This hilarious, sad, and scathingly honest series about an aspiring comic may scare legions of would-bes away from comedy -- and marriage. There's a moment in the first episode of Crashing when Pete strolls down a Manhattan sidewalk, en route to a show. He passes a pizza joint, Louie-like, and for a moment, the viewer thinks we're about to see a show we've already seen before. But at Pete's show there are only a handful of people laughing half-heartedly at his jokes about awards show speeches and dollar stores.
And so, set adrift, Pete takes up residence on the first couch he's offered, in the living room of fellow comic Artie Lange, playing a riff on himself. If ever there were a cautionary example of the dangers of success, Lange is it. "You're a legend," says a dazzled Pete, meeting Lange in front of a club. "Yeah, but for doing f--ked-up s--t, not for having a good life," says Lange. It doesn't look like a good life, it's true, these late-night shows for non-wowed audiences, long drives, cheap motels, booze, drugs, and the cruelty of other comics. But it's easy to relate to characters like Pete and Artie, their pain papered over with mockery, and to root for them to succeed. They feel true to life. And they're funny. What's not to like?