When comedian Pete Holmes launches The Pete Holmes Show in two weeks - occupying the midnight/post Conan O'Brien timeslot on TBS - he will be tasked with keeping a large portion of O'Brien's audience and building up his own, passionate army of supporters. That's an intimidating challenge, but in this case, Pete Holmes has an edge: he's Batman.
Beloved for his comedic take on the Dark Knight in a series of College Humor web sketches, Holmes is taking both that character and his love of sketch comedy into his new late night show, but in an effort to promote the show, Holmes has crossed the aisle, switching Big Two allegiances to spoof the Marvel Universe in his latest video: Ex-Men - which, as it turns out, is the first of 9 total sketches.
In the above video, Holmes plays Professor Xavier as he dresses down and then fires Wolverine, who is played by comedian George Basil. This isn't a couple of comics playing X-Men dress up, though. Holmes is genuinely bringing up some glaring vulnerabilities in Logan's game, and he also seems like a legit appreciator of nerdy things. According to Holmes, there will be eight more Ex-Men videos with eight more likely hillarious X-Men dismissals featuring a few more of his funny friends.
Despite that output, though, it seems clear that The Pete Holmes Show is going to deliver a diverse mix of sketches and not just superhero parodies (though, they did debut a teaser trailer for a Batman/Superman spoof at New York Comic Con). Primarily because they don't want to drill the concept into the ground, but also because these concepts don't logistically lend themselves to constant use.
"We don't want to go to that well too many times, but the good news is, we can't really. Every Batman video that we do is a night shoot and it takes way more money than I ever thought. I don't even like knowing how much that stuff costs. With the suit and the lights and the smoke machine and the cast and the other costumes, not just my suit, but if we do Bane or if we do Scarecrow, all this stuff gets built and costs a lot. Hopefully, we won't even have the option of drying up that well."
Batman, Professor Xavier, or a batch of original characters - Holmes' show is clearly going to rely on sketch comedy, viral videos, and the web (which will serve as a bit of a reservoir for fresh content and that which gets cut from the show, like extended interviews, ala The Daily Show) to build his brand in a marketplace that is known for its pretty staid formula. Will it work? Only time will tell, but unlike other recent entries (or re-entries) into the late night meat grinder, at least Holmes' embrace of those things feels organic to his style of comedy.
The Pete Holmes Show premieres on TBS @ midnight on October 28th.