“All is fair in love and war,” someone famous said. Host Scott Ackerman and melodic sidekick Reggie Watts put that adage to the test in “Mark Duplass Wears A Striped Sweater And Jeans,” the Valentine’s-themed episode of Comedy Bang! Bang! .

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Mark Duplass, a champion at “dramedy” improvisation proves the perfect guest for Bang! Bang!. He excels in every skit (enough to make me reminisce about when The League was actually good). But before Duplass, Lena Dunham’s boyfriend slash fun. guitarist slash my own doppleganger, Jack Antonoff slips in for an obvious, but on point joke about corporate Valentine’s Day (“which does accurately show how much you are loved by others.”). This sets up the premise of Reggie being all alone on Valentine’s Day. Poor Reggie. If there’s anyone that does puppy-dog sad better than Watts, I haven’t seen it.

Lucky for Watts, along comes Cupid (Eddie Pepitone yelling at someone other than Marc Maron for a change), who promptly dies. Aukerman has until the Valentine’s Day dance to complete the work, and thus we have our episode frame. These themed episodes usually go either way for Bang! Bang!, the restriction sometimes choking off the insanity of the bits, but other times the creativity flourishes under the constraint. “Mark Duplass Wears A Striped Sweater And Jeans” delivers the latter.

Cupid leaves a list of everyone’s true love (I guess they don’t have Tinder), and it is Aukerman’s job to make sure they meet and are felled by dead Cupid’s arrow. Watt’s match is Marissa Price (Maria Thayer), the new set medic, but she spies “Aukerman of my dreams” just as the arrow hits and falls in love with him instead. Watts, Aukerman, and Thayer show off excellent physical acting throughout the episode; her effusiveness (“As set medic, I do have lots of ibuprofen!”) especially sells her bits.

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Duplass enters in his titular jeans and sweater (has you ever seen him in anything else?), sits down, and promptly “boops” Aukerman with his pinky. Comedy Bang! Bang! is so fun to watch because describing indie auteur Mark Duplass pinky booping comedian and podcast mogul Scott Aukerman does sounds neither funny nor entertaining. It is not something with which a writer would normally start a sketch. In watching the moment play out, it lasts probably six seconds total, it gives me the feeling of belonging to a small club full of only people who appreciate pinky boops. Duplass steals my heart from the onset.

They jump into a “one-percenter” joke which morphs into something even more ridiculous. Duplass plays ska lap drums (shout out to the “pick it up!” and Toasters reference—Less Than Jake, though, really?). There’s an ongoing anagram skit that goes on too long, but I also have a childhood aversion to anagrams (read: I’m terrible at them). It’s classic Bang! Bang!, which is becoming less and less of a thing I look forward to.

There’s a shoot-out and a joke on the many (non-literal) hats Duplass wears as an indie filmmaker. Then there’s the inevitable 50 Shades Of Grey reference (as far as played out references go, though, this one is good), but this all feels like foreplay for my favorite bit this season, Ms. Polite, played by Jessica St. Clair.

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Ms. Polite flits in and out of a fake British-ish accent answering etiquette questions on the interview couch. Slowly each story slides into very un-polite territory. She recounts the wicked shitter in the unisex Chili’s bathroom and an uproarious tale of not making eye contact while her husband ejaculates. I would watch an entire show based on Ms. Polite and I hope she makes more appearances. Her line, “dry as a goddamn bone,” had me in stitches. Easily the best skit of the night.

The episode concludes with the ongoing love triangle between Price, Aukerman, and Watts. Auckerman continues to fail in his duties as Cupid and Price falls triple in love with Aukerman much to Watts’s chagrin. Finally, the very short (“Second song. Last dance.”) Valentine’s Day Dance occurs and Aukerman must complete his list or else love will cease to exist.

Turns out that is not such a bad thing. “We no longer have to be slaves to a baby demigod with an archery fetish!” True feelings are allowed to prevail causing people to break out of their spell (“I like girls!” Price shouts). All is fair in love and war, and “Mark Duplass Wears A Striped Sweater And Jeans” delivers a victory. Now, time to go watch Citizen Kane 2: Regenesis. Happy Valentine’s Day!

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Stray Observations:

  • Scott’s Onscreen Credit: Heart Breakerman
  • Scott stole my book title, Someone Call The Circus Because All The Clowns Ended Up In Washington.
  • “An unopened note left on the desk, these are always for the janitor.”
  • “Even a little bit of wetness in the first greeting is too wet.” That’s not what she…nevermind.
  • “I was hoping you were gonna say you had two fully loaded guns on your set.”

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