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What I’m Watching: HBO’s Crashing is Lazyman’s Comedy

The Show:Crashing, Season 1, Episode 4 (HBO)

The Moment: The drug deal

Pete (Pete Holmes), a meh comedian whose wife just left him, is passing out flyers for a comedy club when a rival comic steals his corner. Detouring down a side street, he interrupts two guys doing a weed deal.

“I’m so sorry, I’m not a narc,” Pete sputters to the dealer (Joey Auzenne). “Though I’m sure that’s what narcs say. They’re not going to say, ‘I’m a narc.’” After another minute of this, Pete asks Dealer how to get his corner back.

“Set it off,” Dealer says. “Be a man. Represent.”

“Represent an attitude?” Pete asks, earnest but bemused.

“You gotta flip the switch,” Dealer says. “You gotta light it up.”

“Sorry,” Pete says, “but this sounds like lyrics from the album Willenium.”

There’s a potential comic riff in here somewhere, about how square white guys think black guys are automatically cooler. But Holmes, who also writes the show, and Judd Apatow, who directs and produces it, didn’t bother to find it. Instead, they let things meander in the general direction of funny.

The series’ conceit is that in every episode, Holmes crashes on the couches of better comedians who make guest appearances — an excuse for Apatow to hang out with his pals. So it has the vibe of improv, but without any shape or sharpness. It’s Lazyman Comedy.

“I’m too soft to be in a fight,” Pete says to Dealer. “I’d be like a mattress going at it.” It’s a good description of the show. What I can’t figure out is why we’re supposed to care.