This week’s Comedy Bang! Bang! is truly a meeting of podcast legends. On one hand, there’s Scott Aukerman, creator of the CBB podcast, as well as the Earwolf network of podcast stations. And then there’s Kevin Smith, who created the SModcast podcast network, and even quit directing for a small period of time to refocus his career on the burgeoning medium. But both also know how to bring their podcast personalities to other forms, such as the Comedy Bang! Bang! TV show, and Kevin Smith also has various TV shows and cartoons created from his podcasts. So it’s no surprise that on “Kevin Smith,” Aukerman and Smith are fun together, in a nicely focused episode.
Last week’s “Amber Tamblyn” took the show in a different direction from what we’ve seen before. Comedy Bang! Bang! is known for going off the rails into typically hilarious scenarios. On the podcast, this makes more sense, since the show is sort of spur of the moment, whereas on the TV show, it can sometimes feel a little more clumsy. “Amber Tamblyn” did a fine job of using all the strange diversions, to focus in on the main plot at hand. Not only did that strengthen the week’s conceit, but it also gave everyone involved so much more to do.
“Kevin Smith” focuses on Scott’s 28th birthday, which everyone has forgotten. Reggie is attempting to give Scott his birthday wish by getting Stevie Wonder to appear, and sing the love theme from Mulan before the episode is over. These last two episodes have also focused on the bond between Scott and Reggie, which is rarely the case. Often the episode focuses on Scott, with Reggie occasionally jumping into the spotlight. This split focus is a welcome change.
For those who are fans of both Aukerman and Smith, it’s clear that they both have very different comedic sensibilities, but in this episode they blend quite nicely. It’s easy to see what aspects are taken from Smith (erection jokes, Bruce Willis jabs), yet Scott’s bits (like when he gets Smith to appraise his childish comic “The Adventures of Scotty Man,”) work really well.
The “wacky” guest of the week is Lauren Lapkus as Whitney Peeps, a woman who does volunteer work, but only if prizes or money are given in exchange. Lapkus is a CBB staple, and it is a bit odd that she doesn’t make an appearance as one of her well-known characters like Traci Reardon, but Peeps is definitely an interesting new one. Peeps also evolves in a really fun way, as we find out she wants to die and live in heaven forever with a creepy serenity, and Scott and Kevin are able to play off her in fun ways also.
This new direction for Comedy Bang! Bang!’s aesthetic is an extremely strong turn, especially considering how wonderful the guests are, and the entertaining focus on Scott and Reggie together.
Ross Bonaime is a D.C.-based freelance writer and regular contributor to Paste. You can follow him on Twitter.