Comedy Bang Bang: The Complete Second Season
Directed by Bejamin Berman
Starring Scott Aukerman and Reggie Watts
Guest Starring Anna Kendrick, David Cross, Zach Galifanakis, and many more
Never trust a Bronie. For those of you who don’t know, Bronies are grown men who love the My Little Pony series and franchise… weird, I know. Granted this might be a strange way to start a review for an IFC series, but I’m pretty sure that the creators of Comedy Bang Bang would love it. First, let me explain the whole “Bronie” thing. At CultureSmash.tv, we have a Bronie, Zach Martin, who is like an annoying little brother to me. He HATED the first season of Comedy Bang Bang when he reviewed it, and so when I was given the second season to review I was quite hesitant. Now I know, NEVER trust a Bronie! Second, why in the world would the Comedy Bang Bang guys approve of my Bronie-hating first line? Well my friends, because it is a line just as off the wall and crazy as these comedy cats are!
Starting originally as a podcast, Comedy Bang Bang is a strange mixture of a sketch and talk show… almost like if “The Tonight Show with Jimmy Falon” had a baby with “Kids in the Hall” and that baby spent a little too much time with “Between Two Ferns with Zach Galifanakis.” It’s that weird and that awesome. Now, be forewarned that it can be rather dry humor where you literally just laugh at the absurdity of it all, but if you dig that kind of stuff, you will LOVE this show.
First, let’s delve into the hilarity that is Scott Aukerman, who acts as the host of the show. Aukerman has a very strange brand of humor all his own. Rather than fall all over himself like physical comedians like Will Ferrell or have the quippiest one liners like Daniel Tosh, Aukerman just revels in the absurd. He will say something that seems quite mundane and then turn around and say something completely the opposite and sit there until the joke sells. VERY few comedians can pull THAT off.
Then to the brilliance that is Reggie Watts, who is the music man and sort of side-kick. Reggie Watts is a stupidly amazing musician and comedian. Watts made the theme song for “Key and Peele,” another one of my favorite funny shows. Reggie just looks funny, if I can be honest. He is a big guy, with an even bigger afro… which I swear gets bigger every show. He also wears the most ridiculous sweaters… starting the season off with a sweater that mimics Pac Man. But what Reggie does as far a music goes is SICK! He keeps a Korg keyboard onstage with him, and uses a combination of microphones and loop and distortion pedals. This man can make nearly any sound in creation. He can beat box like Timbaland, make sound effects like Michael Winslow, and sing like Maxwell. Not to mention that he melds it all together to make the funniest, coolest, and most fantastical pieces of music that I’ve ever heard.
Next we have the guest appearances. This is predominately a talk show, but not like Chelsea Lately or Ellen but rather more like FunnyOrDie.com’s “Between Two Ferns,” which Aukerman actually writes. They have everyone on there from Sarah Silverman to Cobie Smulders to Andy Samberg. The stars aren’t really being themselves nor acting, but rather being a heightened version of who the public thinks that they are, which is wonderful and absolutely brilliant. I’m not sure how much of this show is scripted and how much is improvised but you’ve got to have some good comedy chops to keep up with Aukerman and Watts, and every single one of these guests exceeds my expectations.
Not only do they feature guest stars like Academy Award nominee Anna Kendrick or superstar Jessica Alba, but they also feature amazing comedians playing someone other than themselves. My favorite being Nick Kroll as Fabrice Fabrice, the Kraft Services guy. I literally had to take a bathroom break, so that I wouldn’t pee my pants while watching. Kroll plays a flamboyant, overly confident, and just all around strange caterer who does free form poetry. At one point Reggie starts playing what sounds like elevator music while Fabrice starts making up strange poetry about Kangaroo Soup. Sheer Brilliance.
I mentioned that this is also a sketch comedy show. Granted there’s but one running sketch in the show, but it’s always great. One of my favorites is when Scott gets a cold and has a team shrink down to miscroscopic size to go inside of his body to defeat the cold, led by Christopher Meloni from Law and Order: SVU. They’re overly dramatic with stereotypes abound, and it’s everything that you could want and more.
Needless to say I love this series. I feel like it is such a fresh and new concept and so much fun to watch, if you have the right kind of sense of humor. Stand-up comedian Patton Oswalt said, “Like if Monty Python hosted a talk show.” I have to agree with him. It is that Monty Python-like humor that not everyone gets… kind of like the Christopher Guest Mockumentaries. You either get it or you don’t. Well, friends turn on your brain and try not to take it all too seriously, because it IS comedy after all, and damn fine comedy at that.
Shot for IFC on television, it’s a really slick looking show. Most of the series is shot within a studio with wooden walls and lots of taxedermied animals. A strange looking set for an even stranger show I suppose. The sketches done outside look great as well. There are some special effects that do indeed look hokey, but are a kind of masterful hokey, if that makes any sense. They have an entire bit where there are two ladders who can talk and move by themselves that is hysterical and done very well.
A-MAH-ZING. I still can’t get over Reggie Watt’s music. Why have I never delved into this man’s world before? Honestly after watching this all I want to do is buy a ton of loop pedals and distorters and start my own one man band. The audio for everything else is wonderful as well with stunning special effects on sound and really good mixing otherwise.
The Packaging and Bonus Features
The packaging is wonderful. The artwork on the front is hilarious. It features Aukerman as a centaur in a cardigan… so that he almost looks like something between a Greek God and Mr. Rogers. Reggie is riding his back with a magical staff that’s catching a bit of lighting. The whole thing looks like something that Tenacious D would have done, but then again, Aukerman wrote the first draft for The Pick of Destiny.
The bonus features are the best I think I’ve ever seen on a show like this. There is an entire DVD just for bonus features. In the special features you get deleted and extended scenes. One of those features a poem by Fabrice Fabrice which did not make the cut into the series, but made me almost pee my pants. There are a couple of features focusing on Reggie and his music, my favorite being the “Reggie’s Season 2 Music Supercut,” which is just all of his music from the entire season cut into one long clip. In this clip you not only realize how ridiculous he looks, but how monstrously talented he is. There is also audio commentary for EVERY episode, and they’re really entertaining. It’s all of the writers for each episode and what they had to go through to create and shoot each episode.
NEVER trust a Bronie (CultureSmash contributor Zach Martin). I was so incredibly hesitant to watch this show, and now I’m seriously regretting that hesitancy. This is one of my new favorites now. I flew through this season without batting an eye or getting bored. It is such a fresh and new concept and keeps my ADD brain occupied with cuts away to music and sketch comedy. And I would definitely splurge for the DVDs considering all of the bonus features. Between the audio commentary for each episode and all of the deleted and extended scenes you would never see anywhere else, it is definitely worth the pay. Comedy Bang Bang, you “Bang Banged” your way right into my heart.