I’ve given a lot of thought as to why people from Boston might be funny. I love where I’m from so much, but I always felt a little intimidated by my hometown. I’m not a baseball fan, and I don’t know how to drive downtown. I don’t know my way around the Green Line. It was always this intimidating, outsider sort of feel. So I was like, Well, I better start being funny. I’ve got to do something.
Conan [O’Brien, a producer of the new show] likes to do humor that’s not against anybody but with people. That’s the way my stand-up is. When I get heckled or somebody’s being rowdy, I don’t lash out at them. That’s not really what I’m about. I like to think that we’re all creating comedy together and it’s not me against them. The show isn’t going to be me against the audience; it’s going to be me with the audience.
It’s all about the host. We can write jokes, we can write sketches, but at the end of the day, it’s about having a relationship with the host. So once we get that, and once we get me out there to make the audience comfortable, I think we can do some pretty exciting things. And some silly things.
I remember growing up and thinking I was on TV when I was 8 years old and wanting something called The Pete Show. The fact that here I am, 34, on something called The Pete Holmes Show is just a preposterous one-for-one, 100 percent dream come true. I walk around in a daze most of the time, just smiling and feeling grateful. It’s unspeakable.
— As told to David Brusie (Interview has been edited and condensed.)