Comedy Bang! Bang!: “Ty Burrell Wears a Chambray Shirt and Clear Frame Glasses” Review
Just weeks after season three ended, Comedy Bang! Bang! is back with a forty-episode season four. It barely feels like a new season due to the small break between season finale and season premiere, and that feeling carried over into this episode. If there are changes in this season of Comedy Bang! Bang!, they weren’t evident in the premiere. “Ty Burrell Wears a Chambray Shirt and Clear Frame Glasses” was a solid premiere that heralded good things for season four, good meaning that this was the same show we’ve come to enjoy for three seasons and fifty episodes.
Ty Burrell is the rare person living in California and involved in comedy who hasn’t appeared on the Comedy Bang! Bang! podcast, so his appearance tonight was his first interaction with any form of Bang! Bang!. However, you couldn’t tell that from his interview, as Burrell was a relaxed, charming guest that spent his time on the couch either making jokes or laughing at ones made by Scott, Reggie, and Fabrice Fabrice. Yes, it’s ridiculous and a little maddening when Burrell and his Modern Family co-stars pick up every award given out each year, but this interview was evidence that Burrell is genuinely funny, often in a way that puts the humor first and himself second. He and Scott had a great rapport that made the interview play like a conversation between two funny people, which is ideal with this type of show. Instead of having to jump to pre-written material because the guest wasn’t earning laughs themselves, as was a problem in the back half of season three, Scott was able to let Burrell talk, knowing that what he said would probably be funny. And it was.
To my knowledge, Fabrice Fabrice is one of only two repeat characters on the show, the first being the little stabby orphan Fourvel. Admittedly, Fabrice Fabrice has never been one of my favorite characters, or even one of my favorite Nick Kroll characters. Still, I enjoyed his appearance tonight, which found Kroll operating in max-high-pitched silliness. Kroll has appeared enough on the podcast and show that he has developed a comedic shorthand with Scott, and that history and ease between performers was hugely beneficial to earning laughs. Ty Burrell even became involved at one point, further cementing him as a great guest (though it hurt to watch Scott shout at Reggie after he similarly tried to join in).
“Ty Burrell Wears a Chambray Shirt and Clear Frame Glasses” was presented as a story read by an old man (Creed Bratton from The Office, later revealed as a criminal) to a young boy, and the framing device unfortunately hurt the episode. Comedy Bang! Bang! has successfully presented episodes as stories told by people before, but this simply wasn’t funny, at least until the ending. The opening sketch and Scott’s detective show, Dane Looker, were both fun, however, with the former being a nice bit of comedic escalation and the latter a silly parody of gimmicky detective shows (like Backstrom, airing on FOX this spring!).
Because of the framing device, “Ty Burrell Wears a Chambray Shirt and Clear Frame Glasses” missed the jump from good to great. (The boy’s comment about the story not being season premiere material was almost accurate.) But otherwise the episode wasn’t short on laughs, as the interviews and sketches all worked well. I’m not going to write individual reviews for all forty episodes this season, as that would be insanity. What I’m planning to do is watch every episode and write reviews for ones that warrant reviewing. (For example, I would write a review for an episode like “Eric André Wears a Cat Collage Shirt & Sneakers,” but would skip “Chris Hardwick Wears a Black Polo & Weathered Boots.”) I can’t quit reviewing this show cold turkey, because not enough people are watching or writing about Comedy Bang! Bang!, and I’m happy to do both given that this season premiere was a sign of good things to come.