Comedy Bang! Bang! Season 2, Episode 14 Review: “Rashida Jones Wears a Black Blazer & Flowered Pants”

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Comedy Bang! Bang! has always been a show that changes things up on an episode-by-episode basis, so there’s a fun, “anything goes”-tone each week. One week it might be a musical; another week it’s an action-movie parody. Then there are episodes like “Rashida Jones Wears a Black Blazer & Flowered Pants” that features a musical number, action-movie parody, multiple guests, and a sketch that gets increasingly complicated and silly. What’s impressive isn’t that one episode packs so much in, or that each piece is individually funny; what’s impressive is this episode does all of that while keeping a relaxed and off-the-cuff tone.

At this point, saying an episode’s guest was both game and hilarious is something that’s pre-written in my reviews. I’m not sure Comedy Bang! Bang! has had a bad guest yet, but if they have it certainly isn’t Rashida Jones. For some interviews, Comedy Bang! Bang! has the guest commit and seemingly enjoy their appearance. Other times they have them act horrified and trapped by the madness around them. Rashida Jones’ appearance was the latter, and it was a smart decision not only because she portrayed it well, but because it gave way to that crazy Jungle Book-inspired musical number that beat anything in the show’s previous musical episode.

I’ve enjoyed almost all of this season’s high-concept premises, but I also liked how tonight’s was done, where the ticking bomb was present throughout but not in the forefront of the episode. I’m not saying the show should commit to doing them one way or another; I’m just glad they’re trying different things.

Horatio Sanz has recently become a somewhat recurring guest on the Comedy Bang! Bang! podcast, and having enjoyed his appearances there I was happy to see him make the transition to the small screen. His character, while not being uproarious, was still funny, and is among my favorite guests of the season. Going back to the relaxed and off-the-cuff tone of this episode, there’s a point in Sanz’s appearance where he starts to laugh, and the show kept it in. That isn’t something I remember seeing on the show, at least not often, and only adds to this episode feeling like a bunch of people riffing and trying to make each other laugh. It might not be one of Comedy Bang! Bang!’s more ambitious episodes this season, but it’s one of my favorites.

The Birthday Boys-Photo Credit:Chris Ragazzo/IFC ©2013

The Birthday Boys Mini-Review: Ben Stiller made his return to sketch comedy in episode four of The Birthday Boys, “Rock and Roll.” While Stiller was a welcome sight, I can’t help but wish he’d appeared in a better episode. Sketch comedy is always hit-and-miss, but most of “Rock and Roll” missed, with only Stiller’s initial scene and the final sketch working. I still like the show and the Birthday Boys themselves, so hopefully this is a blip on an otherwise good first season. Score: 5/10