Sometimes Comedy Bang! Bang! just pays direct homage to its great episodes. We already had the appearance of Fourvel this year, but as much as I love that stabby little orphan, I was even more excited by the prospect of Dalton Wilcox, played by Andy Daly, one of the show’s most inventive character guys, Andy Daly. Wilcox only appeared on one episode, number 148 with Jason Mantzoukas, but it was an extremely memorable shaggy dog of an episode, as the Daly/Mantzoukas episodes often are, revolving around the self-styled “Poet Laureate of the West” and his increasingly bizarre ramblings on his life on the range, which involves making love to the ground itself and hunting imaginary vampires.
The podcast is long, goes down weird improvisational roads that only a podcast can do, and can’t be directly compared to the TV show. But the show does a great job abridging Wilcox’s character to get his key points across, particularly regarding the vampires. It’ll undoubtedly warm a die-hard podcast fan’s heart to hear Wilcox read the full title of his book, You Must Buy Your Wife At Least As Much Jewelry As You Buy Your Horse, And Other Poems And Observations, Humorous And Otherwise, From A Life On The Range. But the segment is clear enough that it works for the casual viewer as well.
While Wilcox is probably the highlight of this episode, it is a generally strong half-hour for the show to return on after its mini-break between 10-episode chunks. I like the confidence IFC has in this show and I was overjoyed with the news that Comedy Bang! Bang! will return for a third season next year, again 20 episodes split into two halves. The show’s sketch writing, in particular, just continues to go from strength to strength.
This week, I really loved “Chews To Lose,” which built on its premise very nicely from segment to segment. First Scott’s stealing food as he gives diet advice, then he’s rejecting healthy food outright, then he’s displaying magical powers (summoning a thrown-away Cobb salad back into his hand) then there’s a whole complicated backstory with Clark, his first dieting subject, to explore. Every ridiculous twist was funnier than the last but all of them made some sort of sense within the context of the sketch. It’s an obvious comparison to make, and it’s one you can make with Comedy Bang! Bang!’s companion show The Birthday Boys, but it’s extremely reminiscent of Mr. Show, where Aukerman cut his teeth.
Rainn Wilson was not the most exciting guest but I’m kinda biased—I just don’t like Rainn Wilson all that much. His segment started very slowly but built to a really funny spin on talk show interviews when Scott asks a four-million part question and Wilson dutifully answers every part for him. Probably the best question asked was “So after you decided to visit the Berlin Gay Museum of Pez Memorabilia, why in the world would you do an elaborate heist?” which was sadly never answered.
Everything else was solid too. Reggie’s x-ray tortilla vision to open the show was very funny but in search of a decent ending. The new friend contest was kinda sick and gross in that inimitable Comedy Bang! Bang! style where even though the joke is somewhat lurid, the presentation remains sunny and cheerful. Except for Scott’s maniacal laughing to end the episode. That was actually a little chilling. But by and large, it’s a delight to have this show back on my TV screen. Everyone make sure to watch The Birthday Boys and foster the excellent alternative comedy Aukerman and pals are fostering on IFC.
Reggie can shoot lasers out of his eyes too. “You were really into the tortilla thing so I just kinda focused on that.”
Scott’s on-screen credit this week was TEMP NAMERMAN, at least on my screener, which is a pretty funny joke for anyone who watches shows on screeners. I love jokes aimed right at TV critics.
Reggie tries standup comedy. “Have you ever walked out of the studio and been like, ‘I was just inside there?’ You like chocolate?”
“If you'd like to see us slice open baby from throat to flank, scoop out her guts, drain her lifeless body of all of its fluid, and then replace the guts with rags and cotton, tweet #babycbb.”
Reggie does lines from The Office finale. “Angela, I love you so much.” “That's Who's The Boss.”
“Rainn, if you could change one thing about the world, what would it be, and you can't say global warming.” “I would say...climate change.” “Yeah, that's a big problem.”