Reggie Watts left some big shoes to fill when he stepped down as the co-host and bandleader on Comedy Bang! Bang! in 2015 to take on similar duties for The Late Late Show with James Corden. When musician Kid Cudi stepped in to replace Watts, things seem to settle down, but, unfortunately, his time on the show was limited. After Kid Cudi’s record took longer to release, which subsequently delayed his tour and pushed into the show’s filming schedule, he had to back out, Scott Aukerman announced on Comedy Bang! Bang!’s podcast onJanuary 25.
Luckily, none other than “Weird Al” Yankovic himself was on hand to step in. The musical comedian gladly agreed to join Comedy Bang! Bang!’s fifth season as co-host and bandleader. In addition to his musical career, Weird Al has appeared on numerous television shows either as a guest or reoccurring character, but this marks the first time since 1997’s The Weird Al Show that he’ll really get to infuse his personality into a show over an entire season. For a man who became a household name thanks to his own parodies, joining the quirky late night TV parody can only mean good things for viewers and fans alike.
Here are five reasons why Weird Al will make a great Comedy Bang! Bang! co-host and bandleader.
5. His reputation
Everybody loves Weird Al. Is that too broad a claim? Screw it. Everybody loves Weird Al. Given the wide array of guests Comedy Bang! Bang! hosts—from celebrities who take the couch for an interview to comedians donning a character to add to the episode’s color—Weird Al has the potential for some memorable interactions. It’s refreshing to see actors and actresses drop their carefully crafted personas and genuinely get into a moment, a response the show often achieves from its guests. Simply by being himself, Weird Al seems as though he’ll only augment such moments. Plus, he’s built up some impressive friendships in the comedy community by appearing on cult shows like Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job and Netflix’s reboot Wet Hot American Summer: First Days of Camp. Weird Al clearly has great fun playing around with comedians, especially when their humor leans in an offbeat direction.
4. His potential to challenge Scott Aukerman
When the show announced Weird Al would be joining the fifth season, its longtime host naturally had something to say. Aukerman stated in the announcement posted on IFC’s website, “If you would have told me, when I was a teenager, listening and laughing along to Al’s In 3-D album, that one day I would partner up with him, I would have asked who you were and how you got in my room.” Although Weird Al has appeared on every season of Comedy Bang! Bang! so far, working more exclusively with a comedian and musician you’ve long admired over the course of an entire season could push Aukerman in different comedic ways. Then there’s the added fact that Weird Al is a personality unto himself, and integrating that into an established show will mean some adjusting on the longtime host’s part. As such, it will certainly be an intriguing partnership to watch.
3. His personality
Speaking of personality, Weird Al has the type of gregarious personality that will add to the show’s eccentric and increasingly off the wall storylines. Over their four seasons together, Aukerman and Watts dealt with some crazy side plots as they attempted to put on their show. Whether dealing with the Comedy Bang! Bang! studio phantom, traveling through time to ensure the episode they tape is absolutely perfect, or attempting to solve their landlord’s murder, something was always interrupting the show and creating additional comedic fodder. Weird Al will bring a different personality to the set than the past two co-hosts, but for that reason it will be interesting to see how he plays along with and even magnifies the show’s many gags. Between his previous TV and film credits, and his good-natured sense of humor, Weird Al seems ready, willing and able to roll with whatever punches occur on Comedy Bang! Bang!.
2. His music
Although not always the case, the music on Comedy Bang! Bang! has been limited to a traditional late-night TV format: play the show in and out of commercials, and play the guests to their chair. Since Weird Al made a name for himself writing song parodies, it will be interesting to see what he contributes to the show’s musical content while still retaining his unique style. It’s not that he won’t get to write new parodies, but perhaps licensing restrictions will push him in new musical directions. Weird Al could use those smaller segments to show off his improvisational skills, which might readily benefit from the show’s formatting and time constraints. Then there’s the possibility that, like many a traditional late-night bandleader, he could join musical guests when they perform. True, Comedy Bang! Bang! hasn’t had a ton of musicians perform on the show, but that could all change. And then of course there’s the potential for Weird Al to take comedic liberties when it comes to introducing guests through song. Oh, the possibilities.
1. His wordplay
Anyone who can parody songs knows the myriad possibilities inherent in language. The impressive thing about Weird Al is his adaptability and staying power despite music’s ever-changing soundscape. Whether creating clever interpretations of pop, rock and hip-hop hits, or writing his own original songs, Weird Al knows how to play with language and create a laugh. Appearing on Comedy Bang! Bang!’s January 25 podcast, Weird Al revealed how his wit and wordplay will fit in with the show’s already offbeat sense of humor. Host Scott Aukerman told Weird Al, “I’ve been a big fan of yours for a long time. Since probably, I don’t know, your start.” Without pausing, Weird Al retorted, “As an embryo or a fetus? What are we talking about here?” Weird Al displays a quick talent for tapping into language’s multiple meanings in order to find humorous ways beyond the trite and clichéd speak that so much TV banter tends to rely upon, even a show spoofing such banter.
Amanda Wicks is a New Orleans-based freelance writer specializing in comedy and music. Follow her on Twitter @aawicks.