Comedy Bang! Bang!: “Josh Groban Wears a Suit & Striped Socks” Review
“Josh Groban Wears a Suit & Striped Socks” couldn’t have aired at a better time. This has been a good season of Comedy Bang! Bang!, but it’s also been a different one. Though it’s still no where close to a traditional talk show, season three has been inching towards that direction – no doubt in preparation for season four’s forty episodes. While still enjoyable, it’s been missing the spark that was present for nearly all of season two. Instead of wildly inventive episodes we’ve been getting mildly inventive ones, though they’ve always been funny and entertaining. I’m confident the change is intentional and have been doing my best to grade the show for what it is, not what I want it to be. However, season three’s mid-season finale, “Josh Groban Wears a Suit & Striped Socks,” proved Comedy Bang! Bang! can still go for broke and craft something not only funny, but truly impressive.
The production photos for this episode showed a throwback set, so I knew this episode would take place at least partly in the past. But I had no idea of the lengths this episode would go to be a throwback, from the gorgeous black and white cinematography to the crackling audio and cackling studio audiences. Even if the laughs hadn’t been there, Scott’s journey to the Sullivan Hunchy show still would’ve been worth praising for the production aspects alone.
However, the laughs were certainly there, throughout the Sullivan Hunchy show and the present day bookends. The opening monologue and banter – or lack thereof – between Scott and Hunchy’s bandleader Charlie Mills (little Charles Manson) was terrific, and wittily lampooned the disconnect between past and present so often milked in film and television. And both the episode’s guests, Josh Groban and Morty Sheesh, were delights. Groban, known worldwide for his powerful voice, can now also be known for his comedic chops, as he expertly played up the sleaze as a ‘pretty boy’ caricature of himself. As Morty Sheesh, Josh Fadem did a wonderful job mimicking the cadence and mannerisms of 60’s TV comedians, and led a memorable couple of minutes. Reggie even got a chance to shine near the end playing his father, Jimick Wattersmith, who could not only play the guitar, but use it to colorize the set (and also kill Sullivan Hunchy).
There was no time for a sketch in this packed episode, so besides Scott’s time in present day, this was fully a talk show. And yet it never felt like just a talk show, because that’s not what Comedy Bang! Bang! truly is. Comedy Bang! Bang! takes the talk show format and runs past Letterman and Conan, who took jackhammers to the format but still had to interview Kardashians. Comedy Bang! Bang! doesn’t have to include interviews with vapid reality show stars. Instead, it can produce an episode full of laughs and creativity like “Josh Groban Wears a Suit & Striped Socks” that prove this show can’t be crammed into a box and labeled a “talk show.” This isn’t just a talk show, or even an off-beat one. This is Comedy Bang! Bang!, and it is wonderful.