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Comedy Review: Comedy Bang! Bang!
Comedy Bang! Bang!
4 stars (out of 5)
IFC’s new Comedy Bang! Bang! is not a talk show. Scott Aukerman sits in what appears to be Mr. Rogers’s living room with some really famous guests and an over active imagination. His musical fixture is Reggie Watts. All of his guests have been across late night American television conventionally schmoozing the country with Jay and Dave, but Aukerman seems to have procured the Infinite Improbability Drive of Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, meaning, the show is not even close to ordinary. There is constant persona shifting, hectic reasoning and camera men damning the viewer and fleeing to greener pastures. It was confirmed on the podcast that side-kick Reggie Watts did not read the script of the first episode. It is as if there is asbestos in the ceiling of the set giving everyone ADD. Everyone involved has glorious, nirvana-like attention deficiency.
The show has a bit of history, being the visual incarnation of Comedy Bang! Bang! podcast which is formerly Death Ray Comedy Radio (father of Between Two Ferns with Zach Galifianakis) which was originally a bar show in LA. Aukerman, who is the main facilitator on air, has a fantastic chemistry with Watts, a veteran nuance with guests and characters and a bountiful connection with the muse of spontaneity. He leads us through the seemingly random barrage of fictional guests and tangential segments.
When Peter the Meter Reader stops by at the start of episode three Aukerman clarifies with him the jokes will be off-beat, irreverent, and unexpected. Perhaps this is why Lassie stops by later and confesses to multiple hate crimes. It is important to know the celebrity guests also forfeit their share of reality. John Hamm tells us he was stunned to be cursed at while walking his dog. Lastly, as if impertinent, he explains he first flipped the man the double bird.
As for the second in command, if you aren’t familiar with the talent of Reggie Watts, the title of bandleader is a farcical attempt at explaining his occupation on the program. He has a very gentle presence and is a marvelous talent with his audio equipment, infusing impromptu songs of staggering creativity which are often stunning in their impact. In the show’s progression, he may be sharing intuited off-beat glances with Auckerman and guests, reacting in a benignly hilarious and frankly adorable type of sensibility, or, as in episode three, adlibbing a tune about pajamas with fabricated radio DJ El Chupecabra. El Chupecabra, played by comedian Nick Kroll, was one of two oddball personalities provided by the house in the third episode and possibly the funniest of the series to date. He was accompanied by Andre the impoverished bicycle eater played by Leo Allen. The show creates an average of two absurd guests to discuss topics with the celebrities, some of which have been previously featured in the podcast. They are all personalities conceptualized at the most bewildering ends of the human imagination. Episode two and the 6/4 podcast feature a theatre business pervert who makes his buck “putting in a little something for daddy.”
One may think the calamitous style is the influence of Tim Heidecker, producer of Comedy Bang! Bang!, but it is in fact Aukerman and second in command Reggie Watts who are doing a ‘great job.’ On June 4th, Heidecker joined for an interview on the podcast while Aukerman and Watts were hosting a show every day in anticipation of the IFC debut. Fresh off a plane from a Woody Allen shoot in China, a jetlagged and maybe slightly conceded Heidecker admitted he hadn’t really had much to do with this program at all. This means the main perpetrators in charge of the show’s pseudo-reality are the fantastic and veteran Scott Aukerman and the refreshing and talented Reggie Watts. Stop in unexpectedly Fridays at 10pm Eastern on IFC.
Chris Milea is a recovering liberal arts student graduating from New Paltz in August 2012.