Comedy Bang! Bang!’s third season has been an experiment in unearned self-congratulatory behavior. From Scott potentially graduating to the late night big leagues to the sneak peek of the series finale, this season—a super-sized one at that—is all about the show patting itself on the back for being a cultural institution. So a top 10 countdown of Comedy Bang! Bang!’s greatest television moments is just the icing on the cake.
Of course, this being Comedy Bang! Bang!, there is a twist to the countdown. Instead of simply being a list of the top 10 Comedy Bang! Bang! television moments of all time (two through nine are Comedy Bang! Bang!-related, after all), it’s a list of the top 10 television moments of all time as chosen by Comedy Bang! Bang! The format of the episode even frames it in the context of it ultimately counting down to number one being a constantly mentioned marriage proposal by Lizzy Caplan to our beloved Reggie Watts, only for it to not even make the list.
Scott: “Boy, I wish this clip could go on forever.”
Reggie: “That’s the problem with these. They can’t go on forever.”
Scott: “That’s my main problem with countdowns.”
Scott Aukerman’s genuine disdain for countdown shows shines bright throughout this episode, covered in a saccharine sweet demeanor and tasty to the last bite.
Despite the difference in formats, this episode’s runner about the proposal is somewhat reminiscent of the Childrens Hospital running joke of Newsreaders host Louis La Fonda’s seemingly infinite interview with actress Kate Walsh. It’s one joke, but each time it’s pulled out, it lands. That’s essentially the case with the constant build-up of Lizzy Caplan’s proposal to Reggie Watts. Only here, there is an end in sight, even if we never get to see it ourselves.
The chances of the Lizzy Caplan proposal being number one were slim given Comedy Bang! Bang!’s predilection for misdirection, but for it to not be number zero (which as we all know, comes after number one) is just criminal. Of course, the number one spot being awarded to the Janet Jackson Super Bowl wardrobe malfunction is completely justified.
Speaking of things being completely justified, do you think it’s possible for us as a collective society to put a moratorium on any and all references to catfishing—Catfish being exempt, of course—in the year 2015? Comedy Bang! Bang! isn’t exactly treading new ground by tackling the constantly tackled boom of catfishing. In fact, is it really a boom when “Don’t trust any ever, because it’s all a lie!” has a been a part of Internet relations since the first chat room poofed itself into existence? Essentially mocking the type of people who could fall for a catfishing scheme despite sometimes basic context clues, the segment’s really straightforward.
The humor really comes from Scott’s absolute obliviousness throughout the segment as Steve Little (Eastbound & Down) continues to hoodwink Scott into believing he is Paul McCartney, Scott’s favorite rockstar of all time (and “second favorite Beatle”). Scott’s wide-eyed enthusiasm during his day with “Paul” really sells the segment, especially as he lists off the names of The Beatles—Paul, George, Rango, and John. However, the continuation of the segment with Scott meeting his Internet “girlfriend” only makes you wonder: Is Scott cheating on Mavis? Say it ain’t so, Choctaw.
As a guest, Lizzy Caplan continues her presumably lifelong streak of being absolutely perfect. You probably already saw the segment about Lizzy Caplan’s radical opinions on gender and comedy before the episode aired, but it’s still a highlight of the episode. Her deadpan, matter-of-fact declaration about men being inherently unfunny because of biology (their penises, to be exact) reminds us all just how ridiculous “women aren’t funny” statements are, because, we should all be reminded how ridiculous those statements are on a regular basis.
The one-two punch of Caplan’s judgment of gender having anything to do with comedy and Paul Scheer’s Terry Richardson-esque Jerry Donavan character allows the episode to be more than just a one joke wonder. There has been quite a difference in opinion when it comes to the reviewer grades and the commenter grades for this season’s Comedy Bang! Bang! episodes, but I think the biggest problem of the season this far (especially in the last episode I reviewed, “Fred Armisen Wears Black Jeans And Glasses”) is that the episodes have had one central joke but nothing else really going on. It sounds strange that this is a criticism, because they’re the closest Comedy Bang! Bang! will probably really ever get to a straightforward, linear narrative format (until Aukerman decides to do a completely straightfoward, linear narrative episode). But for all its absurdity, Comedy Bang! Bang! does to say something substantial—“Lizzy Caplan Wears All Black And Powder Blue Espadrilles” ability to say more than one thing is what makes it a cut above the rest this season.
- Scott’s Onscreen Credit: Joe Cockerman. What would he do if Reggie sang out of tune?
- I realize I didn’t even get to talk about the subjectivity of comedy. Next time.
- “That’s how you know it’s my picture—I’m in every one of my pictures.” That really is a pretty solid calling card.
- Weird Al shows up for a bit where Scott flip flops with his stance on UHF. It’s great, but in order to talk about every great part of the episode, we’d have to be here awhile.
- Now that Scott “Scott” Aukerman’s podcast with Adam “Scott” Scott, U Talkin’ U2 To Me?, has completed its first season, you really should give it a listen if you haven’t already. Just Scott and Scott talking about those other lovable lads from Liverpool, U2.
- While the conclusion of the episode was the never before seen archery clip that constantly showed up as the episode came back from commercial, the actual highlight from those returns from commercials was Sarah Silverman’s “You’re wonderful.” That should be played on an endless loop.