Reviews

Comedy Bang! Bang!: “Zach Galifianakis Wears a One-Armed Jacket” Review

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Of all the wild ideas Comedy Bang! Bang! has ran with over the course of three seasons, airing the series finale at the start of season three, while one of the funniest ideas, is also one of the more interesting. The trademarks of a series finale – nostalgic glimpses at the past and final words on the series’ themes and character arcs – don’t easily lend themselvse to a show that resets after most episodes. Of course, therein lies the fun of Comedy Bang! Bang! doing a faux-series finale. Besides being an opportunity to send up finale tropes, “Zach Galifianakis Wears a One-Armed Jacket” gave Comedy Bang! Bang! a chance to give the show a true send off, even if it was a winking, out of order one.

While the “touching” moments of “Zach Galifianakis Wears a One-Armed Jacket” were handled with the sincerity of a Zucker brother, I was fascinated, if not a little embarrassed, to find them sometimes effective. Though it was a send up of countless other identical scenes, and more importantly, fake, Scott and Reggie walking onto a dimmed Comedy Bang! Bang! set for the last time still gave me a twinge of emotion. While I doubt there was any intention of sincerity seeping through, the effect nonetheless speaks to my love of the show, and the show’s success of emulating the look and feel of similar scenes. I knew this wasn’t the end of Comedy Bang! Bang! – the episode says so multiple times – and yet I still occasionally responded as if that weren’t the case.

As for the episode’s actual intention, laughter, there was plenty of it, and thankfully not only from the episode’s gimmick. While the interviews with Zach Galifianakis and Scott’s parents often offered up reminders that this was the future, they mostly functioned as typical, funny interviews. The same can be said for Jenny Lewis, who was so funny and delightful as the replacement bandleader that Reggie’s absence wasn’t felt too strongly. Not that I wouldn’t miss Reggie, but she was great.

When Comedy Bang! Bang! shuffles off its mortal coil, I doubt the final episode will be as self-reflective and pay-off heavy as this. Because of that, I’m glad this episode exists. I look forward to revisiting this when all is said and done to see if it still works on any emotional level, or if I put way too much stock into what was an enjoyable, goofy episode. Hopefully I’ll have to wait a few seasons to find out, especially if they contain episodes like this one.