When your favorite podcast host gets a TV deal, things get complicated. Both WTF and Comedy Bang Bang! got picked up by IFC in 2012; the latter was officially renewed for a second season. I’ve watched them both, and I’ve come to realize trying to explain how good a podcast is, by way of its deep-cable incarnation, is no small chore. My wife still has no idea why I like WTF or Comedy Bang Bang (the podcasts). And I totally get it.
It’s not unlike adapting a novel into a motion picture. It’s a cliche. The movie’s almost never as good as the book. When mise-en-scène leaves the mind’s eye, it all too often loses its potency. With both of these programs, you’re watching an interpretation that just can’t compete with my imagination. But I was pleasantly surprised by Comedy Bang Bang! Thankfully, it’s proven to be much less divergent from the canonical vibe than Maron was in its first season.
Originally called Comedy Death-Ray Radio, Comedy Bang Bang! began airing as a radio show mid 2009. Its host, Scott Aukerman, of Mr. Show with Bob and David fame, has taken an obscure radio show and turned it into one of the most successful podcast networks out there; Earwolf is unrivaled in the realm of comedic on-air content. Comedy Bang Bang! the TV show is reliant on one truly unique personality: Reggie Watts. Just take a look:
Part Casio SK-1, part standup, Reggie Watts won over the alt comedy world years ago. He’s done a few podcast theme songs, most notably Comedy Bang Bang’s. He shines as a guest on the podcast, and his easygoing vibe plays well with Auckerman’s biting sarcasm. I have a feeling his involvement played a big part in IFC picking the show up for another season. That’s not to say Auckerman’s a slouch. To chalk their chemistry up to a Lewis and Martin dynamic would be doing it a disservice.
On episode 230 of the podcast, Reggie and Scott, along with Neil Campbell, promote the second season’s premier episode, and gleefully break it down in a freestyle rap battle. Just jump in around minute 25; it’s truly something to behold. They also revisit a show favorite Would You Rather, and bring nothing but A-game to the Earwolf flagship. I guess, I’m just happy to know the movie hasn’t killed the novel for me–still an amazing podcast.