And so here we are, the day of the second season premiere of Comedy Bang! Bang!, the television show based on the funny podcast and former live showcase of the same name. Scott Aukerman and company have managed to take the successful, idiosyncratic style of humor from one medium to another, so much so that IFC is trusting them to put twenty new episodes on the air this season, twice as many as last year. But while some of the characters and impersonations have found their way to the small screen, the element of letting the listener’s imagination run wild along with the routines, not to mention the much more room for improvisation, are important things unique to the podcast, which despite Hot Saucerman’s crowded schedule continues to release a new episode at least once a week.
The following list is an acknowledgment of the many hours of entertainment these fictional and warped mimicries of men and women have given the listeners of the over four year old podcast, in alphabetical order.
Diner Marshall Al Daniels, a.k.a. Bob, a.k.a. Derek
Sounds a Lot Like: Eddie Pepitone
Appearance: “Hologram Toes” (8/15/11)
Pepitone’s one other appearance on the podcast as impotent dock worker Tommy Malone was another fun time, but the Bitter Buddha’s portrayal of a “Diner Marshall” who frequented diners throughout the country to look for any terrorist activity was one of the few times surrealism and grit ever mixed. The bizarre nature of Pepitone’s world weary voice asking Aukerman and guest Patton Oswalt if he was in a diner and his subsequent explanation of his job to begin the bit would have almost been enough for inclusion on this list alone; all of the improved landmines that Aukerman and Oswalt threw in front of Pepitone for him to gleefully step on and progress the bit with (losing his legs…to diabetes in the process, which will happen if you gain 650 pounds) made it a classic.
Sounds a Lot Like: Andy Daly
Andy Daly’s Dom Dimelo is a theatrical director that continually sinks to the lowest common denominator in his shows, insisting on women of very little, if any dress, and always for some reason in a traditionally very innocent production - Beauty and the Beast was ruined for many after Dimelo got through with explaining his version. The character is just so over-the-top repugnant and unabashedly perverted for it to work. In his initial appearance, Daly’s character claimed to be from another dimension.
Sounds a Lot Like: Seth Morris
Appearances: “The Premiere of Bob Ducca” (2/5/10); “The Party’s Still Raging” (4/30/10); “Go Rent Delgo!” (5/28/10); “Welcome to Earwolf!” (8/5/10); “Family Matters” (12/5/10); “That’s One Way of Doing It” (12/20/10); “Can I Catch a Ride?” (3/21/11); “2011 Holiday Spectacular” (12/19/11); “Live from SXSW 2012” (3/19/12)
As you can tell from his appearance list, Bob Ducca was an early breakout character, so much so that he starred in his own podcast Affirmation Nation. The ex-stepfather of Aukerman reading off his list of ailments is funny no matter how many times you hear it, thanks to Seth Morris’ delivery and understanding of the most allergic, and/or sufferer of hypochondria and/or delusional character in the podcast universe.
Sounds a Lot Like: Bobby Moynihan
Fourvel is a street urchin with the occasional compulsions to utter impressively foul language and commit cold blooded murder. Naturally, his two appearances were with Paul F. Tompkins’ Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber to convey a Dickensian milieu to systematically destroy. The inherit danger in his appearances constantly propels the unraveling story, and the lisp and accent is really funny, especially when Fourvel acquiesces to one of the show’s running gags by starting a sentence with “It’s been” just like the Barenaked Ladies.
Sounds a Lot Like: Paul F. Tompkins
There are so many great “Werner Herzog is a strange, strange man” stories, but the best one has to be when it was revealed that before the German director was asked to appear on The Simpsons, he had never heard of the show1 Paul F. Tompkins has been the most frequent guest on the show by far with 60 appearances (James Adomian is second with 34), but his finest work comes as Herzog, utilizing his gift of language to nail Werner’s penchant of succinctly conveying the brutal harshness of existence. Bonus points for being the first person using a fake German accent to not shout.
Sounds a Lot Like: Andy Daly
Appearances: “Dip Didda Dip Dow!” (2/28/11)
After Aukerman had greeted listeners for many months with “What’s up Hot Dog?”, Andy Daly arrived as a man with incredibly muscular thighs named Hot Dog. Like most Daly characters, Hot Dog would eventually reveal himself to be suicidal and ridiculously complex. The man’s ongoing insistence that he was worthy to join Sha Na Na, in 2011, only for both Ben Schwartz and Aukerman to out doowop him, was funny enough. Then he downplayed other aspects of his life like his son repeatdly getting kidnapped, and the material just got richer and richer from there. The depressing coda to the story was when all of Daly’s characters defenestrated themselves in one insane five minute sequence.
Sounds a Lot Like: James Adomian
Huell Howser was a famous television personality in California, but really only California, making Adomian’s lovingly weird homage to the man the first time most people had any idea who Howser was, and confusing some into thinking it was a fictional character. Howser in real life enthusiastically traversed the lands of the Golden State, but Adomian’s Howser would travel through multiple Earths and dimensions. Adomian’s last appearance as Howser was of one as a ghost, assuring the listening audience that he was living on because now that he was dead he was “everywhere,” and other beautiful sounding thoughts on existence that usually in comedy are connected to Bill Hicks.
George St. Geegland and Gil Faizon
Sounds a Lot Like: John Mulaney and Nick Kroll
Mulaney and Kroll’s characters recently got some air time on Kroll Show, and trheir characters made their premiere on Thank You Very Cool, but St. Geegland and Faizon’s unique creepiness was honed through CBB. Also, it is hard to top the “Oh Hello” guys infuriating guest Lizzy Caplan in terms of comedic entertainment. Auckerman accurately pointed out that St. Geegland and Faizon are characters out of the Coen Brothers film A Serious Man, but the two are a lot funnier with their strange version of English - “free coffee breath” comes first to mind.
Jack Sjunior and Brian Pieces
Sounds a Lot Like: Harris Wittels and Adam Scott
Wittels and Scott played brothers-in-law who over the course of just their first appearance revealed that they had cheated on their wives with each others’ wives, and were suing one another, all explained in deadpan tones. The mounting ridiculousness of the backstory is accepted because the related psychopaths treat it as if it was completely mundane.
Sounds a Lot Like: Jon Daly
Appearance: “Comedy is Honey” (5/16/11)
Out of all of Jon Daly’s somewhat abrasive characters, the drunk English roller blading pine tree is the one named Sappity Tappity. His one appearance was so memorable that it scored him his own show on Funny or Die, but sadly there has yet to be a second episode. His Tom Hanks impersonation definitely needs work.
Sounds a Lot Like: Jessica St. Clair
Appearances: “Now Hiring Interns!” (7/2/10); “How’s Your Boner?” (2/4/11); “When I Go To Queens…” (8/1/11); “Finger Guns”(4/16/12); “Anniversary Party!” (4/30/12); “New No-Nos” (7/16/12); “Motor Boating Around Town” (10/1/12); “Attack of the Shits” (11/26/12); “The 4th Anniversary Extravaganza!” (5/6/13); “4 PayDays & A Baby” (5/20/13)
Another breakout character, St. Clair plays the 15-year-old intern who always initially comes off as an obnoxious brat but becomes sympathetic when Aukerman and the guests repeatedly disgust her in some way, making it easier to want to Womp It Up upon her request. Her popularity resulted in hosting her very own Christmas special, for holiday style womping.
1He thought it was a newspaper cartoon. Simpsons producers initially assumed he was joking.