DVDizzy.com | DVD and Blu-ray Reviews | DVD & Blu-ray Release Schedule | Upcoming Cover Art | Search This Site

"Comedy Bang! Bang!" The Complete First Season DVD Review

Comedy Bang! Bang! The Complete First Season DVD cover art - click to buy from Amazon.com Comedy Bang! Bang! Season One (2012)
Show & DVD Details

Creator: Scott Aukerman / Executive Producers: Scott Aukerman, Dave Kneebone, Leo Allen

Writers: Scott Aukerman, Leo Allen, Neil Campbell, Dave Ferguson, Tim Kalpakis / Director: Benjamin Berman

Regular Cast: Scott Aukerman (Host), Reggie Watts (Band Leader)

Multi-Episode Guest Stars: Andy Daly (Danny Mahoney, Don DiMello), Paul F. Tompkins (Cake Boss, Andrew Lloyd Webber), Thomas Lennon (Guy Benoit, Lil' Gary), Bob Odenkirk (Tommy Shalders, Himself)

Talk Show Guests As Themselves: Zach Galifianakis, Amy Poehler, Jon Hamm, Michael Cera, Seth Rogen, Paul Rudd, Ed Helms, Elizabeth Banks, Adam Scott, "Weird Al" Yankovic

Other Notable Guest Stars: Will Forte (Chet Barnsider), Gillian Jacobs (Post-Apocalypse Woman), David Koechner (Mr. Penisballs Doublebutt), Brian Huskey (Dr. Klinky von Tankerman), Tymberlee Hill (Shelly Cramden), Tom Fitzpatrick (Carl Langer), Nick Kroll (El Chupacabra), Leo Allen (Francis "Mr. Bicycle" Domingo), Neil Campbell (Peter the Meter Reader), Andy Richter (Himself), Eddie Pepitone (Phineas MacEnchee), Brett Gelman (Dog Lawyer), Martin Clark (Old Arlo Nadon), Tanner Gray (Kid Scientist Arlo Nadon), Casey Wilson (Eugenia Clement), Will Arnett (Dale), Topher Grace (Cameraman), Fred Williamson (Dale's Boss), James Adomian (Huell Howser), Matt Besser (Darren Montaigne), Jamie Denbo (Cindy Linderman), Todd Barry (Weapons Expert), Chris Parnell (Crowpoke Inventor), Colin Hanks (Movie Cop), Robert Wisdom (Movie Cop), Cole Jensen (Scott's Bully), Seth Morris (Bob Ducca), Owen Burke (Level Knevel), Marisa Tomei (Herself), Jimmy Pardo (Smally Wallace), Harris Wittels (Guy on Cell Phone), Susanna Hoffs (Street Musician), David Wain (Gordon Thatchet), Jon Daly (Barry R), Thomas Lennon (Lil' Gary), Ian Roberts (Tripping Crew Guy), Pauly Shore (Himself/President Weasel), Dave Thomas (Scott's Dad), Paul Ryan (Barry Goldfarb), Ed Ford Jr. (Old Scott), Tim Heidecker (Phil Gorsley), Andy Samberg (Himself), Patton Oswalt (Himself), Burt Pronin (Burt), Paul Rust (voice of Magic Window), David Cross (Chef Bellini Pastafangu), Kerri Kenney (Meryl Hmm), Tenacious D (Themselves), Paul Scheer (Doctor), Jon Heder (Himself), Neil Campbell (God)

Running Time: 226 Minutes (10 episodes) / Rating: Not Rated (TV-14 on air)

1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen / Dolby Digital 5.1 (English)
Subtitles: English for Hearing Impaired, Spanish; Not Closed Captioned; Extras Not Captioned or Subtitled
Season 1 Airdates: June 8, 2012 - August 10, 2012
DVD Release Date: January 21, 2014 / Suggested Retail Price: $29.98
Two single-sided, dual-layered discs (DVD-9s) / Black Eco-Friendly Keepcase
Also available on Amazon Instant Video and Amazon Instant Video HD

Buy Comedy Bang! Bang!: Season 1 from Amazon.com: DVD Instant Video Instant Video HD

Scott Aukerman's rise in the ranks of comedy isn't quite as sudden as it may seem. A writer on HBO's 1990s sketch comedy series "Mr. Show with Bob and David", Aukerman went on to write the 2002 film Run Ronnie Run with Bob (Odenkirk) and David (Cross).
Aukerman proceeded to contribute dialogue to the 2004 DreamWorks Animation film Shark Tale and to serve as head writer on the 2009 MTV Movie Awards. But perhaps his real big break came as the producer, co-creator, and director of "Between Two Ferns with Zach Galifianakis", a Funny or Die web series that began before Galifianakis' breakthrough role in The Hangover and continues to this day on an irregular basis (the recent Christmas edition was its 18th episode, excluding a special).

"Between Two Ferns" had its origins in one of Aukerman's many projects not to pan out, a pilot for Fox called "The Right Now! Show." That show could be traced back to Comedy Death-Ray, a weekly showcase of alternative comedy performed live, first at Los Angeles' M Bar and then at the Upright Citizens Brigade, under the supervision of Aukerman and longtime collaborator B.J. Porter. In 2009, Aukerman created "Comedy Death-Ray Radio", a weekly radio show turned podcast. Retitled to "Comedy Bang! Bang!" in 2011, it would spawn a television spin-off of the same name the following year for IFC's growing comedy slate.

Scheduled to return for a third season on the air later in 2014, a run that hasn't slowed the original podcast, the TV series "Comedy Bang! Bang!" has The Complete First Season of it released to DVD tomorrow from Anchor Bay Entertainment.

Scott Aukerman is the creator and host of "Comedy Bang! Bang!" Michael Cera is among the talk show guests asked to play games like "Which Came First?"

Web to television can't be an easy transition, nor can audio to video. But Aukerman, his team,
and a strong supply of game guest stars and comedic support make the series a clear success. While "Comedy Bang! Bang!" will not be everyone's cup of tea, it's much better than it sounds and far more entertaining than you think it could be.

We've all seen faux talk shows before, from "Primetime Glick" to the BBC's brilliant "Knowing Me, Knowing You with Alan Partridge." Unlike those shows, "Comedy Bang! Bang!" doesn't seem too interested in lampooning the format or creating a memorable buffoon to function as a lightning rod for laughs. Neither Aukerman as host nor Reggie Watts, as his one-man band leader, makes a tremendous impression as characters wielding the comedians' names. And yet, laughs of the random, offbeat variety flow in creative interactions with guests, who simply materialize in lieu of conventional introductions, including Galifianakis, Amy Poehler, Jon Hamm, Seth Rogen, Michael Cera, and Paul Rudd.

There are some off-the-wall secondary guests, portrayed by the likes of comedy veterans and sometimes stars Andy Daly, Nick Kroll, Thomas Lennon, Paul F. Tompkins, and Will Forte. In every episode, Aukerman challenges the playing-themselves main guest (whose name and attire give the episodes their titles), the in-character secondary guest, and Watts to a random game like "Where Are They Going?", "Which Came First?", and "What's in the Box?" Without fail, these exercises entertain by subverting expectations. Other inspired bits take the form of on-target movie trailers and hidden camera shows.

Consistently funny and surprisingly upbeat, "Comedy Bang! Bang!" takes its place among the alternative comedy I've been most easily able to appreciate in recent years, like fellow IFC fixture "Portlandia" and Adult Swim's "Check It Out! with Dr. Steve Brule", which has producers in common with this. "Bang! Bang!" never gets as outrageous, dark, or strange as Tim and Eric's comedy, but it comes from a similar place and endears with a similarly skewed rhythm.

Though they've been available to stream on Netflix for some time, the first ten episodes of "Comedy Bang! Bang!" hit DVD full of extras, including audio commentary on every episode, in the two-disc set reviewed here.

Though no stranger to surreal fake talk shows, Zach Galifianakis can't help but crack up in the presence of "life of the party" Danny Mahoney (Andy Daly). Subjected to the camera movement of Scott's guest directing, Jon Hamm gets a scare.

Disc 1

1. Zach Galifianakis Wears a Blue Jacket & Red Socks (22:43) (Originally aired June 8, 2012)
The series starts on a strong note by giving Galifianakis a taste of his own awkward talk show host medicine. Placed into context of fat entertainers, Galifianakis shares his favorite laugh, and tries to think of a talking dog. A French sommelier (Thomas Lennon) offers his wine recommendations for the show (in addition to drinking from his family's spit bucket and peeing in the corner). Danny Mahoney (Andy Daly) promises to be the life of the party with a conga line, boombox, and a bag of batteries. A hero pilot (Will Forte) shares the story of his not so heroic landing. Hidden camera segment "Tsk-Tsk ATTABOY" captures reactions to staged scenarios, "What's in the Box?" lets guests guess what's in the box.

2. Amy Poehler Wears a Black Jacket & Grey Pants (22:37) (Originally aired June 15, 2012)
A doctor unveils a camera that records dreams. Scott and an awkwardly bewigged Amy Poehler have their mouths animated to discuss topical things. Skeevy theatrical director Don DiMello (Daly) discusses his creepy staging of Pinocchio. When Scott goes to pick up his dry cleaning, substitute host Mr. Doublebutt (David Koechner) finds it difficult to keep the guests on course. A trailer promotes the movie A Womb of One's Own, a movie that puts a literal twist on the "Wish I was never born." The game "What's the Song Title?" lives up to its title. A set crew member, to whom the episode is dedicated, finds himself repeatedly endangered.

3. Jon Hamm Wears a Light Blue Shirt & Silver Watch (22:31) (Originally aired June 22, 2012)
Andy Richter beats Scott to the punch when he tries to surprise a viewer in Nebraska. Jon Hamm, whom Scott tries to embarrass with an old acting clip and whose interview he briefly directs, translates some of the Spanish spoken by Latin American DJ El Chupacabra (Nick Kroll). A dog lawyer defends Lassie in well-pushings. Scott voices not so unusual opinions in a segment "Maybe It's Just Me, But For Me..." Mr. Bicycle discusses eating bicycles, which they all try to prevent. They try to stop a bicycle eater from eating Reggie's bike.

Reggie confronts Scott on the use of product placement during a VW drive. Scott finds a tiny talk show inside a rat hole on the set.

4. Michael Cera Wears a Blue Denim Shirt & Red Pants (22:33) (Originally aired June 29, 2012)
A Prize Patrol mission turns into a "Law & Order" mystery. Overstrong coffee makes Scott jittery when he asks Michael Cera about his career. Cake Boss (Paul F. Tompkins) appears. Reggie goes for a drive with Scott in a VW to address the show's rampant product placement. A kid scientist is exposed as a fraud. They play "Which Came First?"

5. Seth Rogen Wears a Plaid Shirt & Brown Pants (22:32) (Originally aired July 6, 2012)
Reggie makes small talk while eating. Scott discovers he can read the minds of passing pedestrians. Rogen is asked about The Beach Boys, which segues into a close-up attempt by an eager cameraman (Topher Grace) that draws heat from his boss (Will Arnett) and his boss' boss (Fred Williamson). Bloopers. Grown-up child bird caller Tommy Shalders (Bob Odenkirk) is struggling to make a living as a bird caller. Reggie and another artist paint Scott. Guests play "What's Their Ailment?" Scott takes more easy stands in "Are You Kidding Me?"

6. Paul Rudd Wears a Red Lumberjack Flannel Shirt (22:35) (Originally aired July 13, 2012)
Scott's childhood crush (Jamie Denbo) hangs out on set. Scott interviews God. Scott goes undercover to find out his staff's opinions of him in the segment "Secret Agent Boss."
Name-dropping Rudd discusses his theatre acting experiences. A "referencee" referees Scott and Rudd's cultural references. Reggie advertises a sing-along album. An inventor (Chris Parnell) works on his malfunctioning Crowpoke. TV host Huell Howser (James Adomian) can't turn off his hosting persona. Clips are shown from a movie that both Scott and Reggie have acted in. Darren Montaigne (Matt Besser) recounts the traumatic experience that cost him his arm.

7. Ed Helms Wears a Grey Shirt & Brown Boots (22:36) (Originally aired July 20, 2012)
Scott and Reggie fear they have a rat. Ed Helms tries to play banjo and then is turned into a sound effects album. They discover a small talk show in a rat hole with Marisa Tomei as guest. Hypochondriac Bob Ducca appears in a neck brace. A microphone is taken out on the town. Daredevil Level Knevel uses levels to make things level. All play "Where Are They Going?"

Scott Aukerman gets serious in a "Lessons Learned" editorial. Scott Aukerman plays a high school basketball coach ready to use a hot poker on his players in the trailer for "There's No Eye in Team."

Disc 2

8. Elizabeth Banks Wears a Red Dress (22:37) (Originally aired July 27, 2012)
Scott's father (Dave Thomas) appears to suggest some jokes. Scott looks at the past and future of "Comedy Bang! Bang!" Banks inadvertently uses the word of the day, which has dire consequences. TV critic Gordon Thatchet (David Wain) comes on to assess the show. Scott and Reggie try out a hallucinogenic drug with a crew member. Smooth jazz musician Barry R (Jon Daly) appears with a detachable soul patch to promote his smooth new laserdisc. They play "W.D.T.I.S.F." (What Do These Initials Stand For?). The episode concludes with paternity test results.

9. Adam Scott Wears a Red Oxford Shirt & Jeans (22:37) (Originally aired August 3, 2012)
Scott does man in street interviews and turns to celebrities for advice on how to host a show. The studio audience consists of one old man named Burt. Adam Scott shares a clip of an extremely recent TV appearance and talks to Magic Window. Andrew Lloyd Weber (Tompkins) is a theatrical guest. After Reggie goes missing, Scott looks for him. An animal specialist (Tim Heidecker) shows up sans animals. Guests play "What Are They Eating?" Scott shares a lesson learned.

10. "Weird Al" Wears a Hawaiian Shirt" (22:37) (Originally aired August 10, 2012)
We get some looks at the show without green screen replaced, including a cooking segment (with David Cross as Chef Bellini Pastafangu). Reggie makes Scott a sandwich. Scott shares trailers for An Apple a Day, There's No Eye in Team, and Don't Lean on an Old Crone's Wall Under the Light of the Northern Star. Weird Al tries smashing an accordion. A lady saves potato chips that look like celebrities. Tenacious D (Jack Black and Kyle Gass) performs.

Reggie Watts and Scott Aukerman don green screen body suits on "Comedy Bang! Bang!"

VIDEO and AUDIO

While "Comedy Bang! Bang!" isn't a show people will use to show off their HDTVs and home theater system, the DVD treats it to a perfectly satisfying standard definition presentation. The 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen picture and Dolby Digital 5.1 sound don't have the impact of feature films' or Blu-ray, but they warrant no complaints. Anchor Bay also kindly includes English SDH and Spanish subtitles on the show itself.

Reggie Watts, Huell Howser (James Adomian), and Paul Rudd play "Ring It or Ding It" in this deleted scene. Elizabeth Banks and eight other "Comedy Bang! Bang!" guests are treated to alternate extended interviews as part of Disc 2's many bonus features.

BONUS FEATURES, MENUS, PACKAGING and DESIGN

The DVD's generous supply of bonus features begins with an audio commentary on every single episode. These are recorded by creator/executive producer/writer/actor Scott Aukerman and an episode-specific guest in character.
Oddly and disappointingly, episodes are not broken into chapter stops. Promising technical details and behind the scenes info, Aukerman consistently gets derailed by his unexpected guests, most of whom are in character. A quick rundown of them follows.

(1) Andy Daly as Danny Mahoney elaborates on his batteries and drops some profanity. (2) Daly as Don DiMello discusses his legal problems, the unauthorized plays he's directing and human taxidermy experiences. (3) Nick Kroll as El Chupacabra talks about the show, sometimes as a baby. (4) Paul F. Tompkins as Cake Boss (a.k.a. Commentary Boss) discusses his fatherly deficiencies, friendly words, Steven King books, cakes and bodies. (5) Bob Odenkirk, not in character, offer the most serious commentary, discussing Odenkirk's discovery of Alan Partridge.

(6) Critical Matt Besser as Darren Montaigne voices his hardship, dances around legal troubles, and quizzes Scott on height and religion. (7) Seth Morris as Bob Ducca joins Scott to rattle off all the snacks they had backstage, make sense of comedy, and discuss ways to stay safe. (8) as Barry R talks music, Christmas, and record packaging. (9) Tompkins as Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber crashes serious discussion of the show's pilot to confess murders. (10) Finally, Aukerman gets to talk on over the entirety of the episode and without sarcasm or intrusion, as he addresses the transition from podcast to TV series.

Well worth listening to, these are almost as entertaining as the show and a further showcase for the quick-witted improvisation skills of Aukerman and friends.

Disc 2's video extras begin with a reel of deleted shorts (6:00), which include ads, a complicated contest, a funny Time Man of the Year mirror gag, and the games "Ring It or Ding It" and "Are You More Sexually Experienced Than a High School Senior?"

"Full-Length Alternate Celebrity Interviews" (44:48) give us unused material from nine of the season's ten celebrity interviews, hinting at just how much footage was shot for them (very little of the used material resurfaces here). Galifianakis talks about meeting his fans, Poehler performs an improv exercise, Hamm describes the unusual day when he walked his dog over a rainbow to Prague, Cera recalls the latest he's ever stayed up, Rogen tries out a Welsh accent and discusses the Internet and tipping, Rudd talks theatre and proper diction, Banks plays free association and opens up about owning Seabiscuit, Helms lets Scott try to guess his hometown, and Yankovic reveals which of his three names he'd change. Adding up to the equivalent of two bonus episodes, these entertain thoroughly.

Seth Rogen drags out his dramatic gifts for the Comedy Bang! Bang! ultimate teaser trailer. Reggie Watts' services as one-man bandleader are compiled into a Disc 2 Supercut.

"Insult Supercut from The Assassin" (1:06) has Colin Hanks and Robert Wisdom's officers further besmirch the character played by Scott Aukerman in their fake movie.

Ultimate Teaser Trailer (1:34) promotes the series with an amusing string of unrelated dramatic deliveries from many of the season's big name guest stars.

An alternate title sequence (0:48) would have opened the show in a weirder fashion better suited to Tim & Eric.

"Supercut of Reggie Watts' Commercial Intros/Outros" (15:49) compiles musical moments used to transition the show to or from
commercial break. It's staggering that these seemingly throwaway moments add up to this much content.

Director Ben Berman's test shoots for visual effects (7:47) has him and other crew members try out different video tricks, like animated mouths and instant beards, employed in Season One.

Finally, we get two short 15-second IFC TV promos for the show.

The main menu plays clips in swatches with animated transitions while the catchy theme song plays. There's a minor defect where some of the episode selection pages automatically send you to an episode not on that page without you hitting anything, but you still can watch every episode as you want, if you're fast.

Scott Aukerman and Adam Scott feel the effects of the loop of clips they've gotten themselves into.

CLOSING THOUGHTS

I entered "Comedy Bang! Bang!" with no expectations and came away a wholehearted fan of this very funny and creative IFC talk show. Anchor Bay's untimely First Season DVD may not treat the series to high definition, but its many inspired bonus features offer substantial value over downloads and Netflix's could-go-away-at-any-moment streams. I highly recommend this set, which will keep you entertained for many hours and likely coming back for more.

Buy Comedy Bang! Bang!: Season 1 from Amazon.com: DVD / Instant Video / Instant Video HD

Buy from Amazon.com

Related Reviews:
Portlandia: Season 1 Portlandia: Season 2 Portlandia: Season 3 Check It Out! with Dr. Steve Brule: Seasons 1 & 2
The Best of The Colbert Report A Colbert Christmas: The Greatest Gift of All! This Is the End
New: Hell Baby Blue Jasmine Key of Life Blind Date The Rutles Anthology

DVDizzy.com | DVD and Blu-ray Reviews | New and Upcoming DVD & Blu-ray Schedule | Upcoming Cover Art | Search This Site

DVDizzy.com Top Stories:

Reviewed January 20, 2014.



Text copyright 2014 DVDizzy.com. Images copyright 2012 Comedy Bang! Bang! Productions, Earwolf Media, Absolutely Productions, IFC Originals, and 2014 Anchor Bay Entertainment.
Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.