Season 2 of HBO’s Crashing introduces writer, actor, and stand-up comedian Jamie Lee as a fellow comic and potential love interest for series star Pete Holmes. The second season continues Pete’s journey through the world of stand-up comedy, but also opens the comedian up to some new experiences, like moving on from his previous marriage that came to an end during the series premiere. Part of that is due to Lee’s Ali, an up-and-coming comedian who finds herself being both a mentor and a romantic interest for the series lead.
Introduced in the season 2 premiere of the HBO series, Ali makes an impression immediately, both on stage and off. The character is in many ways the catalyst for Pete’s progression and growth throughout the second season. And while Ali and Pete’s meet cute has the potential to turn into something greater, Lee points out that her character isn’t just there to help the series lead achieve his goals; she’s devoted to stand-up first and foremost.
Lee spoke with Screen Rant in advance of the Crashing season 2 premiere, where she describes where Ali's coming from in the world of stand-up comedy. But she also describes how difficult it can be for comedians to be in a relationship with one another when, unsurprisingly, their first love is going to be stand-up. Lee said:
“In season 1, Pete hasn't met Ali because she is from a different scene in comedy. She doesn't really do comedy clubs. In the first season, we're really seeing a lot of comedy club performances. I think she kind of swoops in this season and shows Pete a different side of the comedy scene, which is the alt scene.
I think that in the beginning Ali is really focused on her pursuit of comedy and kind of has her own path and doesn't want anyone to get in the way. Especially she doesn't seem to want a relationship because that would take away from her focus. And Pete kind of attaches himself like a barnacle, looking up to her and praising her and I think she's flattered by it but also a little suspicious of it. He, in a really sweet way, kind of wears her down, and she realizes this guy really likes her. So I think that allows her to consider a relationship. But then the pitfalls of that is that, at the end of the day, you have two comedians who are dating, and that can be challenging because both of you are also dating comedy, and that becomes this weird ménage à trois, where you feel bad that you feel attracted more to the third wheel than your own partner. And that's something we show at that stage in your career: you’re just so focused on getting good at standup that you don't really have a lot of room for anything else in your life.”
That puts an interesting spin on Pete and Ali’s relationship, one that is oddly reminiscent of his previous marriage, in that there’s an unexpected “third wheel” involved. What’s more, Ali’s pursuit of comedy on a personal and professional level is not only the antithesis of Pete’s ex-wife Jess (Laren Lapkus), but it goes so far in the other direction as to have some totally unintended consequences.
Crashing season 2 premieres Sunday, January 14 @10:30pm on HBO.