‘Comedy Bang Bang!’ Co-Host Scott Aukerman Talks What’s in Store for New Season
Scott Aukerman is the host of the IFC comedy show Comedy Bang Bang! which is coming up on its fourth season, and FanBolt recently had a chance to speak with him about what’s in store!
On the show Scott chats with celebrity and comedian guests and in a recent interview we had a chance to chat with Scott Aukerman about the upcoming season of Comedy Bang Bang! and other thoughts he had on his mind.
Continue reading below for highlights from the interview!
How are you doing?
Scott Aukerman: I’m doing good. The show is about to come on and I’m excited for people to see what we’ve made. I’m really proud of it so, yeah, this is an exciting week.
I’m sure you are on phone call after phone call doing a lot of the same questions. You know what, is there anything that you wish that people would ask you but they never do?
SA: People, it’s almost like they’re avoiding the topic but nobody wants to talk about my incredibly large penis size.
SA: I’m like, come on, guys it’s out there. I mean when is the lame stream media going to pick up on this story, sheesh!
Well, you know the liberal media. Well, it’s kind of like common knowledge. It’s like talking about the weather.
SA: I guess so but they have a whole channel devoted to that
So you’re thinking there should be a channel just dedicated to your penis?
SA: Yes! You know; information and factoids. What’s the color like today? What are the conditions?
There’s a myriad of things that could be discussed. So, I can I be the first one to interview you when that station comes on the air?
SA: Yes, please. That’s the one thing; I’m not going to do any interviews about the station devoted to my penis other than for you. You got the exclusive.
That’s great. So, how did you transition to the TV show because the podcast is heavily improv and you have mostly writing on the show? How did you move that over?
SA: Well, I mean, when the network asked me to do the show because they were fans of the podcast I, incorrectly probably, assumed that they wanted it to be like the podcast in a way. In terms of it being show live and taped. Very low production values. Basically something like The Talking Dead does.
Yeah or like when Howard Stern had a TV show of his radio broadcast type of deal
SA: Yeah, exactly. And I think that fans of the podcast maybe expected that as well. And IFC to their credit said we could do something that simple but what we really want to do, since you’re such an experienced sketch producer, is we wanted this to be maybe like the sketch show you always wanted to do but in a talk show format. So when they said that I really realized: wow, they’re going to give me more money to do this which is great and I immediately started cashing those checks, baby! Cha-ching! But I also just really realized oh you know what, the TV show can be inspired by the podcast and can have similar structure to it. And the reason it’s called Comedy Bang Bang! I think is because they’re both talk shows, both hosted by me, and both have a mixture of celebrity guests and comedians playing characters. Those are the common threads to me but the executions of them are different.
It’s kind of your brand, but not the same as each other.
SA: Yeah, I just thought that the TV show would be the talk show I always wanted to do. I grew up idolizing Letterman back when he was on NBC at 12:30 when he was really breaking new ground so that’s the kind of show I wanted to do. Along with that comes more writing. The budget of your show is really big. You want to make sure it’s really good. You can do all these big ideas that you can’t do when it’s just a talking head podcast. It’s really great that we get to do two totally different executions of the show. Some people prefer the podcast because they like how long-form improv it is. There’s just something about the improv on the podcast when you get to explore the lunacy of these particular people in such a long-form interview that takes 90 minutes. Some people prefer that, some people prefer the TV show and don’t even know there’s a podcast. But I think what’s cool about it is neither of them is going away. You can pick your favorite; I just think it’s interesting to see one idea executed so differently in two different types of media. Can you imagine if Breaking Bad were to be done in two different types of media? You know, like I’m going to make a TV show out of it but also this one nugget of an idea of a chemistry teacher getting cancer and start making a selling a drug. Spoiler Alert if you haven’t seen it. Can you imagine if they said we’re going to do a podcast of that and it’s totally different? I think it’s a really unique situation that only exists with my show.
Are you saying that’s what Breaking Bad’s about?
SA: I mean, yeah. I know it’s all about the futility of life and hubris and trying to make your mark on society before one shuffles off this mortal coil but the in general plot, yeah, that’s what it’s about.
You know, I’ve never seen that show so thanks for ruining that, Scott
SA: Oh, well. If you didn’t watch it when it was on..
It’s not on IFC, so who cares, right?
SA: There you go. Well, it is actually on IFC’s parent company AMC but, still, who cares?
So, what’s going on this season? You got any new guest stars?
SA: We decided to go the unconventional route and actually have celebrity guests on this year. To which a lot of people said No, you can’t do it and I said Hey, you shut up. I want to have celebrity guest on this year. I’m not a sellout. Don’t call me that. And then I smack them in the mouth. I say now looks who’s talking. I’m the boss here and you’re going to do what I say. Now hustle on up those stairs and put on something nice. Um, but yeah, we have celebrity guests. We have Ellie Kemper from The Office, we have James Adomian playing Governor Jesse Ventura, we also have the band The National who are in a sketch and sing a song. That’s just in the first episode. We have The Walking Dead’s Steven Yeun, we have Kevin Smith, Dane Cook, Chris Hardwick, Wayne Coyne from The Flaming Lips, The Lonely Island, Amber Tamblyn, Rob Corddry, “Weird” Al Yankovic, Eric André. The list goes on and on but I shall not.
You’re the general showrunner on this, right? You come up with the basic idea of the episodes in the writer’s room kind of breaking it down with all the writers?
SA: I mean, generally, I am the last word. We do have a head writer and an executive producer, Neil Campbell. I am in the room and most of the stories have to go through me, especially if they’re not broke by me. Basically we just talk about ideas that we want to do and the writers are sent to make outlines of the episodes that I read to kind of give them notes and stuff. So technically, yeah, I am the executive producer and showrunner.
Earlier today I was talking to The Birthday Boys and they just had nothing but terrible things to say about working for you.
SA: How dare they!
I’m not going to name any names, but…
SA: Oh, I know which ones you’re talking about. By face. Barely. If I could tell any of The Birthday Boys apart when I watch their television show I could tell you who they were. It’s just seven white guys.
If you knew their names it would probably be more effective but you know them by face, right?
SA: Ug, yeah it’s not worth it.
Yeah, it’s not worth it learning people’s names in general. I have Scott written down here because I’m like Eh
SA: Are you trying to neg me?
Like the pick-up artist?
SA: Are you a pick-up artist?
Well, my hat is not working for my right now. You know, I have all my accoutrements, but that doesn’t work on a phone interview so I had to resort to it. So what do we have in store this season? What’s different? If somebody’s never seen your show before what’s going to make them excited to come watch it? What would you say to them?
SA: Well, this show is on a trip to the stars. Boom! Rocket ship, fame. You want to be part of the next cool thing? You want to be saying the words that all the cool people will be saying in the next few years? Do you want to be the person saying “Hey, I knew about that before my stupid neighbor knew?” Watch Comedy Bang Bang! If you really need a show description and aren’t going to take it on faith I would just say it’s a fake talk show that has celebrity guests and also comedian guests and a lot of your favorite people will be on it and if that’s not good enough for you maybe you shouldn’t be watching TV in the first place. You know, why don’t you go to the Old Globe Theater and check out Shakespeare, Mr. Fancy Pants!
I guess they could go listen to the podcast because they have that option too
SA: I guess, but gosh what do I have to do for you people to make a show good enough? Come on! Just watch it. Stop complaining. What’s the worst thing that ever happened to you? That you had to watch a TV show? Just watch it! God! You’re so annoying.
I apologize for those people that you are yelling at.
SA: Oh, come on, you don’t have to do that. It’s very kind. You’re one of the kindest people I know but please don’t make excuses for them
They mean well, you know. They just…
SA: Yeah, that’s what they always say. They mean well. But you know what; start actually treating people well instead of just meaning well.
You know what? You’re right. I’m going to have to have a talk with all of those people because I can’t keep standing up for them.
SA: Thank you! Finally, somebody that has the guts and more importantly the balls because your balls are connected to your guts.
So, as far as you doing these interviews and talking about this show. Would you rather get 100 loyal dedicated followers or 10000 people that follow your show but only to hate it and say terrible things about it online and to other people?
SA: You know what? I would much rather have thousands and thousands of hate watchers as long as they’re part of the Neilson Family, baby, and watch that show within 3 days of airing if you DVR it because it helps with the ad rates, you hate watchers. Watch all those commercials. Don’t fast forward through them. Watch every single minute of every single one of our fine, fine sponsors then go write them a letter and buy the products. Let them know. Let them know that you’re only hate watching and that you’re buying Cheez-Its or Colgate because you hate watching Comedy Bang Bang!. See if they care. They don’t care if you’re hate watching or just watching. Keep the show on the air. I appreciate it.
Have you actually gotten much of a negative response from people?
SA: The thing about when you join a show that’s really specific. The thing about IFC is they don’t water it down or say “Oh, no are people going to understand that joke” you know they let us do what we want and in doing so we do what’s funny to us you know. But people’s brains are all different. Some people are not going to like it but what’s cool is we’re not trying to do it for the mainstream. We’re just trying to do it for who likes it so when people say “You know what, that’s one of the worst shows I’ve ever seen” I kind of go, well, yeah, you have a different kind of brain than us. I like that. That says there’s going to be a whole other group of people that says “that’s the best show I’ve ever seen.” Something that’s just kind of bland and inoffensive; who wants to be that? You want to be something that people are passionate about, you know, and I think our show is that. It really hits people on a level of oh wow, we’re doing something no other show does. It’s funny in a way that no other show is and speaks to people that love that type of humor. I don’t mind it when people don’t like the show because it tells me I’m doing something right.
It would actually be very boring if everybody liked the same thing.
SA: Yeah, there’s certain shows like Breaking Bad that transcend that. They start off as a very specific thing that could only be a cult or niche thing they break out into the mainstream. But, you know, that’s all art. I think this speaks to universality. What am I talking about? The scientist is closing up shop. The professor has ended his lecture. Sorry for rambling on.
No, you’re fine. Are you doing a tour this year or no?
SA: Not this year, no. I’m in the middle of taping the show and doing 40 episodes so as much as I would love to tour we have to write twice as many episodes. We are actually writing as we shoot the show so I don’t get a break until we shop shooing. But I hope to next year.
When does the shooting should end?
Are you still doing live shows there in LA?
SA: No, I had to stop doing that. I did 10 years of that and on the 10th anniversary we had to stop because the TV show kind of ramped up. I don’t know what to say. Something’s got to give. I can only work 7 days a week. They should create an 8th day, you know. Who wouldn’t mind one more day in the week?
Again, its them. Those well-intentioned people
SA: Yeah, add another couple more hours to the day, too. Why only 24. It’s ridiculous. Add 2 more hours. We’ll get so much more done.
And 24 seems so random. A quarter is 25. It seems like 25 would at least make more sense.
SA: Just make it 25 hours and at the end of 4 days we can say that’s a dollar! And then 8 days in a week so each week is 2 dollars. It’s done. It’s so easy to remember. We could say hey, do you have 2 dollars? And everybody would go do you mean a week? And everybody will laugh really hard at each other and that’s how humor starts.
Exactly, I’m onboard. Can we get this started?
SA: Let’s start it right now. You and me
Alright, I’m onboard.
SA: And weekends; they last 6 of those 8 days.
OK, so you’ll only have a work week of 50 cents.
SA: 50 cents, exactly. You work 50 cents and the other $1.50 you get to cut loose, baby!
And one day could be called 2 bits.
SA: Sure, if you want it to. And then a whole week: 16 bits.
This is a perfect system. I don’t know why this hasn’t been brought up before.
SA: Yep, we’re already starting our own slang. You how perfect it is? Meanwhile 24, what can you do with it?
SA: 24, 48, nobody can even think of what the next thing is. 72 or something? Come on, forget about it
I don’t have time for that kind of math. 25, 50, 75, 100 that’s easy.
SA: I’m trying to work my 2 days a week for the 25 hours that I have available to me.
I smell a Nobel Prize.
SA: I smell something
Looks like we’re about out of time. Do you have any closing statements?
SA: Closing sentiments? Look. Look, everyone. There’s several kinds of ships. There’s sailboats. There’s battleships. There’s little tiny ships. There’s ships that pass in the night. But there are no ships like friendships so always remember that.
The fourth season of Comedy Bang Bang! premiered October 17th at 11pm on IFC! Be sure to tune in this Friday at the same time!
Interview By: Jacob
Edited By: Jasmine Alyce
Photo Credit: Instagram