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June 08, 2012

Scott Aukerman talks 'Comedy Bang! Bang!'

From LA Sitcom Examiner:

“Comedy Bang Bang,” premiering Friday, June 8th on IFC, is a new kind of comedy show where host Scott Aukerman chats with his funny friends. The show takes the best of both the talk show format and the sketch comedy format to produce one unique and hilarious show. 
Scott chatted with LA Sitcom Examiner to give a preview of the new show and kept us laughing as he shared a little bit of his background. Check out the interview below:
Phyllis: What is the history behind “Comedy Bang Bang?”
Scott: It started out as a podcast and if your readers don't know what that, is it's basically radio for young people’ free audio programs that people can get through websites and places like iTunes. I started it three years ago just as an interview show where I talked to all of my funny friends. I had a lot of great people on it over the years from Weird Al Yankovich, Ben Stiller, Jon Hamm, etc. I think IFC, they were fans of the podcast and they listened it and thought that is was really funny. They saw all the types of great people that I worked with and they approached me about turning it into a talk show. It was a surprise to me and once I calmed down and stop running around the room chanting “USA, USA,” we got to work.
Phyllis: What is the premise of the show in a talk show format. Is it scripted or is there improv? How does it work?
Scott: The talk show is a combination of improv conversations so when I have Amy Poehler or Zach Galifianakis on, we're doing improv conversations in the same style that I do the "Between Two Friends" videos that I co-created and sometimes direct. That part of it is all improv and then we expand the show by doing comedy bits. I try to pack as many funny comedy bits into the show that I could. I think compared to a normal hour long talk show, we have twice the laughs in half the time which is no mean feat. If we were an hour show, we'd be four times the laughs but we're not, was only a half an hour.
Phyllis: Does the half hour format work best for this type of show?
Scott: It really does. When we developed the show, it could have been so many things but I'm glad that we went with what we did. I'm very proud of the show and I think the half hour version is great because it doesn't wear out its welcome like certain hour long or even 1 ½ hour long shows. There’s no studio audience which means you don't have to sit around while those people clap and laugh and you don't have to wait until all the laughter dies down. It’s a really fast-paced show where the craziest most amount of insane things happen. People won't be able to take a breath which really will be too bad because most people will asphyxiate while watching the show. That is the “Comedy Bang Bang” promise. 
Phyllis: Was there any thing you wanted to do on the show and couldn't? 
Scott: This particular show for me is the ultimate show that I always wanted to do IFC has been great about letting me do any crazy ideas that I wanted to do so for the writers and myself and the whole crew, the director and the editor and everyone, it's really been fantastic to work on a show where anything can happen and no matter what or as insane as it sounds, we're going to do it. I can’t imagine doing another show or trying to achieve something else because I'm doing everything I want to do with this one.
Phyllis: How did you decide on Reggie Watts as your band leader and show sidekick?
Scott: Reggie I've known for a while and he did the theme song to my podcast and when we started talking about you would sort of fulfill the band leader role and sidekick role we realized that Reggie would be great at both and that by hiring him we would not have to hire and extra person. It just sort of made fiscal sense but what I didn't know was that he has an entourage that he put on the payroll so he ended up being more expensive.
Phyllis: Was there any show as a kid that made you want to be in this business?
Scott: “Late Night with David Letterman” was huge one for me. I would tape it every single night and watch it the next day. It really instructed me on how to be funny and gave me a personality in a way. It taught me what sarcasm was and irony. Another huge influence on me was Pee Wee Herman and “Pee Wee's Playhouse.” What I tried to do [with "Comedy Bang Bang"] was come up with a combo show begin the two of them and have some of the surreal talk show elements that David Letterman had and still have a sense of fun and then have the “anything can happen” sense that “Pee Wee's Playhouse” did.
Phyllis: What television shows in general do you watch now? 
Scott: My friend Jon Hamm who was on my show, his show “Mad Men” is just the most incredible achievement in television that I’ve seen. Show after show, it’s so incredible. I think it survives on a level that even shows like “Breaking Bad” or “The Sopranos,” a lot of times those shows were about plot and “Mad Men” is never about that. It's just these wonderful short stories every week about the human condition. I think that’s really an achievement.
Phyllis: Time for the lighting round questions. What’s your favorite comfort food?
Scott: Nothing really beats a grilled cheese sandwich. That's been a classic since I was a wee lad.
Phyllis: Favorite movie of all time? 
Scott: It changes but nowadays I'd have to say “Rushmore.”
Phyllis: Were you in band in school? Do you play any musicals instruments?
Scott: I was in a band in high school with the drummer of No Doubt. We were in a band together. I played guitar and I sang. We were called The Naked Postmen. I was then in a band called Lava Los Manos in college which “means wash your hands” because we thought there’d be an advertisement for our band in every single bathroom in America.
Phyllis: What was the best advice you were given about being in this business?
Scott: “Don’t get into the business” was the advice everyonegave me and the best advice I ever gave myself was “Hey, don’t listen to those people.”
Phyllis: How did your parents react to you deciding to pursue a career in show business? 
Scott: Like they react to everything which is with silence and judegment. One of these days they're going to be proud of me. I don’t think that it’s happened yet. I’m on a TV show and when I showed them a picture the billboard that was up in New York City they just kind of said “Oh, that's nice.” Maybe they’ll watch the show and like it, who knows.
Phyllis: Do you have any wishes for the show that haven’t done yet?
Scott: If the show continues on past the first season, we want to be the first talk show in space. I personally love to watch those astronauts, where anytime an astronauts being shown on TV I love the jumpy connections from far away. They answer every question thirty seconds after it’s asked. I want that feel to be on our show. We’re going to be transmitting from the moon hopefully in season two.
“Comedy Bang Bang” premieres Friday, June 8 on IFC. For more info on the show, visit:
 IFC: Comedy Bang Bang 
For more info and the latest articles about television and the stars and creators who bring it to life, follow me on Twitter at:!/spotliteonent and!/Phyllis_Thomas 
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