Gilda’s LaughFest Crowd Goes For Ride On Pete Holmes’ Goofy Joy Train [Video]
He said: "I don't know where this thing is gonna go, but let's just get silly. Let's just have fun."
Holmes sure did, and for the most part, they did, too.
One thing Gilda's LaughFest demonstrates is there are many different kinds of comedians.
Last week, I saw dirty comics, absurdist comics, dark comics and even wholesomely clean comics.
But I doubt any of them could compete with Holmes in terms of the sheer joy he brought to the stage at Wealthy Theatre, 1130 Wealthy Street SE in Grand Rapids. He was having fun, probably more fun than anyone else in the sold out crowd, and he wanted so badly for us to share that joy with him.
And, if you were listening carefully between the lines, Holmes was subtly teaching us how to bottle that joy up and maybe take it home.
He was telling us how to be happy. Whether it's by going outside your comfort zone and going to a "music concert" by yourself, or by making a choice, a "joy, Joyce choice", as he called it in a story about a woman named Joyce, "you can get angry, or you can just see the joy in the moment."
A self-described "easy laugher," Holmes had the late show Saturday in stitches most of the night.
"Hard laughers take great pride in telling me how I finally broke them and made them laugh," he told us, proud that he could finally break through their "cold hearts wrapped in barbed wire." Holmes easy laugh often turned to giggles just with the thought of a joke or story before he even delivered it.
Holmes is so easy going, he hardly acknowledged a weird heckle that was yelled from the audience around half way through his set.
After a bit about relationships, Holmes was transitioning to a another story when someone yelled, "DICK!"
Barely skipping a beat, he made a quick comeback and then just moved on, as if to say to the heckler "you're the one with the problem, not me."
I found the insult oddly disconcerting. There was nothing dickish about the jokes, or his demeanor to warrant it.
Holmes is at his best when he is sharing goofy moments of joy in his life, such as when "sweaty flyer" Holmes encountered a TSA agent, who, when seeing his Dr. Suess t-shirt, declared: "What you know about green eggs and ham?!"
"It still makes me laugh every time I think about it," Holmes said, while encouraging everyone to use the line whenever they feel anger overtaking their souls.
"If someone takes your parking spot at Target, just roll down your window and motion for them to do the same, when they do, just yell 'What you know about green eggs and ham!!". And damned if I didn't almost yell it at an overly aggressive pan handler while walking to my car after the show. I should have used it, Pete would have been proud.
The opener was Michigan comedian Brad Wenzel, who showed off a unique style with finely crafted one liners, and odd observations. He, too, had to deal with someone yelling out at him during the show, making me wonder if all the late shows had to deal with such crap. I hope not. As the title of Holmes' podcast would suggest, those people "made it weird".
Here's Holmes talking about the TSA woman on "Conan."