, less-effective follow-up here. Despite running nearly 21 minutes, the special flies by in a blink, with Holmes joking about Facebook and YouTube, relationships between men and women, his lack of manliness, and the differences between being a kid and an adult. Holmes' happy nature shines through in this set.

Two shorter appearances by Holmes from the first two seasons of John Oliver's New York Stand-Up Show follow (6:25 and 14:13, respectively.) He's a bit all over the place here, talking about energy supplements, poor-spelling racists, and messing with the Amish, but two big themes keep coming back, as he talks about the downside of technologies like Google and cellphones and the the changes that come with being an adult, including some universal truths about museums. More Holmes, more gooder.

The Bottom Line
Though his stand-up comedy isn't quite the same as the brilliantly odd conversations on his podcast, Holmes remains a joy to behold whenever he's behind a microphone. This release looks and sounds fine, and offers some welcome bonus Holmes to enjoy. If you like your comedy to be manically happy, Holmes is a good choice to get your fix.

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