Comedy Bang! Bang! - A Spiritual Journey
It’s a strange worry that I have, but every time the main guest on Comedy Bang! Bang! is someone who really isn’t with the whole alternative comedy scene or fits into it in some way, I fear for un-fun awkwardness. One thing I think we all (mainly myself) must take into account is how greatly Scott Aukerman has grown into his position as host, and comedic presence on his own. In a safe 98%, if not 100% of the time now, Scott manages to make the experience for the guest and listeners a good one some how, making the awkward and magical all part of the fun. No matter who the guests are, big and small, Aukerman always manages to pull off a great episode with their help.
With episode 210, I didn’t necessarily feel my initial fear too badly, as the guest is Adam Brody. I’ve always found Brody to be completely capable and hilarious in almost everything he does, especially in weirder things like The Ten, or Jennifer’s Body, or even Grind. Similar to Michael Cera (who has really grown into his own, but that’s for another conversation) or Colin Hanks, Brody was a fantastically low-key, but entirely participating guest for the show. Fun bits were shared, and even when Joe Wengert’s much weirder character of Shelby Orangina comes into play, Brody stepped up to bat and even helped push the ridiculousness. Major kudos to him, especially these days for branching out and doing more interesting projects, like indie films or participating in things like Comedy Bang! Bang! or Burning Love. His great talent is warmly welcome and fits well into the stylings.
This episode is a special one in bringing to light some of the show’s best character players that happen to be somewhat underrated. Joe Wengert and Lauren Lapkus seem to each have a special brand of character they like to mess with, but dammit do they do it well, mainly because overall, they’re just purely talented and funny people. Lapkus’ recent turn as Scott’s nephew Toby made for a blast of an episode, and in this episode as a high schooler (unknown if friends with Marissa Wompler) named Traci Rearden, she really got to stretch her legs and create an interestingly weird character. Independent yet emotional, Lapkus’ Traci made fantastic additions and playful banter as a co-host, being the right amount of weird while staying with Scott. I’d love to see more of Lapkus, as I think that she’s on the precipice of some really good recurring characters.
Along with Lapkus comes improv monster Joe Wengert. The two worked together beautifully in an episode last year with Tim Heidecker, and they don’t disappoint again as separate characters that when combined, make for great chemistry and insanity. The same kind of magic happened with this episode, pleasingly so. Shelby Orangina is a character with a simple bit, but Wengert just knows how to exploit it and really run with a premise, using all of its worth by the end of the episode. It reminded me of a Superego character, not only in terms of voice and comedic direction, but because Wengert is just so fast on his toes. Wengert is a favorite on Matt Besser’s Improv 4 Humans, and his comedic ability transfers quite beautifully in much more long form affairs. His wit is quick and strong, rivaling that of CBB favorites. In correlation, he’s incredibly playful with bits and scenarios, always making for something funny. Either on his own or with another character player like Lapkus, among others, Wengert is a strong presence that deserves some more air-time and attention.
This episode, along with 208 with Steve Yeun, was a warm reminder that Scott Aukerman can still pull off a great episode with a guest that isn’t entirely familiar with the show. He’s always generally been able to pull off a good episode, but as of recently, he’s done nothing but that. In fact, the guy is getting much better as it. As mentioned in a recent interview, “Auk-Dog” said that the podcast is basically improvised fun that doesn’t require too much thought anymore. After 200+ episodes, Aukerman proves that to be absolutely correct, and that his ability comedically and as a host is just improving project by project. Comedy Bang! Bang! TV has him working a unique personality, as well as writing some of the most ridiculous comedy in recent years, and the podcast keeps him on his toes. I cannot wait for the world to get more and more of Scott Aukerman, mainly because the more he is just himself, the more it’ll weird out most people, and that’s funny to me.
Also, check out the last episode with Wengert and Lapkus, as well as Lapkus’ other great appearances. Hell, check Wengert on Improv 4 Humans. You’re gonna love them, I’m sure of it.