Comedy Bang! Bang! Season 4: Episodes 2-5 Review
In my review of “Ty Burrell Wears A Chambray Shirt And Clear Frame Glasses,” the premiere of Comedy Bang! Bang!’s forty-episode fourth season, I said that, due to the huge episode order, I wouldn’t be reviewing the season on a week-to-week basis as I had for the previous two seasons. I couldn’t swear off reviewing Comedy Bang! Bang!, however, because it’s still a show worth watching and writing about. So what I devised was doing capsule reviews of each episode and publishing them every five episodes. Given that I’ve already written about the premiere, this only contains thoughts on episodes two through five.
“Maya Rudolph Wears a Black Skirt and Strappy Sandals”
While it’s great that James Corden named Reggie as his bandleader for The Late Late Show, episodes like “Maya Rudolph Wears a Black Skirt and Strappy Sandals” show how important the relationship between him and Scott is to Comedy Bang! Bang!. In a show that is always changing week to week, one of the few constants is that when Scott and Reggie interact, it’s going to be funny. Since a large portion of the episode is devoted to Scott, an undercover agent, having an internal struggle over whether he can help the feds bust Reggie, a thief that gives to those in need, a large portion of the episode is hilarious and enjoyable.
But so are the parts not involving Reggie, which show that Comedy Bang! Bang! can survive without him. Maya Rudolph is as delightful and game as ever during her interview, which is really a series of bits with Scott. Even better is Maria Bamford’s appearance as Claire Coulter, who quickly reveals herself as unstable, to say the least. Plenty of people have sat on the couch and played funny characters over the seasons, but few have given a performance on the level of Bamford’s here. The only time the episode leaves Comedy Bang! Bang! studios is for a spoof of Last Call with Carson Daly, which finds Scott hilariously acting like a real jackass and ignoring his guest, Twin Shadow. Otherwise, “Maya Rudolph Wears a Black Skirt and Strappy Sandals” keeps things simple and relies on the strength of its guests and the chemistry of Scott and Reggie, which are more than enough.
“Schoolboy Q Wears a Patterned Bucket Hat and Glasses”
I assume that a portion of Comedy Bang! Bang!’s viewers watch the show with some herbal refreshments. It’s wacky and surreal enough that it would pair well with whatever strain the kids are smoking these days. Comedy Bang! Bang! isn’t a stoner show, though. To my knowledge, isn’t written or performed under the influence of anything, which is why when Schoolboy Q appears in this episode blazed out of his mind, it’s kind of a problem. Schoolboy Q’s dazed state makes for some good moments, like his bewildered “Shit weird on this show, huh?” to Scott. Mostly, though, his time on the couch falters due to his inability to take part in any comedy. Horatio Sanz eventually appears as Aaron Neville, and things slightly improve, despite (or because) how uninterested Sanz is in doing a real impression. Still, that looseness also backfires to some degree, as Sanz’s slow approach to improv doesn’t work as well in this short form as it does on the Comedy Bang! Bang! podcast. That’s not to say he isn’t funny, because there are moments where Sanz strikes on something hilarious, such as Neville unwittingly describing himself becoming involved with terrorists. Sanz just takes a while to earn laughs. Since they don’t come from Schoolboy Q or the lazy X-Men spoof, “Schoolboy Q Wears a Patterned Bucket Hat and Glasses” could have used a more consistently funny character at the very least.
“Eddie George Wears a Navy Suit and Half-Zip Pullover”
Comedy Bang! Bang!’s Super Bowl special is unfortunately not that special. College Football Hall of Fame member Eddie George surprises by being a fun and affable guest, but there just aren’t many laughs here. Cedric Yarbrough and Kyle Bornheimer, two talented and funny performers, are completely wasted in a Sportscenter spoof that does little with its solid premise. The episode’s most puzzling moment comes when Scott cuts away to the episode’s halftime show, a song and dance number that never arrives at a joke. Thankfully, “Eddie George Wears a Navy Suit and Half-Zip Pullover” also contains Reggie’s wonderful, high-energy opening song, and Craig Cackowski’s appearance as the new commissioner of the NFL has its moments. But otherwise, this is a surprisingly weak outing.
“Simon Helberg Wears a Sky Blue Button Down & Jeans”
Possibly the best of the season so far, “Simon Helberg Wears a Sky Blue Button Down & Jeans” is a welcome episode where everything works. Helberg, who is unfortunately best known for The Big Bang Theory, is an engaged guest who earns laughs even from his introduction (props also go to Reggie for his perfect timing). He fluctuates from being the straight man opposite Scott and Reggie’s silliness to being silly himself, and it makes for a fun, fluid interview.
Though the through line of Scott and Reggie protecting the Canadian prime minister is fun – particularly the shrug of an ending including the reveal that their drill sergeant has been a mop – nothing tops Matt Jones’ appearance as author Shiloh Huffington. Jones, known best as Badger on Breaking Bad, has never been on the podcast. It’s impressive, then, that he is able to come out and have an appearance as loose and twist-heavy as some of the best character appearances on there. Initially claiming to be a super fan of Comedy Bang! Bang! who has written an oral history of the show, Huffington eventually admits he is deaf and unfamiliar with the show, which was a favorite of his ex-girlfriend. Instead of falling apart, Jones’ ridiculous appearance only becomes funnier as more and more information is revealed.