Founded in 2002, the live stand-up showcase Comedy Bang Bang (formerly Comedy Death-Ray) has been a staple of the Los Angeles comedy scene ever since (even spinning off a popular podcast and IFC TV show of the same name), but Bang Bang ended its heroic 10-year run last night with a star-studded, 4-hour Christmas show at the Ricardo Montalban Theatre. Dubbed the “Comedy Bang Bang Nativity Pageant,” it’s an annual event hosted by Comedy Bang Bang founder Scott Aukerman, who rounds up all of his big-shot friends for a jam-packed evening of stand-up, with all proceeds going towards feeding the homeless via the LA Food Bank. The previous Tuesday was Comedy Bang Bang’s last regular show at its home base, the UCB Theatre, but the 2012 Nativity Pageant was the show’s 500th and final installment. Just about every comedian in town turned out for the event, with a lot of folks performing who honed their craft at Comedy Bang Bang (or Death-Ray) earlier in their careers before striking it big. It was truly the end of an era for L.A.’s alt comedy crowd (the term “alt comedy” actually meant something when the show was founded in 2002) and Comedy Bang Bang truly went out in style.
I was at attendance at the Nativity Pageant last night and stayed for the entire 4+ hours, along with most of the crowd, which tells you how exciting of a show this was. Highlights of the evening included Jon Hamm riding out on Steve Agee and staying on his back for so long that he almost crippled him, Zach Galfianakis running through a hilarious set of new one-liners, Paul Scheer and Rob Huebel’s PSA against movie piracy, Nick Kroll debuting his act’s new brussel sprout chunk, newly-installed Rolling Stone editor Tim Heidecker explaining his plans for the magazine, Kristen Schaal and Kurt Braunohler performing a choreographed dance with glowsticks wrapped around their bodies to raise awareness for Polio, and surprise visits from Andy Richter, Jenny Slate, and Weird Al. Oh, and I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Todd Glass closing out the show with a Grammy-worthy song he composed himself in Scott Aukerman’s honor.
Scott Aukerman has made the past 10 years of Comedy Death-Ray/Bang Bang lineups available on his Tumblr here, and it’s a nice walk down Recent Comedy History memory lane. Hit the jump to see Aukerman’s handwritten, complete lineup from last night’s show: