When Comedy Bang! Bang! announced the lineup of guests on the fourth season, the guest that immediately stuck out to me was Schoolboy Q. Out of all the announced guests, he was the only one I hadn’t seen in any form of comedic environment, even though his music can often be funny in a sly way (any rapper that can perform over Menomena has a sense of humor in my book). The CBB podcast has had a history of surprisingly great musical guests that ended up being quite funny, such as Paul Banks of Interpol, and most recently, Tears For Fears. But for every hilarious musician, there are the the Bill Callahans of the show that just don’t quite know what to do. So they just sort of smile and nod along.
Unfortunately Schoolboy Q is one of those types of guests. Thankfully, “Schoolboy Q” the episode has an abundance of great characters and an incredibly fun premise to make up for it.
So far this fourth season has felt like it’s giving Reggie Watts a great victory lap. This week, Reggie doesn’t feel like he fits in, until he is visited by the wheelchair-bound Associate Professor Ecks, played by Jim Rash, who is continuously stuck on playing people who work at community colleges. Professor Ecks wants Reggie to join his prestigious jazz group, yet Melodio, played by Chris Parnell, wants him to join his band The Brotherhood, which could become the greatest rap-rock band since Linkin Park!
After great parodies of The Princess Bride and Point Break, the brilliance of “Schoolboy Q” is basically in how close they can get to parodying the X-Men without getting sued. Professor Ecks is named after Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever and his team, comprised of Rouge and Iceman, named as such because of his crystal meth addiction. Melodio wears a helmet that couldn’t look more like Magneto’s and Flea…well that’s just a great dig at Flea. But the biggest laugh in the entire storyline comes from the show’s first post-credit sequence, with Jerry Minor playing Nick Fury to talk to Reggie about The Coachella Initiative. Perfect.
Schoolboy Q isn’t bad, just sort of awkward. He sells the lines that are clearly scripted, like when he talks about being sponsored by the letter “Q.” But when he’s free to play around—like when he discusses a video game about what black people do—it just doesn’t work quite as well. There’s a clear lack of interest, and it feels like the show has to work around him, rather than having him lead the episode.
If an episode ever needs to be livened up, it never hurts to have Horatio Sanz on the docket. Appearing as perhaps his most famous character Aaron Neville, he talks about verbal violence towards women, dreamcatchers and toilet foot. Sanz is great at taking conversations into increasingly strange directions, which he clearly does here. Again, I just wish that Schoolboy Q had something more to offer rather than just sit back and watch.
Despite having the least-involved guest so far in this fourth season, “Schoolboy Q” still succeeds, thanks to it’s great parody premise and a multitude of cameos and characters that are some of the weirdest and most fun so far this season.
Ross Bonaime is a D.C.-based freelance writer and regular contributor to Paste. You can follow him on Twitter.