Judd Apatow has had a long career in the entertainment world, with massive success in both TV and film. On the small screen, Apatow has contributed to cult favorites like Freaks and Geeks and Girls, and he's currently teaming back up with HBO on Crashing, starring Pete Holmes. The series focuses on Holmes' fictional version of himself, as he tries to become a professional stand-up comedian.
Season 3 of Crashing is set to debut this week, picking up as Pete continues to perform, grow his career, and mess up countless times in the process. But the new set of episodes will also focus on sexism in the industry, especially in the world of the #MeToo movement. I recently spoke to Judd Apatow about Crashing's third season, where explained the choice to portray this issue onscreen:
There’s a lot happening in comedy. There’s a lot of discussion about diversity, and sexual harassment. I think women haven’t been treated well forever in comedy. When I first started in the mid-80s there were very few female comedians. And I think that’s changes a lot. There are now way more and so many brilliant female comedians. But I wanted to show what it’s like to be on the road, and how they’re treated. And how sometimes you’re better than everyone else on the bill, and you’re not treated that way. There’s still a lot of men on the road looking to hit on everybody. And we thought we should have an episode where we show as much of that as we can.
Judd Apatow's projects usually highlight how imperfect the world is, and Crashing is certainly no exception. Attempting a career in stand-up comedy is notoriously difficult, and it's a business that obviously has dark sides. And this can sometimes include how female comics are treated.
While more female comics can be seen producing stand-up specials and appearing onscreen, that hasn't always been the case. Women have had a harder time in the male-dominated industry, which many famous comedians have been open about. Crashing shines a light into the reality of stand-up, with Pete's friend Ali Reissen (Jamie Lee) also shown climbing up the ranks.
In my same conversation with Judd Apatow, he also explained another commentary Crashing is making about the state of comedy, saying:
We were also showing some of the corporatization of comedy. Now you go these clubs, and they’re big chains, and they’re in malls. Someone’s watching the feed from Florida to see how well it’s going.
In addition to telling the story of Pete's professional and private life, Crashing is also able to show what it's really like trying to work in comedy. Season 3 of the HBO comedy will address how some comedy clubs have gone more commercial, therefore allowing the comics to be edited in some ways. Judd Apatow clearly knows the world of comedy well, and recently returned to the stage with his own stand-up special.
Crashing airs Sundays on HBO. Be sure to check out our mid-season premiere list to plan your next binge watch.