What would an anniversary show be without an appearance from one of our all-time favorite guests, Comedy Bang Bang’s Scott Aukerman? I guess we’ll find out if Scott happens to change his number between now and July of 2021.
Ryan Gatenby: My next guest is one of our all-time favorites in the 10-year history of the Big Wakeup Call, today making his 14th appearance on the show. He was the long-time host of “Comedy Bang Bang” — I don’t know why it says “was,” I guess we’ll find out. It’s Scott Aukerman. Hi, Scott!
Scott Aukerman: Hi, Ryan! That’s right. I quit.
RG: Are we getting a ‘sclusie here? Are you hangin’ up the ‘Bang Bang?
SA: Actually, strangely enough, what people don’t know about Comedy Bang Bang – the podcast that I host – is that I quit after each episode, and then I just re-hire myself the next day. So I quit after Monday’s episode, but you’ll see me again next Monday.
RG: Is it out of frustration? Do you just yell at people and things are thrown and then you quit in frustration, or is that just what you do? Basically, you’re on a show-to-show contract?
SA: I pretty much yell at people. I don’t smoke, but I have several ashtrays, glass ashtrays that I can hurl at people, so even if I miss them, it shatters behind them on the wall and then gets the back of their neck with shattered glass. So, yeah, I’m pretty much a monster to work for. And luckily I’m my only employee, so I work for myself. I’m self-employed, so it’s pretty much just having an angry conversation with myself.
RG: How has the pandemic and quarantine changed the production of Comedy Bang Bang? Like we’re all doing radio shows from home — are you recording the show from your home or home office?
SA: I’m recording the show from both home and home office because my home office is in my home, unlike other people’s home offices. But, yeah, we do it over Zoom now so we can see each other, but we all record each other separately and then edit it together. And it’s a huge pain, as I’m sure you’re experiencing. But you know, the show is important to people. So we strive to keep improving not only recording techniques but timing issues and stuff. And the good thing is that people seem to really like the episodes we put out.
RG: Do you normally do it from your house? Are there actually legitimate Earwolf Studios or is that just a bit?
SA: Yeah, it’s a long-running, ten-year bit at this point that we have studios. No, of course not. We do it out in the middle of a field. I mean, we can’t afford a brick and mortar. Are you kidding me?
RG: I’m picturing you just having a constant stream of guests coming in and out of your house and like you’re doing it in your rumpus room.
SA: I would hate for anyone to know where I actually live. So that, unfortunately, is not going to happen. But I do have a rumpus room. So thank you for acknowledging that.
RG: Do you feel like it changes the energy at all to do your show with your guests Zooming in? Do you feel like there is something to having guests in studio that adds something that isn’t there right now?
SA: Well, if you’ve ever heard Comedy Bang Bang – and at this point, Ryan, I’m not quite sure that you have — It’s a show — basically a lot of people used to say it’s the show where we talk to interesting people. Some people have called it “America’s Podcast.” Some people now have called it “Humanity’s Podcast.” But I like to think of it as the show where people talk over each other constantly. So it’s sort of increased that a little bit because of just various not-being-able-to hear-each-other issues. But, you know, I mean, some people like that, some people wish that we weren’t talking over each other. It’s just a little hard to have more than four or five people on the show at this point.
RG: Quite often on Comedy Bang Bang, you’ll be interviewing a guest — like a legitimate star, comedian, or actor — and then some unusual oddball will burst into your studio. Has that still been happening over Zoom? Are they getting ahold of the dial-in codes?
SA: Well, we’ve always had an open-door policy, which has been the problem with Comedy Bang Bang since the beginning. We’ve been going eleven years — I know this is your tenth anniversary — and the issue with the show is unfortunately these weirdos keep bursting into the studio and then I talk to them, assuming they’re part of the show.
The other part is we have terrible, terrible producers who book just a collection of eccentric crazies to be on the show. And unfortunately, that has extended to the Zoom. We found out very quickly — You must have heard all of those news reports about people breaking into Zooms and figuring out the codes. That was all my show. It’s all Comedy Bang Bang. So it still has continued. I don’t know how to ditch this.
I would prefer to be a show sort of like, you know, “WTF” or “Conan O’Brien Has a Podcast or even “Serial.” I would love it if, like one of my guests came on the show and was murdered and I could just talk about that for a while. But unfortunately, this is a show where, you know, these crazy people come in and I’m forced to talk to them.
RG: Now, I notice you blamed your producers, but early on in this interview, you said you were the only employee, so perhaps your producers being volunteers is part of the reason you’re not getting the quality you would expect.
SA: Well, you know, even though you don’t quite get the best work out of them, I find that unpaid interns are the way to go when you’re trying to make a living in podcasting.
RG: Scott, a lot of fans of your TV show — I think a lot of people don’t know Comedy Bang Bang was also a TV show — but fans of the show pretty distressed when we heard the show was possibly leaving Netflix. And yet, as we speak, it’s still up there.
SA: Well, they can return to their distress, because I just read that it’s leaving again. I don’t know what is going on with it. A lot of people write to me and say, like, “hey, put it back on Netflix,” or “put it on Netflix Canada” and stuff like that. But I have no control over the licensing of it. And I just read an article yesterday that said it was being taken down again in August.
So who knows, maybe it’ll just be for another day. I don’t know what’s going on with it, but, you know, the more people watch it, the more people will want to keep it on their platform. So I hope people can continue to binge it until it’s gone.
RG: I think it’s a terrible idea to have it leave because I know the only reason most people sign up for Netflix is to watch Comedy Bang Bang. So I was thinking you should at least get a buck out of every new subscriber.
SA: I think so, you know, I mean, how many do they have? I mean, they keep bragging about it. What is it, 900 million? I don’t even remember. I kind of zoned out in any of my Netflix meetings when they brag. Anytime you go into Netflix — I directed a movie for them and also a special. And, you know, anytime you go in there for anything, they have to brag about how many subscribers they have and how many languages everything is translated into. And I sort of zoned out, but yeah, I should get one dollar for each. You’re right.
RG: Scott, is there anything else you’d like to plug before we let you go?
SA: You know, I would love people to watch the “Between Two Ferns” movie on Netflix, a lot of people don’t even know that there’s a movie out there, but it’s right there on Netflix. It has Zach Galifianakis and David Letterman and Keanu Reeves and Matthew McConaughey and Awkwafina and so many great people in it. So check that out if you can.
RG: Is that going to have a director’s cut ? Or since you directed it, that was your cut?
SA: You know, I pitched to them and I still kind of think they should do it, especially when everything is shut down — we shot maybe a four hour movie that we cut down to under 90 minutes. And there’s so many interesting avenues that we went down and scenes that we had to cut out and whole subplots that I think it would be interesting to see a three hour long meditative Altman-esque cut of the movie. But when I pitched it to Netflix and said, “Yeah, it’ll it’ll almost be boring in a way!” they sort of turned off on it.
RG: So, your pitch for the movie was “it’s going to be boring.”
SA: Yeah, well, that’s how I start everything, every pitch. In fact, you know, you didn’t air it on this, but before you started recording, I told you that this would be boring and hey, sure enough!
RG: Well, Scott, thank you so much for joining me for the 10th anniversary show. It’s been a pleasure to have you on point five percent of all of our shows.
SA: Congratulations and, you know, I mean, when you listed those stats of 10 years and I was on 14 times, it made me realize that you ask me more than once a year and could you please stop that?
RG: Scott Aukerman, Everybody! Thanks, Scott!
SA: Thanks, Ryan!Follow @bigwakeupcall