We all knew it was coming—hell, Comedy Bang! Bang! even predicted it last season—but now it’s official: Reggie Watts has left Comedy Bang! Bang!. Like every other talk show, the host is obviously the star, with the bandleader as a sort of sidekick, but Comedy Bang! Bang! handled this dynamic better than any other real talk show I can think of. While most episodes do focus more on Scott, CBB has always excelled when Scott and Reggie teamed up for an adventure, or even just a segment. Knowing this season would be Reggie’s last, it seems like the show has integrated Reggie far better than ever before, even giving us episodes that occasionally focused on him.
All of which makes it even harder to finally say goodbye to Reggie in “Judd Apatow Wears a Polo and Blue Suede Shoes.” As the show has prepared for Reggie to leave, it’s really made him a stronger presence, almost as if it’s been a season-long sendoff. What “Judd Apatow” does in this sendoff, though, is createe Comedy Bang! Bang!’s most touching episode—one that combines this show’s strange world with a surprisingly beautiful goodbye, without anything ever feeling out of place.
“Judd Apatow” takes us to the year 2065, where trends like the internet and cell phones died away years ago, and where Comedy Bang! Bang! is remembered as one of the most influential shows of all time. A terrifyingly aged Scott is visited by a reporter to discuss the death of Reggie Watts, who he last saw on the Judd Apatow episode.
This episode smartly gets Judd Apatow out of the way quick, knowing that this isn’t exactly a typical episode of Comedy Bang! Bang!—if there is such a thing. But Apatow is great for the few minutes he is on, bringing around all the joint props from his past movies, only to have Reggie eat them all (hey it’s episode 4.20!) and discussing his newest movie This Is Zero, appropriately titled, since he now meets new stars right out of the womb. We also get to meet Scott’s daughters Gertie & Magpie, who I sincerely hope we get more of later, since they disappear all too soon. The episode even makes a great choice in having Apatow dragged out of the set and even interrogated while he’s actually trying to promote something, which may be the first time someone has actually attempted to promote a real project on CBB.
But as it should be, the majority of the episode is all about Reggie’s leaving. We find out that Reggie is actually an alien, which makes sense in a way. Reggie was sent here three years ago to discover the human species’s weaknesses, so that his race could come and destroy the earth. Reggie has realized how much he loves earth though, and tries to call off the invasion. But it’s too late, as a general (Mad Men’s Christopher Stanley) has direct orders from President Obama to intercept Reggie and dissect his penis.
Reggie gets alien overlords Rash, Pimple and Zits to back down after explaining that earth is covered in the poisonous substance known as water. However, while Scott tries to protect Reggie from being taken, Reggie takes a bullet for his best friend. Luckily, bullets are like Viagra to Reggie’s race. So Reggie—AKA The Regman—leaves to roam the country and to try to find a friend as good as Scott.
This moment is touching enough as it is, but nothing compared to when the show cuts back to 2065, with Scott reading his newspaper and noticing a crossword puzzle exactly like one Reggie was planning on submitting earlier in the episode. When we see both clues to the two-clue crossword puzzle, they both read “someone who misses and loves Scott Aukerman.” Answer: The Reg Man. It’s beautifully effective and perfectly strange, considering the show.
I never thought that Comedy Bang! Bang! would have to have an emotional sendoff for anyone, let alone one of its two stars. Yet “Judd Apatow” adds an additional layer to what this show can do, making the episode equal parts hilarious and sweet as it says goodbye to Reggie. “Judd Apatow” once again sets the bar high for future episodes, and for future cohost Kid Cudi.
Ross Bonaime is a D.C.-based freelance writer and regular contributor to Paste. You can follow him on Twitter.