It seems like every episode of Comedy Bang! Bang! should be a bottle episode. With all the weird characters and inherent strangeness in the studio, there shouldn’t be any reason for Scott Aukerman and Reggie Watts to ever have to leave for material. In “Ed Helms Wears A Grey Shirt & Brown Boots,” all the action appears in the studio, which features both a smaller and larger studio, a place to make commercials, the world’s longest microphone and a serious rat problem.
So far Comedy Bang! Bang! has proven that the guests and characters that appear on the show are best when they have gone through the training ground of the podcast, and that proves true again this time around. Ed Helms and Seth Morris have worked together for years and appeared on the podcast together in an episode that Aukerman actually held back and almost didn’t release. But Helms and Morris play well off each other in this episode, with Morris playing his signature character Bob Ducca.
Helms first comes out to talk about his charity organization Comedy Bing Bong which trains people how to be racist. No, wait, that’s wrong; they help organize train races. Ed can never get that right. Helms is known to be a great banjo player, and it looks like we may get a sample of this, as he does have a banjo at the ready. But instead he mock-plays, creating banjo noises while mimicking playing. After this, Scott’s questions get really weird, asking Ed things like “what was that movie with Tom Hanks and a mermaid?”, making Ed reply “Splash?” It turns out Reggie and Scott are making a Ed Helms Sound Effects CD, getting him to reply with words and sounds they can use to use as sound effects for such things as ‘Man Ruffling Shirt’ and ‘World War II.”
Unbeknownst to Scott, Comedy Bang! Bang! isn’t the only show happening on his set. He finds a tiny hole leading to ‘Tiny Talk Show’ hosted by Smally Wallace, played by Jimmy Pardo. When Scott asks him if his guest will be Thumbelina, it just so happens he has Marisa Tomei as a guest, who Scott tried to get on his show.
We then are finally introduced to Bob Ducca. Given that I had only heard him, I just assumed that he would constantly be in a full body cast and probably need a nurse at all times. Ducca is a hypochondriac who also has everything wrong with him, but mostly created ailments. His character consists of giving lists of diseases, which only get funnier as they go on. Some of his many illnesses include Nostradamus nostrils and milk belly, not to mention that he has been depressed for “the last couple most of my life.” He also takes the opportunity to thank those who have helped him throughout the years, such as Steve Harvey Oswald, Akiva Jewishperson and his Great Dane, brilliantly named Marmaducca.
Scott decides to go the streets and ask some questions to the public. But instead of actually going, he unwinds an incredibly long microphone from the studio to fish out to the streets. On his search for people, he runs into a locker room, the car of Harris Wittels and Susanna Hoffs of The Bangles. When he finally gets to a person, he realizes he forgot to ask a question and aborts the mission.
The final guest is Level Knevel, a man is a daredevil costume that, you guessed it, keeps things level. Like Ducca, it gets funnier with time. His next big “stunt” will be to level the Leaning Tower of Pisa with the help of his brother Shovel Knovel.
After a rousing game of ‘Where Are They Going?’ a rat attacks Smally Wallace, but before the show ends, Scott and company realize they are Small Wallace-sized to another man outside the studio.
Much of the humor on Comedy Bang! Bang! has to do with the interactions between the main guest, who is playing it for the most part straight, and the insane guest. Helms and Morris find a great balance, and the introduction of Bob Ducca is another in a great line of beloved podcast guests to make their first physical appearance, and doesn’t disappoint in the transition from podcast to television.