In this second half of Comedy Bang! Bang!’s fourth season, the show has taken a few chances. Recent episodes have tried new things with the episode’s structure and the guest/character combinations have felt slightly off. But “Michael Sheen” brings Comedy Bang! Bang! back to the tried-and-true structure and gives us the best guest and character combo since Joel McHale kicked James Adomian as Paul Giamatti.
“Michael Sheen” integrates its story well in with the various guests, but the episode’s cold open is a failed story direction that is absolutely hilarious. Scott and Reggie plan on throwing a party and we get a fantastic montage of the two getting things ready, then ultimately realizing that planning a party is too much work and canceling it before it begins. For a moment, I hoped that the entire episode consist of this montage, or more specifically, half an hour of Scott dancing with a broom.
But the episode’s actual story focuses on Reggie saving the infamous Wonky Cat from a tree, then Scott taking the credit throughout the entire episode. It’s this type of low-stakes story that allows the various characters to participate, and also have little asides that are enjoyable, without it feeling like the specific story is actually guiding the flow of the episode.
Michael Sheen basically reinforces that whenever someone from Masters of Sex appears on Comedy Bang! Bang! the result is amazing. I’ve never seen Sheen in such a comedic role, but he definitely deserves to do more like this. Sheen and Scott get along great right away and Sheen even body-switches with Reggie. But he’s at his best when he’s explaining sex to Scott and Reggie. Scott’s bluntness in asking Michael if he thinks he can get too good at boning is amazing, but when Michael pulls out a white board and explains the peen and the veen to Scott and Reggie, it’s one of the best moments of the entire season. Right now, Michael Sheen is right up there with Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Lil Jon as one of the best guests in this half of the season.
This is also one of the few times during this season that Comedy Bang! Bang! has brought on a character from the podcast. Usually introducing a known character can get bogged down in trying to explain all the intricacies of a character within their allotted time frame, but Brendon Small as Victor Diamond actually cuts that out in a way that works well for the character. Noticeably absent is Victor’s manager Tiny—who usually does most of the speaking on the podcast—but Victor is more than enough for this episode.
In fact, Victor does something which rarely happens with a character that’s been introduced in the podcast: he actually adds to the character. For what I believe is the first time, we actually hear Victor sing, even if he does pass out as usual—and then, what I can only assume is his subconscious sings for him. Then, when that version of himself passes out, another version appears to show that Victor can even play the flute! Victor has been one of the more exciting new characters in recent years and his first appearance on the TV show does not disappoint at all.
“Michael Sheen” is one of the most tightly put together episodes of Comedy Bang! Bang! this season, and is consistently laugh-out-loud. It truly gave us one of the freakiest of Fridays.
Ross Bonaime is a D.C.-based freelance writer and regular contributor to Paste. You can follow him on Twitter.