Since the December announcement that Reggie Watts would be leaving Comedy Bang! Bang! for the monetarily greener pastures of James Corden’s Late Late Show (or The Latest Show, to those in the know), there’s been the lingering question of just how that particular surreal late night sketch talk show exit would go down. There was no doubt that it would be an event episode, partially because every episode is technically an event episode, but also because it was something that would send Comedy Bang! Bang! into uncharted territories. Scott and Reggie. Reggie and Scott. That’s the show. Now, that was the show. The send-off of Reggie Watts had to be epic, because epic is what Comedy Bang! Bang! does, and based on the story the show tells, Reggie is just as big a part of the show as Scott. He’s the sidekick, but he’s also legitimately Scott’s best friend within the show. While Comedy Bang! Bang! lampoons the idea of the host/sidekick relationship among other late night talk show conventions, there’s always been a sense of equal footing between the two, where Reggie isn’t just the yank-his-chain doll of a sidekick and band leader.
Now, according to “Judd Apatow Wears A Polo and Blue Suede Shoes,” he’s also a space alien from Dimension Z, a place that wants to destroy Earth. Do you feel “#blindsided,” as the episode flashes when Reggie makes the announcement (officially making the show viral, of course)? Well it checks out, even if you don’t figure the Key & Peele bit into it, because who else but an alien to make such sick beats as “there’s a crow in my beard”? Framed by a futuristic world where Scott has aged into Riff Raff from The Rocky Horror Picture Show, the episode is his retelling of quite the traumatic incident: “The Death Of Reggie Watts.” The only thing missing is the standard “dun dun dun” track, but have no fear—the episode hits all the beats of your befriend an alien-slash-alien invasion angle, complete with stock footage of the aftermath. It’s one small part Independence Day, a dozen more parts ET (complete with military interference led by Mad Men’s Christopher Stanley), and some other parts.
Simply put, it’s the perfect way to write off Reggie Watts. Sorry in advance, Kid Cudi.
For this episode, unlike most Comedy Bang! Bang! guests, Judd Apatow is here specifically with a promotional agenda—for the Amy Schumer comedy he’s produced, Trainwreck—and that is the entire joke with him. Well, alongside the fact that, at this point in his career, it apparently doesn’t matter whether or not a project looks good, as long as it has his name on it. See the made-for-Comedy Bang! Bang! movie This Is Zero or the mock-up of a movie poster he makes with Scott’s bizarre daughters. The bit with Scott’s daughters almost falls flat, but the very image of them in ‘80s nerd garb (or just 21st century hipster clothing) makes it a fun detour, though one that is practically forgotten by the end of the episode. It’s very much a part of the episode that belongs to the Judd Apatow bit and nothing else. This is an episode where the guest is an after thought—though his inclusion does lead to a humorous, commercial bit that merges both the main storyline and his shilling for his movie—as this is Reggie Watts’ story.
It’s also pretty fitting that a writer/director/producer known greatly for his stoner comedies (or comedies with stoners, as they were) is the guest in the Reggie Watts farewell episode, which just so happens to be season four, episode 20. 420. Get it? The fact that he’s Judd Apatow (and not an A-list actor) and solely there to promote his upcoming movie means he doesn’t need to have much of a comedic character within the episode, and he can just be in service of the plot for as long as he’s needed. When he’s not talking about his movies, he’s talking about how much he loves the relationship between Scott and Reggie and how he’s “looking forward to the next 10 years” of their dynamic, comedic duo.
“Scott, TV episodes are like M&Ms. 70 of them, and I’m done.” Reggie makes that joke after telling Scott he’s leaving, but it’s not until Reggie is moments away from physically leaving (right in the middle of the show) that he finally believes him. Honestly, knowing Comedy Bang! Bang!, it’s easy to think that Reggie’s departure was just an elaborate bit that was meant to keep going until the show itself finally addressed it. Reggie’s relaxed attitude when he first announces to Scott (while texting) that he’s leaving is perfect, as Reggie is a chill dude in every scenario, kind of makes it appear to be the case too. Just watching it, it’s difficult not to be in denial like Scott. That’s with the audience being made perfectly aware ahead of time that this was going to happen sooner rather than later.
Even with the emotional weight that comes from the Reggie Watts departure, this is still an episode of Comedy Bang! Bang! There are dick jokes (thanks, Obama), wordplay, and aliens. Classic Comedy Bang! Bang! and total “you gotta laugh” material. But once Scott acknowledges the fact that Reggie is actually leaving, all the dick jokes in the world can’t bog down the genuine emotion that comes from the impending goodbye. To be perfectly honestly, I found myself teary-eyed by the time Reggie Old Yeller’d Scott and called him a “dumb mutt.” And this is coming from an episode of television that begins with jokes about cell phones and the Internet being “fads” and whether or not we would ever have another white male president. It’s just goes to show: For all of Comedy Bang! Bang!’s humorous send-ups of melodramatic moments, it’s as impressive as anything else that it can do that and elicit real emotions.
Reggie waving bye-bye to Comedy Bang! Bang! both metaphorically and literally happens as perfectly as it possibly could in the span of a 20-plus minute episode of television. This is 70 episodes worth of build-up (well, technically 69 episodes of build-up—again, numbers are great), and it was worth every single one of them. Goodbye, Reg Man. Be good.
- Scott’s Onscreen Credit: Dodge Caravan
- Is the episode also a little bit Mac And Me? You be the judge. (It’s not, but there’s never a bad time to mention Mac And Me.)
- Jacob Pitts is kind of in a thankless role as the future interviewer, but at least he gets to ride off in his future scooter.
- Scott (re: This Is Zero): “Wow. That looks terrible.”
Judd: “I don’t know if that matters.”
- Judd: “Reggie, you stole my screen green!”
- I wonder how Gertie and Magpie Aukerman felt about the death of their mother Mavis. Life’s mysteries.
- Reggie: “I’m like Gladiator—I want to beat traffic.”
Scott: “Oh, ‘cause Gladiator beat Traffic in the Academy Awards. No, wait, no!”
- Reggie: “I’m here to rescue you.”
Scott: “Rescue me? What do I look like, Denis Leary to you?”
Reggie: “Kind of. All you humans look the same to me.”
Scott: “I can’t believe you’re an alien. Why would you lie to me? What do I look like, Tim Roth to you?”
Reggie: “Kind of.” This is already a great exchange, especially with all the dutch angles and close-ups, but any reference to two-season Fox series Lie To Me is a thumbs up in my book. If there had been a Life reference, that would have taken up the entire review. Rescue Me references are fine.
- Overlord Rash, Overload Pimple, Overlord Zits… and Reggie. Water hurts them, but bullets are like Viagra to them. Boing.
- “1 DOWN: Two words, someone who misses and loves Scott Aukerman” 2 ACROSS: Two words, someone who misses and loves Scott Aukerman” Answer? The Reg Man. “That’s three words.” Don’t listen to what you hear—I’m not made of stone. I’m really glad I got to review this episode.
- I can’t believe I almost forgot about the Hercules bit with Scott’s “DISAPPOINTED.”