Pete Holmes Discusses Artie Lange’s Struggle With Addiction on the Set of Crashing, While His Character Dealt With Addiction on Screen

Today Artie Lange tweeted that he’s out of rehab, clean and sober for 32 days and says he’s taking things one day at a time. He thanked his fans, the greatest fans in the world for not forgetting him and said, “I’m a junky but a recovering one right now.” Lange went to rehab last month after a series of incidents that included an arrest, a missed court date and some pretty serious medical issues. Now he’s planning to head into work on Monday on the Artie and Anthony Show on Compound Media Network, and is helping to promote the premiere of Season Two of Crashing on Sunday night at 10:30pm on HBO.

Earlier today SiriusXM’s Raw Dog channel debuted an hour episode of a new SiriusXM series called Headliners. Host Ron Bennington talked with Pete Holmes, Jamie Lee, Aparna Nancherla, and Zach Cherry, the stars of Crashing. In season two, Crashing deals with Artie Lange’s drug addiction and Pete talked with Ron about how the cast dealt with the issues off camera as well, during filming.

“Nobody is better at making you laugh at something that’s so painful than Artie,” Holmes told Bennington. “And we were in an interesting situation obviously Artie has been in the news and obviously, we love Artie very much. So in the second season we were like okay, we want to keep working with Artie. But the only thing we want to talk about is what’s going on.”

Pete said that they wrote all these issues directly into the storyline.  When they asked Lange if they could deal with his issues on the show, he was very receptive.  “Artie, no surprise, was all about it. Anything he could do to get people to see how painful it is and to not start …because that’s really what he wishes he could do is not start now that he’s kind of stuck in it.”

Artie talked with Holmes during filming, in between takes about the difficulties of quitting. “He tried to explain to me…he said “it’s like telling me not to breathe” …about not doing heroin,” Pete recalled. “And I was like, “all right man if you’re okay with that.”

While the characters Pete and Artie were dealing with addiction issues on screen, Artie was still using heroin in real life, and watching his character deal with the same issues. According to Pete, it was emotional for everyone.

“The strange thing about it is, it’s almost like role play therapy. Like, I lovingly tell Artie how I want him to be well. But in the show we get to like have fights where we’re improvising and I’m just saying to him what I never otherwise would have had the courage to say because isn’t the same. I was like “sorry Artie, this is the scene where I’ve had it with you and I yell at you but you also yell at me.” It was very emotional. Where were getting worked up in between takes where it’s a fight and in between takes were like hugging each other and just saying like I love you so much.”

The scenes, according to Pete, were helpful for Artie as well.  “Me with my divorce– it’s not the same at all– but I found it therapeutic to roleplay these scenes that were inspired by the heartbreak of my life. And Artie told me that he experienced the same thing that I did. Which is, you almost start seeing yourself as a character. It’s depersonalizing where you go “oh yeah. This helps me understand how other people might feel” and “oh yeah this helps me hopefully.” I can’t speak for Artie but hopefully…. that shows me what maybe I should be doing. Because you go that guy is in trouble. You know what I mean? You read the script and you go: this guy’s in trouble. Oh shit. This is based on me. It’s my hope that that would help. And based on some conversations with him it seems to have at least given perspective.

Listen to the clip below and go to SiriusXM on demand to hear the full episode of Headliners with the stars of Crashing. And tune in to HBO at 10:30pm on Sunday to see the season two premiere of Crashing. 

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