After airing two out-and-out classics back to back, Comedy Bang! Bang! had to come down to earth, if only because it can’t mess with its formula every week or else it wouldn’t feel special. Andy Richter (one of the podcast’s greatest recurring guests) makes a solid couch appearance, Mike Hanford of The Birthday Boys (who have their own IFC show coming this fall) plays a standout character, there’s some funny sketches, it’s all very well and good. Just not quite as memorable as the last two weeks.
I really do love Andy Richter on the podcast—he never appears in character, but every one of his episodes is a classic. His appearance always signals a strong episode. He never quite got going as a panelist on the couch, though, getting left out of a sketch as part of one joke, and overshadowed by Aidy Bryant’s hammy segment producer as part of another. I think his funniest moments were his quiet little asides to Scott to begin every segment, like just asking him “What is your name again?” as we return from an commercial break.
Bryant’s bit was very reminiscent of her work on SNL—she’s a committed ham whose shtick is a little annoying on the face of it. But I think she knows that and just barrels on, because by the end of her bit (turning Richter’s boring airplane story into a gut-busting show-stopper) you can’t help but laugh. Maybe not as much as Scott does (seriously, good job by Aukerman on the hysterical fake laughter), but enough. I enjoyed Bryant’s segment more than Rob Huebel’s—no offense to Huebel, who I adore, especially on Childrens Hospital, but the teddy bear joke didn’t land in a Shark Tank spoof sketch that otherwise nailed every detail. Tying the two characters together at the end of the episode helped salvage things a little bit, though.
Richter’s interview was weirdly stilted, although there were moments that really worked and looked like improvised conversation. Him crushing Scott’s hand was a nice moment. Apart from that, they really didn’t wring much out of his appearance, which was too bad. I chuckled at the Rizzoli and Isles/CSI: Miami spoof that saw Reggie and Scott chasing the devil (played, in Kroll Show Rich Dick mode, by the great Jon Daly) but the episode was lacking on laugh-out-loud moments.
At least until Mike Hanford appeared. I’m sure his character, political cartoonist Tom Perdy, won’t work for everyone. His insistence on calling every single one of his cartoons “smart…and funny” in an incredibly self-satisfied voice reminded me of one of Hanford’s podcast characters, the snowboarder who would not shut up about all the tasty air he grabbed. Perdy’s utter foolishness was revealed slowly but surely—his first cartoon was facile enough, but they get worse and worse with each drawing, until it’s just Beetle Bailey and Sergeant looking at a barrel of oil, and then just a barrel of oil. “I mean, politics. This makes me laugh, and laugh so hard,” Perdy insisted. I could have done with more of that bit, even though it wasn’t really going anywhere. Mike Hanford and The Birthday Boys are funny people, and I hope their IFC sketch show lives up to my high expectations.
Next week is the Sarah Silverman episode, which IFC put online before season two premiered, but I bet there’s a new sketch in there just to keep things interesting.
- The New York sketch to open the episode was hilarious, although Reggie and Scott’s freakout should have been even more insane.
- Andy remembers his birth. “I refer to that as the day all the shit started.”
- “This plane is like the camerawork in The Bourne Identity. It's shaky!”
- “Sorry Jesus, I think I'm gonna have to go find a lint brush. Found some fuzz.”