Crashing Season 3: “MC, Middle, Headliner” Recap & Review
Another week, another new episode of “Crashing.”
Season three is sizing up to be the most compelling and witty season yet, with Pete’s story taking some expected, and sometimes unexpected turns. As always, if you are not all caught up with “Crashing” proceed with caution, as there will be full spoilers ahead.
Season three of “Crashing,” while still a personal story about Pete Holmes, is taking strides to widen the focus to comedy as a whole in the modern age. More specifically, comedy in the politically correct landscape of 2019. This week’s episode “MC, Middle, Headliner,” sees Pete on a journey with Jason Webber into “deep Jersey” to perform at a comedy club. Jason has been central to Pete’s comedy upbringing, giving him his first gig at the Boston Comedy Club back in season one. In every sense of the word, Jason is the complete opposite of Pete. His comedy is crass and his demeanor is aggressive, everything that Pete is not. For the show in Jersey, Jason is the headliner, Pete is the middle, and Pete’s ex Ali is the MC; this is an odd trio to say the least.
The comedy club the three are booked to perform at is known as the Chuckle Shack. On the drive, Jason hyped it up as the type of comedy venue that begs for comedians and is a crazy time. Upon arriving, it’s revealed that the Chuckle Shack is nothing more than a bottom floor store in a mall. The Chuckle Shack is nowhere near as glamorous as Jason made it out to be.
The first night goes well for all three: Ali headlines and practices her set for Seth Meyers, Pete follows and receives great reactions from the crowd and Jason finishes with a set that is offensive but seems to do well. After the show, the three break off to do their own thing. Pete goes back to the hotel that the three share to video chat Kat and Ali goes back to drink tea and relax. Jason is the last to arrive back at the hotel and is disappointed and angered that Ali and Pete aren’t partying it up. Jason has the idea that because they are doing comedy on the road at a club in Jersey, they should be getting wasted and partying the entirety of the weekend. Pete and Ali, of course, are not on the same page and choose to stay in. This is a stark reminder of the difference between Pete and Jason, as well as Pete and Ali.
Before the second show the next day, Ali and Jason receive critiques about their time on stage. Ali is told that she should smile more and read the announcements with “more enthusiasm.” Jason is told that his set was so offensive that the Chuckle Schack received numerous complaints and that their Yelp score went down an entire star. As a result, Jason is bumped to the middle and Pete is given the headlining spot. This is obviously big for Pete, but noticeably infuriates Jason. At this point, there is nothing the three can do to change anything so they proceed with the show. Ali MC’s once again, but out of spite for the club, decides to go off script and work on some new material about consent. The crowd loves it, but because Ali’s set was a contradiction of Jason’s following set, Jason completely bombs. Pete closes the show as the headliner and does very well. The Chuckle Shack had no comments for Pete and it is to be believed that Pete had the most successful set of the night.
After the show, Jason and Ali argue about what went down during his set. Jason is mad because Ali “ruined” his set by going over her consent material. He is also angered by the rise of PC culture and almost completely blames his failed set on that. This is not completely the case, however, as in previous seasons most of Jason’s sets that don’t go well are because not all of his material is actually that funny. Ali leaves in an uber, leaving Pete and Jason to carpool back to New York. The episode closes with Pete doing the first of many religious comedy shows, which he seems to be happy doing.
“MC, Middle, Headliner,” while still being a mostly character centered episode touches on some very relevant topics concerning modern comedy in the age of PC culture. This idea is driven by Pete and Jason’s contrasting comedy and personalities. Jason seems to be living in the past while Pete is an example of what is to come. While this is a distinct contrast in the episode, “Crashing” does not portray this idea completely black and white. Even though Jason received many complaints about his Friday night set, it seemed to go very well. And even though Pete had the most successful set out of the three because of his cleaner material, this is not the material that does the best on a bigger stage. While the message of this episode is not all black and white, it serves as an important look into the idea of comedy in the age of PC culture.
Check back each week to keep up to date with Pete’s story and see how he manages christian comedy with a girlfriend who is not nearly as devout as Pete once was.
To read last week’s review, click here.
Zach Hall is a senior majoring in Broadcast Journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.