Reviews

Comedy Bang! Bang!: “Steven Yeun Wears Rolled Up Black Jeans & No Socks” Review

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“Steven Yeun Wears Rolled Up Black Jeans & No Socks” begins innocently enough with Scott being left in charge of four adorable puppies: Lady, Jelly Belly, D-Money, and Braino, and ends twenty-two minutes later, soon after Braino (a conspiracy nut) shoots a jewel thief who reveals they’re pregnant. It’s a moment so twisted I felt sick for laughing. However, I didn’t merely laugh. I practically guffawed, just as I did at many other moments in the episode, like when Scott raises awareness for cross-eyed puppies (one of whom is named Dipshit). At times, the episode is jovial and lovely, but also heartless and twisted. The only constant is the laughs, which are so plentiful and surprising they make “Steven Yeun Wears Rolled Up Black Jeans & No Socks” one of the season’s best episodes.

Comedy Bang! Bang!, an alternative comedy talk show on IFC, is about as different from The Walking Dead, a high-concept ratings juggernaut on AMC, as a show can be. That’s what made Steven Yeun’s initial appearance on the Comedy Bang! Bang! podcast so surprising, especially when he quickly fit in with the show’s vibe. Yeun isn’t one of the funnier guests the Comedy Bang! Bang! TV show has had on (even this season), but his ease and willingness to play along make him a good guest here, just as he was on the podcast. Second guest Horatio Sanz returns to show after his first appearance in last season’s “Rashida Jones Wears a Black Blazer & Flowered Pants,” this time playing Victor Ramos (from podcast episode #226). As funny as Sanz is, he is a loose improviser, so the laughs often build up over time due to inconsistencies or gaffs on his part. Because he’s replaying Ramos and his appearance is heavily edited, it is clearer and more direct than any of his podcast appearances. I don’t know that Sanz’s characters translate to the TV show as well as better realized characters from Andy Daly, Paul F. Tompkins, or even last week’s guest, James Adomian. However, because Sanz is inherently funny (and Scott is clearly amused by him), he’s still enjoyable to watch.

While the interviews are fine, the best parts of “Steven Yeun Wears Rolled Up Black Jeans & No Socks” are the surroundings. This was a massively silly episode, as it included talking dogs and a music video from Matt Besser and The Vandals showing Reggie getting hit in the nards and being sprayed with water. Ironic or not, the sophomoric, Idiocracy-level stupidity was genuinely funny, and it was made funnier when juxtaposed with the episode’s darker elements. Within a matter of seconds, Jelly Belly might fart, and then Braino would respond by suggesting 9/11 was an inside job. Comedy Bang! Bang! can go from playful to homicidal in the blink of an eye. The show is too consistently cheerful (occasionally mockingly) to call it black-hearted, and that’s what makes its occasional jumps into being a legitimate nightmare so pronounced.

I’ve been quoted in commercials for Comedy Bang! Bang! before, and if IFC needs another pull quote, I offer up the following: “Comedy Bang! Bang! is so funny it made me laugh at a pregnant woman’s death. – Jeremy Sollie, GeekBinge.com.” I don’t expect to see that on television, although it’s a genuine compliment. Comedy Bang! Bang! isn’t a button-pushing show, yet it can still land a horrifying and possibly offensive joke. And unlike a button-pushing show, Comedy Bang! Bang! can pull off all kinds of jokes, and this episode is a perfect example of its diverse comedic sensibilities. “Steven Yeun Wears Rolled Up Black Jeans & No Socks” isn’t a perfect episode, but when laughs become giggles and guffaws, does it really matter?