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Wednesday night’s “Crashing” premiere at the Avalon in Hollywood, was like a comedy prom as part of Judd Apatow‘s pack gathered to celebrate the debut of Pete Holmes’ wry new show. Writing what he knew, the show is about Holmes’ breakup with his wife after she cheated on him while he struggled to be a successful comedian. In real life, Holmes is now happily engaged.

Holmes explained why “Crashing” is a good fit at HBO, “It reminds me of ‘Girls’ in the way we’re trying to take the biggest shortcomings and things that make my character gross and showcasing those. That’s something Lena [Dunham] is so good at: showing things people usually hide and bringing them onscreen for comedy.”

Holmes also shows how his Christian religion affected his comedy journey in the story, “I liked Jerry Seinfeld, Brian Regan, Ray Romano – I really liked those guys and I was trying to be one of those guys and that’s really what the show is about. [My character] is really burdened because he wants to be a good boy and he wants to be clean, but when you start in the clubs of New York, you follow five or six other comedians talking about sex and their genitalia. That’s part of the struggle we’re trying to show.”

Apatow, executive producer of the series, talked about how his continuing creative relationship with HBO and Holmes made it a great fit for him. “It seemed like a sad idea for a show, but a year later [Pete] said he wanted to talk about doing a personal TV show, and that’s my favorite thing. Pain is the motive for comedy. Happy people are never funny.”

Among those spotted in the premiere crowd were guest stars Artie Lange, T.J. Miller, Gina Gershon, Kristen Schaal and Jermaine Fowler. After the screening, guests feasted on a comedy club-inspired menu of cheeseburgers, fries, grilled cheese sandwiches, four kinds of pizza, and a cereal bar and mini Krispy Kreme doughnuts for dessert.

“Crashing” premieres Sunday, Feb. 19 on HBO.