‘Comedy Bang Bang’ Taps into Our Secret Desire to See Funny People Being Funny

By  · Published on June 23rd, 2012

Bunheads, back-to-back-to-back Law and Order: SVU and Big Bang Theory reruns – so far this month, I’ve really just been aimlessly watching TV, waiting for the Louie premiere (and spoiler alert/alert nerd, you’ll probably be reading about that here in the very near future) but Comedy Bang Bang, IFC’s new strange talk show-sketch show hybrid born of a podcast of the same name, has given my life purpose. That purpose: watch Comedy Bang Bang a lot.

Hosted by former Mr. Show writer Scott Aukerman (who gives off a Michael Cera fifteen years from now vibe), Comedy Bang Bang is filmed on a wood-paneled set that’s decorated with taxidermied animals and, to my mind, looks like a cross between a creepy, ’70s, key party den and Mr. Rogers’ house (possibly a creepy, ’70s, key party den in Mr. Rogers’ house). The quirky arrangement is merely the tip of the iceberg, though, when it comes to how peculiar this show is.

In each episode, Aukerman sits down to chat with a prominent funny person. The talk show conceit allows for a revolving door of comedians (and Jon Hamm, who I think we can all agree is just as much of a comedian as any other person whose out there comedian-ing it up these days) to improvise with host Aukerman and “band leader” Reggie Watts. In the premiere, Zach Galifianakis joins them and is asked probing questions like, “what’s your favorite way to laugh?” and, apropos of nothing, “if you could do it all again, would you?” The interview becomes intense when Galifiankias tries and fails to imagine what it would be like if dogs could talk (he can imagine them living in an elaborate human world where they wear suits but as much as he strains he can’t get his mind to make the final leap that would allow them to talk). The whole show is brimming with this kind of nonsense – all of it, oddly hilarious. At one point, Aukerman leaves the studio to feed a parking meter and the world outside of the relative serenity of the studio (for this moment, anyway) is a bleak, post-apocalyptic nightmare where humans are enslaved by robots and Gillian Jacobs, in a brief cameo, is trying to get blueprints of the robo base to the “human alliance.” Aukerman nonchalantly blows her off and goes back into the studio (robo-apocalypses are the worst).

The content here is all over the place in the best way possible – you don’t know what to expect, you can’t know what to expect. I’m not one to laugh out loud while watching TV alone but Comedy Bang Bang is so disarming that it’s almost impossible not to chuckle to yourself. In a spoof trailer during the second episode, Watts plays a man who wishes he’d never been born and then wakes up full-grown, still living in his mother’s oversized stomach. Cue weird-as-hell implication of him having sex with his wife while he’s still in the womb and that laughter comes easy.

Please enjoy clips from Comedy Bang Bang below: