With news that “Weird Al” Yankovic is the next bandleader on Comedy Bang! Bang! dropping, it got me thinking about the musical legacy of the franchise. Comedy Bang! Bang! the Podcast is one of the funniest and longest-running shows in the podcast landscape, but its ties to music run deeper than most would realize. The show began as Comedy Death Ray on LA radio station Indie 103.1. Host Scott Aukerman would play comedy music between interview and character segments. Since 2009, the show has attracted notable musicians like St. Vincent, Tears for Fears, Aimee Mann and more to perform and participate in the shenanigans. But most impressively, the show deftly uses music for great comedic impact. From the theme songs to guests impersonating musicians to freestyle rap battles, there is no shortage of clips to choose from. These 10 moments, however, belong right at the top. Here are the 10 best musical moments in Comedy Bang! Bang! history.
Honorable Mention: “Takin’ a Plane Break”, “Oh Na Na”, “Hollywood Facts A Capella”, Aaron Neville’s “6 Days of Kwanzaa”, Paul Rudd’s Summer Freestyle
10. Reggie Watts Creates the Comedy Bang! Bang! Theme Song – Episode 103
One of the best parts about the show is its theme song. The moment the show became “Comedy Bang! Bang!” is when Reggie Watts crafted the new theme song for the show. The name changed from Comedy Death Ray and needed new music. Since Reggie made the old theme, who better to make the new one? The show never looked back. The commentary from Scott and Paul F. Tompkins makes the song’s creation that much more wonderful, and as a bonus Reggie performs some more music after he comes up with the new theme.
9. “The Monster F*ck” – Episode 77
A Halloween episode means a trip to Suicide House, where ghosts Messmore and Beuford LeBaron (Brett Gelman and Jon Daly, respectively) kidnap and attempt to murder Aukerman. Thankfully, it also means a rendition of “The Monster F*ck”, the version of the Halloween hit “The Monster Mash” the world was meant to hear. Co-writer Leo Karpatze (Nick Wiger) and his 15-year-old backup singers sing a haunting tale of a monster orgy in extremely graphic and lurid detail. The ongoing joke is that year after year, Karpatze returns on Halloween promising a new version of the song. It never changes, nor should it.
8. Paul F. Tompkins and Scott Aukerman Sing the “Cantina Theme” – Several Episodes
A great running gag that gets even better with age is Scott and Paul busting out the “Cantina Theme” from Star Wars. It’s an effective way to kill time, and it’s also incredibly entertaining. Each time the pair does it, the song gets more ridiculous. At this point, one of them will find excuses to start the song at a moment’s notice, dragging the other into it. They can act annoyed, but they love it as much as we do.
7. The Pepper Men – Episode 204
Jon Daly is a force of nature whenever he is on Comedy Bang! Bang!, but usually he is playing a character. This time, he plays himself and makes one of his greatest contributions to the show’s musical legacy. When Daly starts talking about the podcast he is starting with guest Zach Galifianakis about the Red Hot Chili Peppers called “The Pepper Men,” Scott pushes for a performance of the theme song. Thus, “Abricadabralifornia” was born. If you recognize that title, it’s the same song that Daly produced before Super Bowl XLVIII that pranked actual music publications. Diehard CBB fans could hear all of the Easter Eggs tucked away. The chorus, “Bing-a-bong-a-bong-a-bong Burbank” and the repeated shouting of “Shopping Carts! Escalators!” should have been a giveaway. But this episode is where it all started.
6. Björk Sings “Silent Night” – Episode 191
Of all the amazing and hilarious things that Matt Besser does, his Björk impression tops my list. Besser’s Björk borders on psychotic, and the contempt and lack of respect she shows everyone makes for high comedy. Immediately she insults Harris Wittles (R.I.P.) after a simple compliment, and it only gets better from there. This rendition of “Silent Night” perfectly captures the intricacies of his Björk impression with the maniacal outbursts that make the character so hysterical.