Review – Comedy Bang! Bang!
Comedy Bang! Bang! – IFC – 10:00/9:00pm Friday – USA
IFC’s new comedy series Comedy Bang! Bang! started life as a podcast that became the cornerstone of the Earwolf podcast network. Despite not having listened to the Comedy Bang! Bang! podcast itself, the influence of that show has trickled down into the podcasts I do amuse myself with, most notably the hilarious How Did This Get Made? also from the Earwolf network and recently featuring Bang! Bang! host Scott Aukerman as a guest. As Aukerman’s podcast empire continues to expand it makes perfect sense for him to try and launch his flagship show on the small screen.
Comedy Bang! Bang! takes the talk show format and gives it a twist. Each episode Aukerman and his band leader Reggie Watts invite an actual celebrity onto the couch, in the first episode Zach Galifianakis drops by, and they’re later joined by other guests, who are usually other comedians doing a character. Comedy Bang! Bang! isn’t a talk show with some wackiness thrown in, it’s a comedy show that just happens to be about a talk show. There’s a lot of improvisation – Galifianakis nearly loses it at least twice from giggling too much – and there’s a lot of scripted gags thrown into the mix as well – Aukerman gets up part way through an interview to go check his car which is in the middle of a post-apocalyptic war zone.
IFC has become a friendly home to this particular brand of alternative comedy. There seems to be a real freedom on the network to be as weird as you want to be. As we’ve seen from Portlandia or Onion News Network or even any of the cult classics IFC repeats like Arrested Development or Mr. Show, jokes don’t need to make sense they just need to be funny. Comedy Bang! Bang! has that same mentality, and it’s also shared by IFC’s other new comedy Bunk, which is essentially Comedy Bang! Bang! in a game show format. There’s no need to explain why Zach Galifianakis is trying, and failing, to imagine what it would be like if a talking dog could talk, it’s just funny.
The only real downside to Comedy Bang! Bang! is that despite being really funny it doesn’t ever feel like the sort of show you need to see more of. This could be a hangover from the way podcasts behave – I have a good handful of podcasts that I love and that I grab every new episode but they always feel like something to listen to when I’ve got the time. You don’t make appointments to listen to the latest episode of your favourite podcast; no matter how great they are they’re always going to be filler. Comedy Bang! Bang! has that same feeling – I know that if I had half an hour to fill this would deliver some good laughs, but there’s nothing here that compels me to make watching the show a habit.
Good, Alright, Bad Or Ugly?