Published Jun 24, 2014The biggest concern for fans of Comedy Bang! Bang! upon hearing the podcast was being adapted for television was that all of the improvised characters and bits might lose some of their madcap magic once viewers could actually see everyone. After working through some of the unavoidable growing pains in its first season, the IFC show's return is an endlessly inventive and deliriously funny burst of carefully orchestrated comic mayhem.
Host Scott Aukerman (a writer for Mr. Show and director of Funny Or Die's "Between Two Ferns" shorts) and his musical sidekick Reggie Watts welcome guests to their unique talk show set. The interviews happen in the midst of sketches and stories that Aukerman reveals in one of the commentary tracks are often based on the basic Wikipedia plot outlines of other movies or television shows. This is how you get an episode paying homage to Sliding Doors in which we see alternate realities of Aukerman's day depending on whether he caught a bus or not.
The guests range from Bill Hader to Jessica Alba and, in keeping with the format of the podcast, there are typically also appearances from zany characters like flamboyant craft services coordinator Fabrice Fabrice (Nick Kroll) and composer Sir Andrew Lloyd Weber (the criminally underappreciated Paul F. Tompkins), with the latter playing a large part in the fantastic musical episode. Another season highlight is a celebration of Halloween with Pee-Wee Herman (Paul Reubens), whose show, Pee-Wee's Playhouse clearly had an influence on the set's talking couch and book.
There's an overwhelming amount of bonus material, including commentary tracks for every episode that effectively serve as mini-podcasts, complete with drop-ins from favourites like Bobby Moynihan's violent orphan Fourvel ("like Fievel but one less"). The alternate takes and deleted scenes offer a look at how the show's fast-and-loose approach has been honed over time and how much good material often gets left on the cutting room floor. A series of behind-the-scenes clips in which the guests attempt to improvise some on-set music provides a spotlight for Watts to shine, as he helps bring out the most from even those collaborators who are more reluctant to participate than others. (Anchor Bay)