I love Comedy Bang! Bang! I want to make that clear, first off. How many shows can pull off the kind of shit we just watched? Sure, the idea of spoofing the more traditional-format late night talk show has, I’m sure, been done before. But Comedy Bang! Bang! knows to use that as a jumping-off point for far more surreal antics. When we opened on the show’s supposed pilot episode, a Jay Leno knock-off replete with 7-man band and fancy backdrop, I figured the show would stick with the bit and let us soak in the weird format change. Instead, this is like a real origin story for the show, one that also manages to mock the very idea of retcon-heavy origin stories with a bunch of nonsensical twists.
Scott is obviously uncomfortable on his shiny set, and is constantly interrupted by the sycophantic Ricky Nichols (LaMarr), who interjects with musical cues and witless banter any time he can, shouting down a quiet Reginald Watersmith any time he tries so trike up his own musical rapport with Scott. The first few minutes of the show are intentionally the worst, blandest late-night show imaginable, with Scott’s monologue consisting of jokes like “Did you hear about this? Here's something! Lindsay Lohan is in the news again! Apparently she's in trouble with the law! I don't know, she's been punished more severely than the seat of Kim Kardashian's 501s!”
This kind of joke can wear itself out quickly. There’s something to be said for sticking to the bit, but we all understand what’s lame about late-night talk shows, so underlining that is only gonna be funny for so long. It’s like that Childrens Hospital episode where the joke was that they were showing us a British episode of the show—we got it after a few minutes, but that was the only gag for the whole episode.
So luckily Comedy Bang! Bang! starts messing around pretty quickly (although we have to suffer through Chief Scott-um Thought-um and One Man’s Trash, which are hard to take, even ironically). Cobie Smulders gamely suffers through Scott’s awful questioning (although “how do you juggle work and family” got its start here) and shows us a bizarre clip of a movie with Topher Grace that only shows her good side, not her deformed ear. Cobie Smulders is so funny when she’s dismissive and mean, and I’m glad the show gets to tap into that for a second. “I have no vested interest in what you do with your set,” she says, before leaving abruptly.
The turn comes when, after the break, Scott has removed his backdrop and revealed the set we know today, hanging up Ted Nugent’s taxidermy and everything. Just as we start to get what’s going on, Zach Woods appears as The Remarkable Greg, a magician with serious magical powers, who makes every object on set come to life (the only resulting personality that Scott dislikes is his desk). I liked Woods’ uncomfortable performance, and I liked the ridiculous explanation for the talking furniture, which really didn’t need explanation, so they provided the silliest answer possible. It’s funny no matter how meta you get about it, and then it’s topped by Ricky sucking everything he doesn’t like into his mouth using heretofore unmentioned inhalation powers, ridding the world of The Remarkable Greg.
Again, why provide a real explanation? A stupid one is just as worthwhile. I was tickled by this entire episode, even the slow parts, just because it’s always fun to watch everything fit together in one of these ret-con episodes, and yet I’ve never seen that format spoofed before. Comedy Bang! Bang! is fantastic. It’s very sad that we have only one episode to go. Next week: the Christmas spectacular with Zach Galifanakis.
Scott loves Chief Scott-um Thought-um. “I can see no reason why you won't be seeing that character for many years to come.”
“How did you get involved with How I Met Your Freud? I'm sorry, Freudian slip, How I Met Your Mother!”
“Additionally, we'll force-feed butter into a goose. Plus, Hilary Clinton!”
“When I get mad, I inhale things.”