Whether you are my goy aunt Charlotte or NBA Player Blake Griffin I don’t give a shit about your airport story. This makes the latter half of most late night talk shows something of a bummer for me. The monologues of older late night hosts like Leno and Letterman tend to bore me stiff already, but when it comes to watching them talk to rich and famous people about their rich and famous lives I get pretty much lethargic no matter who the host is.
Even hosts I enjoy like Conan and Fallon, whose monologues and skits are pretty consistently entertaining to me, tend to lose me unless their guest is someone I find absolutely fascinating.
And I’m beginning to suspect that the guests aren’t exactly thrilled either. Most of the time they’re on a press junket for some project they have been or will be promoting for weeks answering questions they’ve answered hundreds of times before and telling the same two or three sterile anecdotes worked out in preshow interviews:
“So I hear you were on an airplane recently?”
“Yes, it flew very high.”
The late night talk show interviews are pretty much lose-lose for everyone involved.
Thank God for Comedy Bang! Bang!
Currently in its second season on IFC, Comedy Bang! Bang! is a perfect mash-up of talk show and sketch comedy based on the Earwolf Network podcast which has been ongoing since 2009.
Host Scott Aukerman has entertained a wide array of guests ranging from Jon Hamm to Zack Galifianakis to Zoe Saldana. But you won’t have to listen to Aukerman’s guests talk about the latest hysterical thing their kids did or which one of their recent costars was the biggest onset prankster (spoiler alert: it’s always Mel Gibson).
In a recent interview with Community star Gillian Jacobs, for instance, Aukerman kicked off the interview by trying to guess where Jacobs was from by naming cities and having her reply with “hot” or “cold” based on the climate of the city he guessed.
However, should the interviews with actors, comedians and the like not be off-kilter enough for you, more often than not guests appear on the show as a myriad of unique characters; The League’s Jason Matzoukas plays a vampire chef, Parks and Recreation’s Ben Schwartz plays Harrison Ford’s publicist and comedian Paul F. Tompkins plays everyone from Andrew Lloyd Webber to Buddy “Cake Boss” Valastro.
But the guests don’t make Comedy Bang! Bang! phenomenal. The hosts do. Scott Aukerman is whiter than and just as funny as Conan O’Brien. He’s equal parts goofy and witty. He’s really, really white. But Aukerman is only one part of a two man team rounded out by his incomparable sidekick and one-man-band Reggie Watts.
Reggie Watts is Reggie Watts, a man who can only be described through tautology. Reggie Watts uses a loop pedal and a voice just as good at crooning as it is at beat boxing to make some of the best snippets of music ever thrown into ten second pre and post commercial break segments. He’s an improvisational comedian/musician who can send an audience into hysterics with a look and his far, far, far off the wall sense of humor is the perfect complement to Aukerman’s nonstop irreverence.
Long story short, Comedy Bang! Bang! is doing for TV comedies and talk shows what Mad Men and Breaking Bad did for serialized TV drama six or so years ago.
I don’t care about Jessica Alba’s last vacation, and quite frankly I don’t think she really feels the need to tell me about it. Probably because I tweet her as much just about every week. But when she pops up on Comedy Bang! Bang season 2 I think we’ll both be pretty entertained.