I am a big fan of Comedy Bang Bang and the comedic sensibilities of its creator and star Scott Aukerman. I have to follow that statement by saying Comedy Bang Bang can be very divisive, as it presents a type of absurdist humor that not everyone can go along with. Yes, the show features a ton of funny people as guests, including Zach Galifianakis, Michael Cera, Seth Rogen, Amy Poehler, and more, but the show captures a far stranger type of humor than many may be used to. It definitely explains why this show is a great fit for IFC, rather than any basic cable channel. Regardless, the entire first season is now available on DVD and it is full of plenty of crazy extras to go along with the bizarre nature that is this twisted talk show.
Based on an equally hilarious podcast, Comedy Bang Bang can best be described as a half-hour talk show spoof, featuring Scott Auckerman as its host, one-man musician/comedian Reggie Watts as Scott’s bandleader, and a variety of actors and comedians as guests. The guests are sometimes playing weird versions of themselves and at other times playing characters. An actor like Jon Hamm, for example, comes on as himself, while comedians like Paul F. Tompkins play a variety of different characters.
This DVD contains all 10 episodes from Season 1:
- “Zach Galifianakis Wears A Blue Jacket & Red Socks”
- “Amy Poehler Wears A Black Jacket & Grey Pants”
- “Jon Hamm Wears A Light Blue Shirt & Silver Watch”
- “Michael Cera Wears A Blue Denim Shirt & Red Pants”
- “Seth Rogen Wears A Plaid Shirt & Brown Pants”
- “Paul Rudd Wears A Red Lumberjack Flannel Shirt”
- “Ed Helms Wears A Grey Shirt & Brown Boots”
- “Elizabeth Banks Wears A Red Dress”
- “Adam Scott Wears A Red Oxford Shirt & Jeans”
- “”Weird Al” Yankovic Wears A Hawaiian Shirt”
Those familiar with Comedy Bang Bang, the podcast, would know that this is a pretty standard list of guest stars, along with some irregulars, but regardless, the joy of a guest cast like this, along with the regular shenanigans that go on with this show, is that the guests get to be involved in said shenanigans. Working from scripts that are partially hashed-out, with lots of room for improv, there is something in the style of this show that makes me respond quite favorably. The madcap nature of the series, despite having the semblance of structure, based in a familiar talk show setting does something for me, even when considering how different this show is from the podcast it was inspired by.
Putting my admiration for the show aside for a second, the first season does show room for improvement, as not all of the comedy hits as hard as it could, with some bits played for very awkward laughs, which are not always as strong as they may have seemed. A lot of this comes from the fact that most of this show was built around testing the waters of what it could accomplish, given this format. The second season of Comedy Bang Bang, which consists of double the amount of episodes, recently ended on IFC and it was much better handled, given how much more confident everyone seemed in their sophomore year, which is very similar to my thoughts on Chappelle’s Show, come to think of it. That said, there is still a lot to like about what came from this first season.
The Scott Aukerman/Reggie Watts duo certainly adds a ton of personality. Aukerman exudes a laid back charm, as he casually goes about his business, usually while wearing a nice sweater or cardigan, and dealing with a lot of over-the-top situations. Watts is a force to be reckoned with, when it comes to musical talents behind a turntable (let alone his beat-boxing skills), but he is just as great playing up the dry humor that really greases the wheels of this show. Together, the two are right up to par with many great talk show comedic duos, despite having much less time to work with on an episode by episode basis.
It only helps that there is so much going on in every episode, from the broader jokes to the meta humor that comes with a show of this nature, let alone the animated parts of the set that have come to life (yep). The fact that the guests are all game to play along just makes it all the more hysterical at its best and still quite humorous, when it’s not quite firing on all cylinders. Comedy Bang Bang is a strange beast of a show and likely quite off-putting for those happier with the realm of sitcoms (which is fine, I love me some sitcoms). With that said, it is decidedly different from most shows currently on and certainly worth a look if any of this sounds interesting.
While the show can be seen in HD, this DVD presentation does a fine job of letting you see the show for what it is – a talk show. Given the simplicity of Comedy Bang Bang as a TV series, the talk show format allows for just enough dynamism for the viewer to be pleased, when the show does in fact break out of the main set and opens up for a more visual experience, with the short bits that happen during the main portion of the show. In general though, the show is brightly lit and the DVD preserves the anamorphic widescreen presentation, so there is little to complain about, regarding this show’s presentation on DVD.
Similarly, the DVD’s audio presentation is exactly what it needs to be, even if it is not as stellar as a Blu-ray presentation. The Dolby Digital 5.1 audio tracks for each episode are clean and clear enough to let you appreciate all of the dialogue, along with the wonderful musical interludes provided by Reggie Watts.
There is a bevy of special features available on this disc, including a commentary track for every episode and plenty of other fun goodies. There may not be much regarding the actual making of the show, from a behind-the-scenes perspective, but there is still plenty to enjoy.
Audio Commentaries Featuring Characters from the Show – This is a lot of fun. Basically, every episode gets a brief look from Aukerman, who is then interrupted by one of the characters on the featured episode. It basically makes for a mini version of the podcast, which is guided along by the episode on screen. Very funny for fans of both the show and the podcast.
Deleted Scenes – About 6 minutes of deleted show segments.
Full-Length Alternate Celebrity Interviews – There is about 45 minutes of footage here. They shot a lot with these guests, who are all good sports.
Insult Supercut from “The Assassin” – A mashup of different one-liners from a particular segment.
Ultimate Teaser Trailer – A good way to introduce people to the show.
Alternate Title Sequence
Supercut of Reggie Watts’ Commercial Intros/Outros – A pretty cool way to listen to all of Watts’ music on the show.
Director Ben Berman’s Test Shoots for Special Effects
Comedy Bang Bang is a weird and wacky talk show, but I really enjoy it. I would not call it hit or miss, but I will continue to say that the humor is worth putting an asterisk next to, as it is not for everyone. Regardless, I think the show is pretty hilarious and it has an impressive array of guests who are all a lot of fun and game to get in on the craziness that is this show. Additionally, the DVD package provides plenty of extra fun to dig into and have fans enjoy the show even more.