Comedy Bang! Bang!: “Jim Gaffigan Wears A Blue Jacket & Plum T-Shirt”
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Comedy Bang! Bang!: “Jim Gaffigan Wears A Blue Jacket & Plum T-Shirt”

First off, major props to Comedy Bang! Bang! for being what I think is only the second show to have all four members of the Upright Citizens Brigade on the show. Matt Walsh’s appearance, along with Amy Poehler (in episode 2), Ian Roberts (in episode 8) and Matt Besser (making his second appearance here) puts this show in an exclusive club along with Parks & Recreation and whatever the four appeared in as a group together. Okay, that piece of comedy nerdery is over, we can all move on now.

I do think it’s important to note, however, the continuing and growing influence of the UCB folks on this wave of alternative comedy that’s coming to our screens now. As cable grows and more and more shows like this start to sprout up on channels, it’s clear what an incubator the UCB world has been. Scott Aukerman developed parallel to the UCB, hosting his stand-up show at the LA theater for many years, and much of the talent around him and writing for the show has equally deep roots with the work done by Besser, Walsh, Roberts, Poehler and others.

Um, so this was a funny episode. Probably the best in a few weeks, I’d say—similarly consistent in tone and loaded with strong sketch ideas, but it just made me laugh a little bit more. This episode was one of the ones the show put online weeks in advance to generate interest, which is usually a good indicator of strength. Walsh provided the wrap-around material for the episode as L. Jefe Maninchargo, a strangely exacting boss who seems to want no funny business or explicit material and calls Reggie “Jazzy.” He’s also upset that the show’s ratings are below the final episode of MASH, if you didn’t already get that he was unreasonable.

Jim Gaffigan made for a solid guest, and I was worried. Sure, I’m as big a My Boys fan as any, but he’s not going to be mistaken for a high-energy spark plug of a comic anytime soon and that can sometimes lead to a guest segment that’s a little too dry. But the show spiced it up with the concept of his reality show, which starts out with nothing but praise for Scott before taking a sudden turn. The vision of Scott fighting Reggie, which somehow comes from the future, was a nice ending touch.

Tim Kalpakis (are you guys all watching The Birthday Boys, by the way?) was a fun character guest, totally based around one joke, but a really good one. Something like this wouldn’t fly on the podcast, where Scott goes deep with his wacky guests, but it’s perfect for the show, where there’s a limited amount of time, just enough to explore every angle of a teleportation device built only to touch your wife’s breasts. The ending, featuring Reggie’s butt, was so ludicrously stupid I simply had to laugh.

The standout of the episode was definitely Besser as Hooch the Mooch, who wanders into the studio trying to steal stuff and immediately crashes on the couch, a concept I’m surprised it took this long for a TV talk show spoof to think of. Besser is that rare comic who can make belligerence really, really funny. Often that character mode can just come off too disruptive or annoying to get any laughs, but Besser is so hilarious doing it, that by the end of the episode he’s the show’s justified star. More Hooch! Hooch for everyone!

Stray observations:

  • The Billy Bass sketch was cute, especially the newspaper front pages to end everything, a nice bit of head-spinning fourth wall fuckery.
  • L. Jefe yells at Scott about “nipplegate.” “All I did was say the word nipple, and it was during our baby bottle review segment. Very popular!”
  • “Ass and titties and nipples and butts.” “What a time for you to get into rap music!”
  • “Objection, your honor! He's lying through his gills! What, just because I'm attorney I can't be funny?” 

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