Comic Pete Holmes: ‘I found myself craving the comfort of a sitcom’

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It’s a lucky strike for Pete Holmes.

The comedian said that his new CBS sitcom, “How We Roll,” is the first project for which his parents can be proud of him. 

“My parents are supportive of me, but the things that I did on HBO and on the Internet often had swearing and nudity and all these grittier things,” Holmes, 43, told The Post. 

“And my parents never told me this, but they’re good churchgoing folk. So, I get the feeling they had a hard time bragging about those things. But with this [show], they couldn’t be more thrilled. So, I’m really excited to be doing this while they’re still here.”

“How We Roll,” premiering Thursday (March 31) at 9:30 p.m., follows Tom (Holmes), a midwestern dad and husband who gets laid off from his car assembly line job and decides to provide for his family by following a long-held dream to become a pro-bowler. He sets off on this new path with help from his wife Jen (Katie Lowes, “Scandal”), his preteen son Sam (Mason Wells), his mom Helen (Julie White) and his mentor, Archie (Chi McBride).

Pete Holmes and Katie Lowes face each other in a kitchen.
Tom (Pete Holmes) right, with his wife, Jen (Katie Lowes, left).
CBS
Pete Holmes holds up a t-shirt and smiles.
Pivot to bowling: Pete Holmes as Tom in “How We Role.”
CBS

“I read [the script] with my wife and we were happy that the wife wasn’t a nagging sitcom cliché. And I liked that my son, Sam wants to be a tap dancer, and my character Tom – who’s not from that [arts] world – doesn’t make fun of him,” said Holmes. “I did grow up bowling, but I’m from Boston so we did candlepin; the small, easier balls, which is better when you’re a little kid. That was every birthday from age 8 to probably 12. I’ve always enjoyed it.”

Holmes said he didn’t channel anyone in particular to play Tom, but he did have his dad in mind. 

“Just because in the pilot, I put on those coveralls. And my father is pushing 80, and he still delivers home heating oil and removes oil tanks,” he said. “So when I was putting those on, I texted him a photo, and I was like ‘We didn’t think it would be this way.’ He thought maybe I would go into the family business – but here I am, sort of following in his footsteps in this very absurd way.”

Pete Holmes bowling.
Tom (Pete Holmes) goes bowling in “How We Roll.”
CBS
Pete Holmes on a ladder talking to Julie White on the ground.
Tom (Pete Holmes) and his mom Helen (Julie White) in “How We Roll.”
CBS

Holmes, who is best known for his stand-up comedy and creating and starring in HBO’s “Crashing,” (which was executive-produced by Judd Apatow and aired from 2017-2019), said that it was a relief to only act in “How We Roll.” 

“I did a couple things during quarantine and one was the ‘Home Alone’ movie for Disney [the 2021 film ‘Home Sweet Alone’]. And that was the first thing I did in many years that I didn’t write and produce, and it was so fun,” he said. “When that’s all you have to think about, you can … only think about your character. So, when this came through — not to write or create but just to act — thought of that ‘Home Alone’ experience, and just jumped at the chance.”

Pete Holmes with Chi McBride.
Tom (Pete Holmes) with his son Sam (Mason Wells) talks to his mentor, Archie (Chi McBride) in “How We Roll.”
CBS
Pete Holmes prepares a lunchbox.
Tom (Pete Holmes) puts together lunch for his son, Sam (Mason Wells) in “How We Roll.”
CBS

Even though Holmes wasn’t part of the show’s creative team, its tone is in line with his stand-up routine, which tends to be more positive and less cynical. 

“There’s an old saying I like: ‘Any old donkey can tear down a barn, but it takes a special [donkey] to build one.’ That’s something I believe in general in my life, which is that it’s way easier to tear things down or ridicule things than it is to stand for something,” he said.

“This show stands for something, which is friendship and family and caring about other people, and following your dreams.These past few years have been hard on us, and it reminded us how important your friends are …Before lockdown, I was re-watching ‘The Sopranos,’ and ‘Breaking Bad.’ And when everything got grim, I found myself craving the comfort and laughs of the classic American sitcom.” 

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