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

Comedy Bang! Bang!: “Tony Hawk Wears A Plaid Shirt And Silver Watch”

Aukerman & Hawk
Aukerman & Hawk (IFC)

Tony Hawk marks the first non-actor of the season and he holds his own remarkably well (also, I feel old when I see that Tony Hawk has grey hair). The material helps him along, including a bit about using a stunt double only when not riding his skateboard. Also great is a slideshow of Hawk’s wedding to his first skateboard (Aukerman even throws a political jab saying, “It’s a quite a slippery slope”) that ends with Tony and his skateboard each riding another skateboard. Hawk plays offended when Aukerman asks why he didn’t show one of him riding his own skateboard. “What is this, an HBO show?” Hawk asks. It’s all quite fun and the poorly Photoshopped pictures are hilarious in their own right. Hawk plays the straight man well.

The episode revolves around little Leland, a boy put in charge of the show by a fed up producer (Veep’s Matt Walsh). Leland is beyond silly, a small European boy of indiscriminate origin who insists on Reggie exclusively playing “Pop Goes The Weasel” (which he did, and it was actually pretty cool). Leland redecorates the set, throws Veruca Salt-style tantrums, and gorges on gooseberries. He even earns the title “Lord of the gooseberries,” which is something I’ve aspired to my entire life. “What is like having a tiny willie like I do?” he cackles and skips off. Leland is a perfect fit for an episode filled with ridiculousness. Even the frame story of the producer teaching Aukerman a lesson works in Bang! Bang! style. Plus watching little Leland say, “Why don’t cry about it fuck face?” was delicious.

There’s a skit where Aukerman and Watts put together a time capsule, but, after reading the instructions, decide to just put in objects from 20 years ago. It’s about as funny as it sounds, which is to say, not really at all. I liked the “I Heart Nancy Kerrigan” shirt, but the skit never went anywhere and ended with the confession that “time capsules are kinda lame,” a true statement and one that perhaps should have been more carefully considered.

Comedy Bang! Bang!’s track record at parody is mixed, but when the show locks in on a good idea, Aukerman and his team know how to execute. Aukerman hits the road like a regular Guy Fieri to find America’s best burger…and his wife’s murderer. The bright key lights of a Food Network show give way to the dark red glow of America’s Most Wanted. It’s a fantastic send-up of both shows and superbly funny in its own right. “No burger is too big…and no clue is too small.” The ending is perfect and the prize of a Presidential pardon and a picture where Aukerman had to smile is absurdly brilliant. This is one of my favorite skits of the season. Fully realized, a smart parody, and intrinsically humorous.

Ben Schwartz is the Michael Jordan of annoying characters. From his work on Jake and Amir to Jean-Ralphio, Schwartz works magic with grating buffoons. “Tony Hawk Wears A Plaid Shirt And Silver Watch” reintroduces publicist Rodney Wader, here showing up instead of Will Smith and seen last season showing up instead of Harrison Ford. Rodney is even more over-the-top than last time, his body and voice contorting and wriggling, as Aukerman and Hawk just look on. He gives the “juicy dish” on the next Will Smith flick: “Will Smith’s new movie will be filmed on cameras and will be in theaters this century. It’s called, ‘A Movie.’” Schwartz sells every line, and despite Aukerman’s plea to not have this happen a third time, I sure hope it does. The abject silliness of Leland and Rodney Wader combine for a joyous episode that squeezes a lot from a little.

“Tony Hawk Wears A Plaid Shirt And Silver Watch” succeeds not for anything high-minded or cutting, but because the skits are funny. The concepts almost all work, the timing is top-notch, and even the silliest bits are well sold. “I represent the greats,” Schwartz’s character says, and in this case, he does.


Stray observations:

  • Scott’s Onscreen Credit: Not Letterman. Factually true!
  • “I legally changed my name to Actress Nip Slip”
  • “Can you make anal beads out of Mentos?”
  • “Let’s go to a commercial.” For some reason, I found this hilarious.