Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Comedy Bang! Bang!: “Anna Kendrick Wears A Patterned Blouse & Burgundy Pants”

Illustration for article titled Comedy Bang! Bang!: “Anna Kendrick Wears A Patterned Blouse & Burgundy Pants”

So far, Scott Aukerman’s Comedy Bang! Bang! guests have been right in his wheelhouse. Either podcast perennials like Zach Galifanakis, Jon Hamm, and Adam Scott, or movie stars who would certainly know their way around an alt-comedy club, like Seth Rogen or Paul Rudd. I suppose Anna Kendrick sort of falls into that latter category, but as the show goes on, it’s going to be fun watching it broaden its horizons with the panelists it does weird bits with.

Kendrick is completely game, not surprising given her work in movies like Pitch Perfect and 50/50, and sticks to a bemused, slightly nonplussed persona who is nonetheless friendly and goes along with Aukerman’s weird concepts. “I’d watch that face count rice,” she chimes in for his pitch on an inventive Twilight reboot starring Robert Pattison based on the mythology of Chinese vampires. The best bit she generates herself is the “Oscar loser” face she’s perfected, which has several stages to it and should be studied intently by anyone up for any awards in the future.

Her panel appearance ends with a time-travel bit that sees Kendrick stopping the big bang and ending the entire universe. I wish this had been given over to a Gillian Jacobs appearance though, because although I got a laugh out of Scott just saying “Gilly!” in response to Kendrick’s “sorry,” any podcast fan knows that’s Jacobs’ territory, preferably with Gary Marshall in the house. I suppose I’ll let it slide, though, since any time a lady defiantly exclaims “sorry!” the response should always be “Gilly!”

Kendrick doesn’t chime in too much for the other panelist, but he is definitely the highlight of the episode. Touted as an appearance by Harrison Ford, it’s instead a very excitable Ben Schwartz playing his inept publicist, who is baffled at Scott’s notion that he could have ever gotten Ford to appear on the show (one day, it could happen, Scott! Don’t give up!). Schwartz is one of the podcast’s best recurring guests, but he’s never gotten to do a character and I love seeing him cut loose here. His total excitement at realizing his client appeared in Star Wars, followed by an extremely inaccurate impression of “Bubba Fett,” was a highlight. No one does irrational exuberance like Ben Schwartz.

The two self-contained sketches were strong—the opening bit in which Scott and Reggie raise a child could have gotten a bigger laugh out of the fact that they barely aged throughout it, but I never stopped liking the diaper thing, so I’d call it a success. The fake movie trailer designed specifically to provoke misleading critical acclaim was terrific, from its premise (a baffling cross between The Godfather and Citizen Kane) to every specific convoluted bit (“Aukerman reminds me of a young Laurence Olivier.” “Remember Laurence Olivier, when he was young?”).

This is a tough show to review week to week especially when it’s as solid as this episode was. Even little bits like Scott being unable to read the headlines or “That’s A Spicy Meatball!” (where, in a chef costume, he avoids touching on controversial subjects) got a big laugh or two out of me. The show’s confidence is clearly growing and its complete avoidance of repetition or similar bits makes it particularly special as a sketch show, although its hybrid sketch/talk nature helps it in that regard, I suppose.


Stray observations:

  • “Please take care of my baby, I can’t because Obamacare.”
  • Reggie’s Bahama Mama never really panned out considering it bookended the show, but I liked the island ambiance.
  • The full title of Scott and Reggie’s movie: The Goofy Boys and Their Wacky Times Together Part 3: The Spiderdick Chronicles.
  • “To be clear, I'm describing what literally happens in different scenes in a truly horrendous film.”
  • Schwartz tries to imitate Bubba Fett. “He goes, ‘Where is the war? It’s in the stars.’