by Ross Bonaime
Comedy Bang! Bang!’s live show has been a staple of the LA comedy scene ever since it moved to the UCB theatre and started hosting such comedians like Louis C.K., Patton Oswalt and Sarah Silverman. On a larger scale, Comedy Bang! Bang! has become one of the most popular comedy podcasts and is now it wrapping up its first season of the Comedy Bang! Bang! TV show on IFC. Supposedly in an effort to continue the reign of Comedy Bang! through all entertainment, host Scott Aukerman has taken the show on the road, stopping at The Howard Theatre Wednesday night with Kurt Braunohler, James Adomian and Tim Heidecker for an over two hour night of great comedy, impressions and obnoxious girls in the front row.
Opening the Comedy! Bang! Bang! tour was Kurt Braunohler, who hosts Bunk on IFC that airs after Comedy Bang! Bang! Being from the Baltimore area, Braunohler had some great stories about the area, like when he would later go on to explain how we once dropped acid and peed on the Washington Monument. He also mentioned how an illiteracy campaign in Baltimore left many bus ads that read “Baltimore: The City That Reads”, vandalized into the perfect “Baltimore: The City That Breads,” instead of breeds. Braunohler’s set was short but quite hilarious, especially with jokes about how he once went running through New York City with a double-ended dildo, greeting cards he writes messages in and then returns, and voicemail he leaves himself in his sleep.
After Braunohler, the actual Comedy Bang! Bang! portion of the show started. Aukerman introduced himself as Broke Ankleman, since on the second day of the tour he sprained his ankle and broke his heel. He went onto set up some ground rules that led him to elect a fire captain. This led to a great audience participation moment in which him and a member of the audience had to role-play different scenes. The role-play would lead to another to another to another, until it was the Inception of role-plays.
Once Aukerman set up how the evening would go (stand-up sets, followed by a live taping of the podcast), frequent Comedy Bang! Bang! guest James Adomian came to the stage. Adomian joked about how being gay in high school and on the football team worked out for him, as well as explaining his experiences living in New York City, where all cops either talk like lost Jerky Boys or outtakes from a heartburn commercial. His final bit went on about all the gay villains throughout children’s entertainment, such as all the Decepticons,The Riddler, Ursula from The Little Mermaid and Skeletor from He-Man who had clearly died from AIDS.
What surprised me was the performer who received the most audience love was Tim Heidecker, whose stand up set was incredible. Aukerman introduced him, saying that he was new to the tour so he was having trouble fitting in. When Heidecker came out, he pretended he was having serious problems with the mic, unscrewing it, dropping it and even knocking the mic into a nearby viewer’s water. His set was hilariously nervous and filled with intentionally bad jokes, such as how he expected Ron Howard or Howard the Duck to appear at The Howard Theatre. When he asked the audience for some sunglasses for an impression, he threw back glasses that weren’t Ray-Bans. When he did receive glasses to his liking, he simply put them on said “I’m Jack Nicholson,” then gave them back. He then got serious and went on an anti-Obama rant that led him to yell at the secret service guards that were sure to be there to shoot him. The best moment came when a woman in the front, who was yelling and raising her hands the whole time, had Tim break character to say to her, “Shut up!….FOREVER!” It was what everyone near her was thinking and was arguably the best moment of the night.
After a spin of the James Adomian to see which of his many characters he would come out to play (Huell Howser) and a clip from the Comedy Bang! Bang! TV show, the podcast segment was ready to begin. Braunohler was brought out and started talking about the sadness of two butts farting Coldplay songs. Heidecker came out and talked about a new TV show he has in the works, a remake of Shit My Dad Says, starring Chesley Sullenberger, the pilot who landed a plane in the Hudson River and Tom Arnold as his son, where every episode ends up being a nightmare.
Huell Howser then came to the stage, whose bit is that he literally knows nothing. He calls DC the District of California, and then is instantly confused by the crowd watching. This led Howser to go down into the stage to ask people questions like, “Who is God’s fuck are you?” and “you can talk?!” But the bright lights and cameras lead Howser to go a little insane and relapse into remembering he actually doesn’t have a memory of anything happening before when he turned 18.
The night ended with a game of Would You Rather?, in which the question was would you rather have to dig through dinosaur poop for money or have a Kramer-like meltdown and have it YouTubed every birthday. Braunohler ended up winning for being the only person to actually give an answer.
The Comedy Bang! Bang! tour worked out much better than I actually expected it would. It went for twice as long as I expected, the four comedians worked great together and were fantastic at integrating the audience into the show in fun ways. Even if I hadn’t been a huge fan of all things Comedy Bang! Bang! before, this tour would have absolutely turned me.