As someone who never could tell a joke properly, I understand in no uncertain terms that live comedy is less about the quality of the material, and more about the person telling it. What was so exciting about the Comedy Bang! Bang! show at the Biltmore on Friday night, was that besides ever-present host Scott Aukerman, we had no clue who the people telling the jokes would be. But since we had the luxury of being at the closing night of the tour, we knew it had to be good.
For those that don’t know about Scott Aukerman’s awesome podcast / TV show / lifestyle choice Comedy Bang! Bang!, it’s essentially a random selection every week from the “best-of” bin of comedians, that just sort of hang-out with Scott, tell jokes, play characters, and debate on both sides of the age-old argument of whether it would be better to write Hitler fan-fiction for the rest of your life or to clean up poop with your mouth (the show is full of absolutely absurd improv games like this). If this sounds at all interesting to you, I urge you to go to the website, and then to immediately ask yourself why you followed a link only on the whim that it may contain Hitler fan-fiction and awful stories about cleaning up feces.
It didn’t take long for it to become clear that the “special guests” at the show were the audience members. Thinking safety first, Scott nominated a “fire captain” from the audience who would lead everyone to safety in the event of a fire, and brought him onstage for an impromptu half-hour job interview / improv skit. Somehow, that dissolved into our fire captain doing a soulful rendition of Olivia Newton-John’s part in “You’re the One That I Want”, and then becoming a cow. If you weren’t convinced to check out the link above before, maybe your mind has now been changed? Maybe the cow is what sold you?
After setting the tone for the evening, Scott got a beer, shuffled off stage, and summoned his friends to take on the fantastic stand-up portion of the show. The line-up for the evening was absolutely amazing, and a complete surprise. Opening up the mic was Patton Oswalt, the portly funny man known best for his role in King of Queens, and now also known to me for having the best worst German accent I’ve ever heard. Following up his (too) short set was Tim Heidecker, the “Tim” from the Tim and Eric Awesome Show, televisions’ go-to comedy nightmare collage. His set was an amateur, atrocious, unfunny mess, which was so well-played that some of my friends actually thought he was sincerely awful (spoiler: he was acting). The sick thing is, they still laughed at someone they thought was bombing horribly anyway. So Tim wins, I think.
As if the caliber wasn’t already high enough, the last comic to approach the stand-up mic was none other than Sarah Silverman. Seeing such a huge figure in comedy on the stage was amazing, and her set was hilarious and absolutely acidic. That’s it, that’s all I can say about it. Every other word out of her mouth was so vile, I feel like I would have to go to church after repeating any of it. Just imagine a room full of people, making a noise that’s right in between laughter and projectile vomiting.
The last leg of the show had Scott invite Tim and Sarah back up to basically run a shortened version of the podcast. As structured as that may sound, it very quickly devolved into Tim performing an epic Bob Dylan omnibus, allegedly because Sarah Silverman was there and Bob Dylan has a song called “Sara”. But let’s be honest here; Tim has a beautiful voice and he just wanted to sing.
The show closed out with one of the awesome improv games from Comedy Bang! Bang!, which had Tim and Sarah debating the consequences of interacting with cat poop, and saw both of them making all-around horrible decisions, while for every moment of indecision, Scott wildly escalated the stakes. Then he proclaimed a winner because when comedians debate, they apparently do so for fame and glory.
I can’t recommend investing some time into these comedians enough. They are absolutely the top of their class, and had me completely incapacitated for a great majority of the show. Thank god I at least had a chair to support my spastic body.
If you like laughing so hard it hurts, and like hearing the best comedians act completely absurd; then just go listen to Comedy Bang! Bang!. Seriously, you will be laughing so much your abs will become chiseled in no time… What a nifty bonus!