This is probably Comedy Bang! Bang!’s most audacious episode of the second season so far, but probably also its most flawed, although there is so much to love about it. It brings back Will Forte, who gave one of the most memorable character performances of the first season. It has David Cross as an official guest after his terrific work as Chef Bellini Pastafangu last year. The whole thing is narrated by Tim Meadows as some sort of elaborate spoof of movies narrated by wise, homey black fellows.
But it doesn’t quite come together as one might hope. The best moment of the episode is the “DateZaster” segment that sees Scott and his team perfectly arrange a Punk’d-style segment, down to casting (one of the show’s writers, Neil Campbell, and gifted improviser Lauren Lapkus make brief but welcome appearances), scripting, and a whole restaurant set. All so the waiter can say “our special is boogers” and Campbell can complain with “how dare you, I am the Mayor and this is my wife!” As a perfect cherry on top, Weird Al shows up to play the accordion and say, “Just Eat It!” It’s one of those Comedy Bang! Bang! sketches wrapped in many layers of irony but somehow completely unhampered by all the arch in-jokes. It’s just an utter romp.
David Cross is nice and prickly in his couch appearance but most of his bits fell fairly flat with me. I appreciated the unnerving weirdness of his cuckoo-noise impression, which everyone on set gets in on, but it wasn’t particularly funny and didn’t succeed in setting any kind of mood for the rest of the episode. The most memorable part is certainly Bob Odenkirk arriving on the set to help search for a missing Reggie Watts, doing an intentionally terrible Tommy Lee Jones impression and pointing the figure squarely at Cross.
It’s not just exciting to see Bob and David reunite on screen, although anytime that happens it’s hard not to feel a nice warm fuzzy feeling inside. Odenkirk just has an energy that can’t be replicated by anyone and his chemistry with Cross is undeniable, even when they’re yelling at each other from across the room. Turns out Reggie was just at his wife’s funeral, though, guys. “Yeah, some two-armed guy murdered her.” It’s a cute line, but I almost wanted the show to just spin off into crazy territory from there; instead, the bit ends, as it should given the format of the show.
Will Forte plays apologetic politician Felix Dewhurst, whose list of transgressions starts small (smoking pot), grows quickly (making a fortune from filming bumfights) and take a nice, nasty twist (he stole a child mummy in a museum heist and had sex with it). Any character like this is going to hinge on that final twist, and Forte just nails it. “I got to have sex with something very young and very old at the same time,” he crows, a nicely demented concept that only gets weirder the more you think about it. I miss Will Forte playing unassuming weirdoes on my television. He should be doing that every week.
I liked this episode; I just wish it hung together a little better. None of its bits truly fell flat, except for maybe Tim Meadows’ narration, which deliberately breaks up the episode and interrupts its flow but doesn’t pay off very well at all. The only gag that really landed with me was his voice-over artist ad that displayed over the closing credits, but that wasn’t quite enough to justify messing with the episode’s rhythms.
- Scott’s onscreen credits: Lights Downerman (accompanied by the lights going down).
- “This interview seems to be going just like that thing Jack and Jill went up a hill to draw from! Well.”
- Cross’ cackling at the golden statue he summons was quite something. He’s talented with the sound effects, that man.
- “It's kind of like having sex with Emmanuel Lewis.” “Scott, that's disgusting.”