Comedy Bang! Bang! Season 4: Episodes 6-10 Review
Comedy Bang! Bang! was never the easiest show to review. But I’ve stuck with it, because it’s not a show enough people are writing or talking about. When it was announced that the show’s fourth season would contain forty episodes, I knew I wouldn’t be able to write forty individual reviews. Therefore, I’m reviewing Comedy Bang! Bang! season four five episodes at a time. Below are my reviews for episodes five through ten.
“Mark Duplass Wears a Striped Sweater and Jeans”
Comedy Bang! Bang! usually produces quality holiday episodes, and that trend continues with “Mark Duplass Wears a Striped Sweater and Jeans.” The early death of Cupid (played by Eddie Pepitone, of course) gives way to a fun throughline of Scott trying to use Cupid’s arrows to bring together Reggie and set medic Marissa Price, which is nicely undercut in a “rug pull” ending that chastises the idea of forcing someone into a romance.
Even though he can play a tremendous sleaze, Mark Duplass is a likable and seemingly down-to-earth guy. Those attributes come through in his time on the couch, which really isn’t an interview. Instead, it’s a fun back and forth with Scott that seems equally comprised of pre-planned bits and the two just goofing around. Since Jessica St. Clair can’t appear on the Comedy Bang! Bang! TV show as Marissa Wompler, her popular character from the podcast whose look is impossible to visualize, she debuts a new character on this episode, Miss Polite. Conceptually, Miss Polite is an ideal guest for the television show. She’s a simple character who doesn’t require the breathing room and buildup of the podcast. While Miss Polite is no Wompler – and who could be – her quick descent into vulgarity is very funny, especially after Scott begins to dread what she’ll say next.
“Kid Cudi Wears a Denim Shirt and Red Sneakers”
Kid Cudi was announced as Reggie’s replacement the week “Kid Cudi Wears a Denim Shirt and Red Sneakers” aired, and it’s easy to see what led Scott to make the offer. Cudi brings a real energy and what seems to be genuine delight to his interview. It’s easy to focus on Cudi’s role in the episode because of the news, but that would mean neglecting the Baggage dating show and Henry Winkler’s guest appearance, both of which are really funny. The only aspect of “Kid Cudi Wears a Denim Shirt and Red Sneakers” that doesn’t work is Nöel Wells’ Aiden Tomasetto character, who approaches laughs a few times but always falls short.
“Jesse Tyler Ferguson Wears a Brown Checked Shirt and Stripey Socks”
The scenes of Scott Through the Heart, Scott’s multi-camera sitcom, are so well done, not to mention funny, that I wish the interviews with Jesse Tyler Ferguson and Seth Morris (playing cyborg rights activist Nelz Hebber) hadn’t left me wanting more. Ferguson’s not bad; he just seems slightly disinterested. There’s no life behind his banter with Scott. It’s like he’s reading it off a card. Nelz Hebber could work outside of the confines of a four minute appearance, so I’d be interested in seeing the extended cut of his interview or him appearing on the podcast. Unfortunately, his appearance here only works when he involves Reggie, and that’s pretty late into his interview. Thankfully, Scott Through the Heart and the dilemma between it and Comedy Bang! Bang! take up a large portion of “Jesse Tyler Ferguson Wears a Brown Checked Shirt and Stripey Socks,” and it’s all excellent. Plus, George Wendt!
“Dax Shepard Wears a Heather Grey Shirt and Black Blazer”
“Dax Shepard Wears a Heather Grey Shirt and Black Blazer” brings the laughs, but it also gets genuinely unnerving whenever Natasha Lyonne appears as Katie, Scott and Reggie’s roommate that violently tries to replace Scott. Though Katie is never scary, Lyonne’s performance and appearance result in an episode that’s can go from funny to unsettling in a moment’s notice. Helping to offset the unsettledness are the interviews with Dax Shepard and Kevin Allison’s Bertram Jollymore. Shepard’s appearance seems fairly scripted, yet he also doesn’t seem to be playing much of a character. Whether he is showing off his acting range or his numerous tattoos, Shepard remains pretty normal and is quietly, consistently funny. Less normal is Bertram Jollymore, who starts the interview as a personable gift guesser and quickly reveals some cracks in his cheery exterior. It’s nice to see Allison, a member of The State, playing a character again, and he makes enough of an impression that I hope he returns as different oddballs.
Tying everything together is a rush to get rent money that turns into a “who has done it?” after Scott and Reggie’s landlord is killed. The episode barely cares about any of it – it’s a way to work in Katie and create some faux-drama – and so it’s loose and fun and not to be taken seriously. Also included is a spoof of the “Sportsmanship. Pass it on!” commercial that works as an answer to those commercials and as a contained comedy sketch.
“Zach Galifianakis Wears Grey Corduroys and Brown Leather Shoes”
“Zach Galifianakis Wears Grey Corduroys and Brown Leather Shoes” finds everyone at CBB studios sleepy, resulting in the most surreal episode of Comedy Bang! Bang! yet. Comedy Bang! Bang! has done more elaborate high-concept episodes in the past, like the two time travel episodes last season. However, those managed to fit in interviews, whereas this episode eschews the traditional format. Zach Galifianakis, the only guest, mostly murmurs while laying down on a couch (and because he’s Zach Galifianakis, makes it all funny). The rest of the episode is comprised of different crew members’ dreams, which range from nightmares of couch-crushing guests to disarmament music videos featuring Tears for Fears.
There isn’t always much room for laughs when Comedy Bang! Bang! does elaborate episodes such as this one. But “Zach Galifianakis Wears Grey Corduroys and Brown Leather Shoes” manages to fit in consistent laughs despite everything else that’s included in the brief 22-minute runtime. A more hacky reviewer than I might even call this a dream episode.