Crashing Into High Maintenance at the ATX Television Festival

Two comedies take double billing, but nothing beats the socks!

Pete Holmes at ATX Television Festival (Image courtesy of ATX Television Festival)

Saturday evening at the Google Fiber Space, Pete Holmes described tragedy as the “sandpaper” that refines us. His HBO show Crashing is based on a rough period in his life when he was going through a divorce and literally crashing on other comedians’ couches.

Holmes was joined onstage by Drunk History host Derek Waters, who was meant to moderate, but this felt very much like a Pete Holmes stand-up routine with Waters chiming in now and then. Holmes described his show as “seeing the softer side of comedy”: They screened a few clips featuring Artie Lang, who has been very open about his struggles with addiction. Holmes also compared himself to Big Bird (he’s 6’6”) and said working with producer Judd Apatow is a “dream.”

When he took a question about shooting locations, Holmes wandered off into existential territory, pondering our purpose here on this Earth and the meaning of life. He pulled it off in a charming way, as the big goofy grin never left his face.

The cast of High Maintenance at ATX Television Festival (Image courtesy of ATX Television Festival)

Some seats in the audience cleared as Holmes’ exited and the cast of cannabis delivery comedy High Maintenance took the stage. Apart from moderator Miriam Shor’s enthusiasm, this character change initially had a wet blanket effect. Series creators Katja Blichfeld and Ben Sinclair (who also stars as the unnamed protagonist just known as The Guy) seemed a bit aloof as they struggled to name the basic concept behind the show, settling on “something cobbled together out of favors.” They even took a few digs at Holmes (Blichfeld joked that HBO was putting all its money into his show) and shamed the audience for being so dour when they were just “yukking it up” with the stand-up comedian.

At one point, producer Russell Gregory came to tears describing the scenes that were filmed in his old apartment. It was a touching moment and rerouted the course of conversation to a love fest – the cast went on to describe some of the benefits made available to workers after they unionized, something required to work with HBO (it originated as a web series on Vimeo). It colored the production with a sense of community, which is certainly what ATX TV Fest is all about.

Plus, everyone from High Maintenance had on great socks and/or footwear.

CrashingHigh Maintenance, Google Fiber Space, June 9.

ATX Television Festival 2018, June 7-10. Tickets and info at

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ATX TV Fest 2018, ATX Television Festival, Crashing, High Maintenance, Pete Holmes

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