“Can you believe that after all these episodes we’ve done with him, there are still things we don’t know about Kid Cudi?” In the opening of “Judy Greer Wears A Navy Blouse And Strappy Sandals,” Scott shows the crew last night’s Sporty 4:40, revealing that Cudi was once the most promising hockey player of his generation, until he threw it all away over a lost contact lens. But now Cudi’s archrival, Olie “The Goaltender” Marcoux (John Dore), is back to settle the score, or whatever scoring is called in hockey. Is it just scoring? Okay, then.
That’s right: It’s one of those hockey episodes you see all the time on TV. Marcoux says “the hockey world is abuzz” ever since Sporty 4:40 aired the episode probing into their last match. (So, since last night?) Marcoux’s already spoken to the hockey commissioner and arranged a rematch to finish… The Game That Never Ended.
Marcoux announces all of this in an exaggerated Québécois accent, and they quickly descend into smack talk—more like slapshot talk, am I right? That’s one of those hockey jokes you see all the time in television reviews—delivered in French and subtitled in English. Cudi caps the string of insults and cheap shots at each other’s moms with “Go for a swim in poutine with your prostitute mother!,” making Marcoux more determined than ever to best his rival.
It shouldn’t be too hard for a professional goalie to block the shot of a guy who hasn’t touched a stick in years—“not even to eat Chinese food,” Aunt Cudi (Kym Whitley) says. (Sporty 4:40 helpfully identifies her also as “Aunt Cudi, Cudi’s aunt.”) “I mean, how hard can it be,“ Scott asks, “playing in a sport you haven’t competed in for a decade against someone who’s been doing it professionally that whole time, all the while overcoming your sickening cowardice?” Yup, nothing but net. Hockey goal net.
In addition to Sporty 4:40, Comedy Bang! Bang! also brings back Sports Circumference, giving Steve Smiley (Cedric Yarbrough) and Pat Dantrick (Kyle Bornheimer) a chance to speculate on the spectacle to come. “Using the computer technology simulation from the film Rocky Balboa,” Dantrick announces, “We will be able to predict with 99.9 percent accuracy what will happen,” and what they predict is pratfalls and big cartoon tears for Cudi.
Where exactly does Judy Greer fit into this story? Well, she doesn’t, exactly. Scott does have two Greer-specific questions for her: “What is the name of your book and where do I know you from?” “One answer, two questions.”
Judy Greer makes a lot of appearances in TV and film, and an actor at her level doesn’t have time to audition for all those roles. Greer shares an industry secret: her “universal, all-purpose video audition that’s applicable to any role I might want to go in for.” Hers centers on that one line that’s as ubiquitous in films as hockey episodes are in TV: “I lost the files.”
Greer’s stock characterizations—from ditzy to to furious to stuffy British—makes this a silly quick-hit bit, and it nails the punchline: Her universal reel landed Greer her next big part in The File Loser. As the titular character? “No, I’m the quirky best friend.”
The episode is full of out-of-studio segments, even for Comedy Bang! Bang! Scott’s wary of “Judy Greer Wears A Navy Blouse And Strappy Sandals” turning into just another hockey episode, but he still collaborates with Greer on “another of these classic hockey albums.” Hock Jams features titles like “Puck,” “I’m A Little Stinker In The Penalty Box,” and “Winning Goalie.” It’s a Hail Mary pass (or whatever’s like a Hail Mary, but for hockey) to tie the interview to the framing story, but it doesn’t. Period. (Hockey term!)
Greer’s interview segment makes an attempt to mesh with the framing hockey narrative, but Rodney Waber (Ben Schwartz), returning thanks to yet another mix-up over the phone, does not. And that’s fine.
Barely pausing to introduce Waber to Judy Greer, who’s as disappointed as Scott is to see Tom Hanks’ publicist (“pubibititz”? “publitits”? “puppitchits”?) instead of Tom Hanks, Scott and Waber start to squabble at full volume immediately, and their conversation swerves way off topic just as fast: “What are ghosts?” “Remember that band Staind?”
Though this is Rodney Waber’s third visit to the show, Ben Schwartz’s loose-cannon energy makes it feel like an intrusion—a welcome one—from the CB!B! podcast universe, where he and Scott so often go on loopy, long-winded excursions of improv. This segment feels less structured and more intimate than the TV show often does, and not just because Waber ends up singing “It’s been a while!” into Scott’s groin. Schwartz brings a genuine sense of zaniness, of chaos, to the sometimes sedate world of late-night talk-show Bang! Bang!
At the end of the show, Cudi vanishes, and Scott’s afraid he’s cracked under the pressure. After all, Olie’s sure that “the IceCat truly is the IceChicken, bawk bawk bawk.” But no! Cudi takes the ice, and Olie gets his comeuppance: His tears of mirth at Cudi’s fall (which plays out as cartoonishly as the model predicted) wash out his contact lens, and Cudi’s puck slides into the goal to the jubilation of Smiley and Dantrick, and of Scott, who wandered over from the CB!B! studio next door.
Even Olie tries to make peace with his former enemy, asking Cudi to rejoin him—as a teammate. But Cudi’s downfall is his triumph: The laughter that greets his fall onto the ice reminds him that comedy, not hockey, is his true love. He lives to make people laugh, and Comedy Bang! Bang! lets him do that. “Not every episode, but often enough.”
“Judy Greer Wears A Navy Blouse And Strappy Sandals” doesn’t hang together terribly well, but it brings back some of CB!B!’s previous successful bits and characters without wearing them out, and—the truest test of comedy—it made me laugh out loud throughout, even if some of that laughter was begrudging. This episode never really goes for a power play, but it makes plenty of one-off shots, and that’s enough to win a… game? match? Hockey thing. That’s enough to win a hockey thing.
- Scott’s on-screen credit: Not Mikita, Stan.
- I’m never going to tire of Sports Circumference. Dantrick: “Animation has really taken a leap forward in the last fifteen to twenty years.” Smiley: “Oh, my goodness! Did you see Up?”
- “Our follow-up story tonight: Tom Brady has been convicted of murd—”
- I laughed at Greer’s long-winded explanation of “I don’t like reading, but I love to book!,” but I laughed hardest at her uncomfortable shift as she wraps up, then grins uneasily into the camera.
- It’s a shame LaToya Ferguson wasn’t at bat (or whatever the hockey version of “at bat” is) for this episode to lead a spirited discussion of The Slap 2: Hostie Gets Slapped.