Pete Holmes opens Nice Try, The Devil with an uproarious Zulu chant lifted from The Lion King before launching into the peculiarity of Texas BBQ joints (e.g. no need teef) and single dude, love-life, hetero confessions (e.g. I give a man a handjob most days). This bounce-house cartwheel from absurd pop-culture callbacks – see Holmes’ eager willingness to go gay for Ryan Gosling – to jokes about loathing his girlfriends bosom buddies, demonstrates a disjointed joy ride style of comedy. Holmes fervent speech patterns expose a lack of impulse control tempered by a good guy moral compass. Luckily, these musings and rantings err on the side of humor, so its a fun ride to take.
The 34-year-old comedian has been making a name for himself ever since 2011s Impregnated With Wonder. The album presented a goofy outrage channeled through the humble oddities and likability of the late Mitch Hedberg. Fans of long-form interview podcasts will also recognize Holmes as the host of You Made it Weird, or at least from his frequent guest spots on a number of other comedic podcasts, the highlights of which are his manic, unbridled appearances on Doug Benson’s Doug Loves Movies. Holmes oddball humor has also landed him a TV gig, The Midnight Show with Pete Holmes, which follows Conan this fall. Despite these other projects, and a Team Coco nod of approval, the sheer, homophonic joy of hearing Holmes bellow We won one Juan! proves live stand up comedy is still his bread and butter.
Nice Try, The Devil deflates a bit over the last couple of tracks, but the Austin crowd stays loyal to Holmes silliness throughout the 58 minute set. Thoughts on having devious fun with telemarketers and boysenberries somehow feel less important than the momentum building discussion of Holmes struggles with faith and fear of rapture. These end of times musings and a retrospective distancing from religion are recurring topics throughout Holmes work and its interesting to hear them framed against the flapdoodle folly of imagining video game doctors who treat fight injuries for Streets of Rage 2 characters. Nice Try, The Devil is a haphazard rodeo molded in the mind of a charismatic optimist. There are plenty of laughs, plus a nice dose weirdness, if youre into that sort of thing.
Essential Tracks: “Gay for Gosling”, ”Belief Choices / Raptures”, & “Pierce!!! / Juan!!!”