Reviews

Comedy Bang! Bang!: “Tony Hawk Wears a Plaid Shirt & a Silver Watch” Review

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It’s a sign of my ignorance that whenever Comedy Bang! Bang! has on a guest not known for comedy, like Jessica Alba or Tony Hawk, I assume they’ll bring down their episodes by being bewildered by the off-kilter tone of the show. That’s yet to be the case; however, I still prepare for the worst before episodes like “Tony Hawk Wears a Plaid Shirt & a Silver Watch”. Even if they’re not always funny in their interviews, non-comedians like Alba or Hawk are usually at ease and open to whatever happens. I have to assume it’s partly because they’re not on a traditional talk show where they have to entertain a live audience, but also because they’re surrounded by comedy professionals who know how to guide them through the show’s process.

Whatever failings “Tony Hawk Wears a Plaid Shirt & a Silver Watch” has, they’re unrelated to Hawk’s appearance. He wasn’t a particularly memorable guest, but judging by his demeanor and frequent laughs, he clearly enjoyed coming on the show. He even earned laughs from his “skateboard trick” with the boxes and some solid lines in his interview. That being said, he was eclipsed by the episode’s other guest, Ben Schwartz, who returned as Rodney Waber, publicist to the stars. (In Hawk’s defense, Schwartz’s personality can eclipse most anybody.) Waber is a barely dialed down version of Jean Ralphio, Schwartz’s character on Parks & Recreation, which means there was a lot of spastic movements and smug deliveries. Schwartz seems to be a divisive comedic figure, and I doubt this appearance changed any detractor’s minds. Being a fan of Schwartz, I enjoyed his appearance, even if it wasn’t as fresh or funny as it was last season.

The standout of this episode was the ‘America’s Most Killer Burgers & Aukerman’s Most Wanted Killer’ sketch, certainly the darkest thing aired on the show so far, and probably one of the funniest. After scoring multiple laughs from juxtaposing a cheery Food Network show with a man hunting for his wife’s killer, it was revealed that Scott’s favorite burger was made from his wife. But the sketch was even able to draw laughs after that horrible twist with the revelation that the winner of the Most Killer Burger competition got a presidential pardon and a picture with a smiling Scott. 

However, not everything in this episode worked. I got what the show was trying to do with Matt Walsh’s bratty rapscallion son, but it just didn’t work. The child actor did his job and played Veruca Salt, but this character probably would’ve worked better if played by a comedian on the Comedy Bang! Bang! podcast. Comedy Bang! Bang! has had success with broader characters on previous episodes, so the issue isn’t that it was too broad, it just didn’t click with the rest of the episode.

With enjoyable interviews and a terrific sketch, “Tony Hawk Wears a Plaid Shirt & a Silver Watch” continued Comedy Bang! Bang!’s run of not producing bad episodes, even if it didn’t continue Comedy Bang! Bang!’s run of producing great ones.