Reviews

Comedy Bang! Bang!: “Fred Armisen Wears Black Jeans & Glasses” Review

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In my review of “Patton Oswalt Wears A Black Blazer And Dress Shoes,” the premiere of Comedy Bang! Bang!’s third season, I wondered how the show could keep up the amount of content packed into each episode. Now four episodes into the season, it’s become clear that, at least for now, the premiere was an outlier and Comedy Bang! Bang! is content with letting interviews and sketches play out instead of cutting to something else. That creative decision payed off better than ever in “Fred Armisen Wears Black Jeans And Glasses,” a loose, relentlessly funny episode that truly felt like the Comedy Bang! Bang! podcast brought to television.

The set up for the episode’s main guest, Fred Armisen, was unlike anything the show has done to this point. While the show’s interviews have gone poorly in the past, like Andy Dick’s in the Sliding Doors-homage from last season, they’ve never been purposefully sabotaged by Scott. Though the slight hostility towards Fred became nearly nonexistent in the episode’s latter half, it created a great, quasi-unnerving energy for most of his appearance. I was never a big fan of Armisen’s work on Saturday Night Live, but I’ve enjoyed him in almost everything since he left the show, and he managed to be very funny while playing a relaxed version of himself here. I’m as big a fan of Johnny Truckdaughter as anyone, but after his work here, I look forward to Fred taking over the TV at Night Show in 2044.

The episode went from great to greater with Adam Pally’s appearance as Robert DeBiro. Though his appearance only lasted four or five minutes, it felt much longer (in a good way). Part of the fun with having characters on the Comedy Bang! Bang! podcast is that Scott and the other guests can push the characters, and as a result have them become sillier, darker, or both. For a good example, look at any of Horatio Sanz’s appearances, including a very recent one. Or look right here. As a result of Scott and Fred poking at him, DeBiro went from an anti-drug spokesperson to someone who advocated cocaine use and took part in drug deals. It was perfect comedic escalation and a hilarious showcase for Pally.

While I’d love for Scott to get promoted to the TV at Night Show, episodes like “Fred Armisen Wears Black Jeans And Glasses” make me glad he’s still at Comedy Bang! Bang!. After two good but not particularly notable episodes, Comedy Bang! Bang! has delivered a terrific episode with constant laughs.