Talking to Scott Aukerman and Reggie Watts About ‘Comedy Bang Bang’ Season 2
One of the funniest new TV shows of last year, Comedy Bang Bang is returning for a second season this Friday on IFC. Even better, it’s a super-sized 20-episode season that looks pretty action-packed based on the trailer (embedded below) and the couple of episodes I’ve gotten to see ahead of time. I had the chance to visit the Comedy Bang Bang set a few months ago while the gang was filming the opening scene of the new season, and I got to sit down with host Scott Aukerman and his faithful bandleader Reggie Watts during a lunch break to talk about what we can expect from Comedy Bang Bang‘s giant second season.
How does season two compare to season one?
Scott Aukerman: Well, it’s later, definitely. It’s definitely like a year later.
Reggie Watts: It’s almost exactly a year later, so it picks up right where it left off in the plot of that cliffhanger.
Aukerman: It’s sequentially numbered the number after one, which is great.
Watts: People are gonna freak out. I would say it’s about 22% weirder.
Aukerman: How did you come up with those numbers, Reggie?
Watts: Just off the top of my head. It’s an intuitive…
Aukerman: Reggie’s kind of an amateur statistician. He’s always like, “Oh, that picture needs to be lowered 83% more.”
Scott, do you agree with that percentage? That 22%?
Aukerman: Ummm, do you really think it’s weirder, Reggie?
Watts: I think it’s a little weirder. I think it’s bigger. I think it goes bigger.
Aukerman: Or it goes home. We haven’t decided yet.
Watts: So far, we haven’t been back home.
Aukerman: It might’ve gone home.
Watts: So far, so big.
Aukerman: Yeah, we haven’t gone home yet. It’s definitely bigger. Doing 20 episodes kind of afforded us to move money in the budget so that we could do bigger stuff a little bit, so some of the shows are huge, huge productions. We’re getting to do stuff that we didn’t do last year. We built a spaceship, which is great ‘cause you write in a script “Interior Spaceship” and then you don’t expect it to ever happen. Then, you get to the set one day, and there’s a big spaceship. You go, “All right, well, I guess we’re doing this show. No one ever told me they built a spaceship. People should keep me in the loop.”
Watts: And there’s pilots to pilot them.
Aukerman: Yeah, it is a working spaceship. You didn’t seem too impressed when I said that.
I just assumed it was a set spaceship.
Aukerman: No, no, no. It’s a literal working spaceship that flew to space.
Watts: We got it from Skunk Works.
What happens to it after you guys are done with it, they just put it into storage?
Watts: It goes back into service, doesn’t it?
Aukerman: That’s the thing. We didn’t build it as much as steal it.
Watts: It’s like a Firefox situation.
Aukerman: [Laughs] Firefox. I saw that movie probably five times in the theater when I was 12 years old.
Watts: I know. That and Blue Thunder.
Aukerman: So, it feels bigger. There’s just more of everything. I remember last year, we were done the day before South by Southwest. Then, South by Southwest came this year, and we were like, “Well, we still have two and a half more months.”
Watts: Yeah, exactly. Over half more stuff to film.
Aukerman: It’s pretty impressive this year. I’ve already seen three of the shows put together. We’ve already put together three of them since we started. I showed one to Reggie the other day. What’d you think?
Watts: It was great. It’s familiar, but it just seems to be heading more in a stronger, cohesive direction. Plus, there’s really intense cinematic things happening this time. We have cop stuff. Today, we’re filming in a hospital. That kind of intense dramatic simulation is pretty awesome.
Aukerman: We structured it a little bit in season two and made it slightly just different. Things happen at different times now. The main guest actually walks out instead of just appearing, so people should look for that. Fans of entrances will be very pleased.
Watts: And exits.
Watts: Yeah, introductions, entrances, and exits. All of those fans.
Aukerman: We haven’t added exits yet. We never have anyone exit.
Watts: That’s season three.
Aukerman: If anyone ever enters a scene, they just have to stay, so by the end of the show, there’s like 25 people in one studio.
Watts: But it looks cool. It looks like a party or whatever.
Aukerman: It looks like Lawrence of Arabia. A big sweeping epic.
Watts: Ishtar all the way.
Who are some of the guests you have this year?
Aukerman: Can’t say … I don’t know when we can talk about it.
Watts: But we can say that Brad Pitt is gonna be in almost every episode.
Aukerman: He called us and was like, “Guys, I know you’re doing 20; wish you were doing 21 ’cause I’m there. Every single time.”
Watts: ‘Cause if he’s on a series, he only does the 21st episode, so we kinda fucked up.
Aukerman: Yeah, we fucked up. We fucked up big time.
Was he mad about that?
Aukerman: Oh, Paul Reiser, he’s gonna be there. Mad About You; he’s mad about a lot of things. What else is he mad about? That’s what we wanted to know. “Hey, what else are you mad about?” He was happy to oblige and come tell us. There’s one complete show where he’s the only guest and he just talks about what he’s mad about, so that’s pretty intense …
Watts: That’s such a great episode.
Aukerman: That’s a beautiful episode of television.
What are you guys mad about?
Aukerman: They say, “Don’t go to bed angry,” so Reggie and I try to do that before we go to bed at night. We’ll finish the show. Before we leave the studio, if we’re angry with each other, we’ll kind of have a cool down period where we look into each other’s eyes and we say, “This is how I’m feeling. It’s not judging you, but this is exactly how I’m feeling. When you do this, it makes me feel this.” We usually get it all out by the day we shoot.
Watts: It’s usually fine. I never really worry about it too much. Sometimes, I pretend like it’s resolved, you know, but I try not to do that.
Aukerman: Wait, when did you–
Watts: What’s the next question that you want to ask? [Laughs]
So, this season, it seems like you guys are going more in the direction of big theme episodes like the green screen one from last season…
Aukerman: Why would you think that? Are you just throwing it out there to–
Are you guys going more in that direction?
Aukerman: Look at this guy, gotcha journalism. I’m not gonna fall for it. I’m not playing your game. We’re doing whatever we’re doing; you keep to whatever you’re doing.
Let me get a scoop, Scott.
Aukerman: No scoop for you.
Watts: What about an angle?
Yeah, I need an angle at least.
Aukerman: Oh, you need an angle for your story? All right. Let’s pitch him some angles. “Comedy Bang Bang Finished? No. Actually Starting Season 2.” That’s when they click through. They go, “No, of course not.” “Scott and Reggie, Dead?” Click through. “No, They’re Alive. They’re About to Start Season 2.” These are all ways to drum up web traffic.
Do you want a job with us, Scott, once the season wraps?
Aukerman: That’s what I’m getting at! I need a job. I’m on IFC. I need money. I need something to support this costly habit of doing a TV show.
Watts: He’s a big DeLorean collector.
Aukerman: That’s the biggest problem ’cause I only collect the ones from the Back to the Future series.
Watts: As opposed to like the 1998 DeLoreans.
Aukerman: I don’t like those. Those are so ugly. The ones with the actual converter on the back … those are the only ones I collect.
That’s like your equivalent to collecting classic cars?
Aukerman: Yeah, well, I’m sort of a Leno in that way. I have a big airport hanger [for my cars].
Your wives have the same name.
Aukerman: Our wives have the same name, exactly. I guess there’s a lot of parallels when you put it that way … What else can we tell you [about the new season]? … Have you heard that expression “Same shit, different day?” If you like that expression, you’ll love the show.
Watts: It’s incredibly narrative this year.
Aukerman: The show is a little bit more narrative. We’re doing more stories in the episodes. I think we hit a really good balance with the episodes that we’ve done so far of part of a talk show but also part of a really fun story going along. We do have great guests this year. Reggie came back.
Watts: I came back. Came back for more.
Were you close to not coming back?
Watts: Oh yeah, totally.
Aukerman: He left in the middle of a shoot once. We were like, “Reggie!!!”
Watts: Then you had to find me. It was a huge montage.
Aukerman: Yeah, that was crazy. What else? Why would people ever watch the show, Reggie? What would you say? As a person who’s barely ever watched the show, why would you recommend someone not be like you and actually watch the show?
Watts: [Laughs] Well, I think it’s the only show like it on TV. There’s like The Eric Andre Show, but it’s more chaos-driven. There’s not really a show like it. It’s kind of a unique blend of things, you know. It’s barely a talk show.
Aukerman: That’s a great tag line by the way. “It’s barely a talk show.” “It barely meets the minimum requirements for being a talk show.”
Watts: It’s got a couch, it’s got a host, it’s got music, people sit on the couch and get asked questions. That’s true, but it spirals out into weird realities. [There are] also some pretty ambitious episodes too. Just bigger thematic things. Props this year, killing it.
Aukerman: The director, Ben Berman, is doing really well. He had to study a whole bunch of different styles of things. We’re doing a musical episode. He had to watch a whole bunch of musicals, which is not something that he really necessarily wants to do, but he killed it with all the different styles and stuff. We do have a lot of really ambitious narrative stuff that I think people are gonna really respond to. We don’t want to give away all the surprises, just 90% of them. So in episode one…
Watts: [Laughs] The team is really good. Wardrobe and everybody, it’s cool. Everything moves along at a nice clip …
Aukerman: Reggie [and I] met at the top of the season, and I said, “Reggie, what do you want to do this year? Is there anything in particular you want to do?” Reggie was like, “Um, maybe I could play a cop?” That was the direction we had going forward into season two, that he wanted to play a cop at some point. And there’s an episode where he plays a cop!
Season 2 of Comedy Bang Bang begins tomorrow at 10pm on IFC. You can watch the new season’s Sarah Silverman episode, which won’t air until August, via IFC now.