Neil Brown Jr. starred in “Straight Outta Compton” and was featured on “The Walking Dead.” He’s currently appearing in two critically-acclaimed series: “Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency” on BBC America, and “Insecure” on HBO. We discussed his role as a holistic detective and how it’s really a show about relationships and how we’re all interconnected, and how he’s greeted differently in public depending on from what role he’s been recognized.Follow @bigwakeupcall
Live from the World News Center‘s Auxiliary Branch, Bill McCormick called in to share the latest news on our non-scary scientific attempts to decipher potential alien broadcast transmissions, with a particular focus on Tabby’s Star. Plus: Linguistics, Neanderthals and the Norman Conquest!Follow @bigwakeupcall
Scott Aukerman is our all-time favorite guest, racking up an impressive seven appearances on The Big Wakeup Call. Scott called in to talk about the final 10 episodes of Comedy Bang! Bang!, which returns to IFC at 10pm Central tomorrow night (10/28). Scott also discussed a top-secret new project, his international tour, and the AV Club.
Ryan Gatenby: Our next guest is the host of Comedy Bang! Bang!, which returns to wrap up its final season tomorrow night at 10 Central on IFC. Of course, it’s Scott Aukerman. Scott, welcome back to the show!
Scott Aukerman: Ryan, how are you? Thank you so much for having me back.
Ryan: Scott, maybe you’ve had time to process what the end of the show means to you, but as we approach the premiere again, are you feeling emotional?
Scott: I’m feeling emotions, yes. Emotions like hate and anger –
Ryan: Oh, no!
Scott: You know, I kind of just finished putting them together and editing them, so they actually haven’t been done for a while, so I’m just getting out of it on the other side. You know, when I announced it was the final episode, it was actually very nice to see the outpouring of support for the show. When you’re doing a show, you don’t really get the sense that anyone is even watching it a lot of times, because people take it for granted, but when you announce you’re leaving, everyone pulls out the tear wagons, so that was nice to see that the show means so much to people.
Ryan: Well, like a lot of fans of the show, I’m excited to have these new episodes, but also a little sad that it’s ending. Have you thought about doing any counseling or giving any advice on reconciling people’s mixed feelings?
Scott: Well, yeah, that’s the promise that we always said when we started the show is “Look, we all know everything has to end, but once it does, I’m available for grief counseling.” Individual grief counseling. I mean, if people want to do couples grief counseling, that’s fine, but I would rather do it one-on-one with each fan of the show, so if you’re a fan of the show and you’re upset about it, just hit me up and we’ll schedule a session. We want to get really deep on this. I also have to admit that I am also a licensed sex therapist, so some of that may actually come up in our sessions. But yeah, I’ll definitely be available to anybody who needs me.
Ryan: Are there going to be any loss triggers, then, in these final episodes, or are we just going to have to pick up on clues or veiled references that the show would be ending?
Scott: Well, what I wanted to do was – you know, a lot of people weren’t satisfied with the end of the TV show “Lost,” and I wanted to do a good version of that, so we just pick right back up on the island in this last season, and instead of it being about some mystical river that heals people and two ancient weirdos who are in charge of everything, we’re going to reveal – and I hope you don’t mind if I spoil it for you – but the island is a spaceship.
Scott: Yeah. That’s what “Lost” should have done.
Ryan: Now, I would have thought your series finale would either be a star-studded clip show, or you would do a tearful, wistful reminiscence with just you on a stool center stage by yourself.
Scott: We were going to do that, but we could not find a stool, and we didn’t have a stool budget, so the entire episode you’ll notice every single person is standing the entire episode, and that’s simply because we didn’t have the budget. I don’t think anyone has ever seen an episode of television where people stand the entire time, but I hope they’re ready for it.
Ryan: Well, what if this whole standing thing catches on? Are you ready to go immediately into production with a new theme and a new format?
Scott: Yeah! That’s what we’re hoping. Everyone does a final episode hoping that it’s so popular that people go,”Ah, forget it! Come on back.” So that’s what we’re hoping to do. This is sort of a fake out. This is not the final season. Let me be honest with you: we’re just trying to drum up interest any way we can. It’s five seasons in. Just watch this one and we’ll be back next year. Don’t worry about it.
Ryan: Oh, well, I was going to ask if the Smithsonian had requested a piece of your set or one of your sweaters. But if not, do you get to keep any of that stuff? Can you set it up in your house like Kramer did with the old Merv Griffin set?
Scott: Yeah, you know, the Smithsonian wanted some stuff, but I basically looked around the set and I said I just want Weird Al Yankovic, so they gave him to me, and he’s here in my office right now. I have to feed him, certainly, but that’s the only downside, really.
Ryan: So at some point when Weird Al signed on to be your bandleader, there was something in that contract where he signed away all personal rights to you?
Scott: Yeah, he’s just part of the set. We didn’t have the money — he’s a huge star, but we didn’t have the money to pay him his actual fee for performing, so we said let’s get around this by just having you be a part of the set, and we’ll pay you like we pay the couch. Unfortunately for him, when he read the contract, he realized that we can treat him like a part of the set, and so I’m sitting on him currently.
Ryan: We should mention – and no further spoilers other than what should have happened on “Lost,” please – but what are we going to see on tomorrow night’s episodes?
Scott: Tomorrow night we have two episodes, one at 10 (Central) and one at 10:30 (Central). Kaley Cuoco from “The Big Bang Theory” is the guest on the first one, and then we’re doing our annual Halloween episode for the second one, and that’s Gillian Jacobs from “Community.” We have a theme this year: she’s dressed up as Pee-Wee Herman, and I’m dressed up as Ace Ventura, and Weird Al Yankovic is dressed up as Austin Powers. And the usual craziness happens with laughs galore.
Ryan: Do you realize if you get like one-tenth of one percent of “The Big Bang Theory” audience tuning in, you guys will be launched into the stratosphere?
Scott: Oh, yeah! I mean, that’s the only reason to have these guests on. We say, “Hey, can you bring along ANY of your fans?” And they always say no, but we keep trying.
Ryan: Scott, I saw you recently did an international podcast tour for Comedy Bang! Bang! Were you surprised at all by how overseas audiences really get what you do?
Scott: Yeah, because no one gets it here in the States, so it was a welcome change of pace. It was fun – we went to four different countries, including the U.S. We went to Australia, England and Canada. It’s pretty amazing that for this kind of dumb little show that I do we can have thousands of people come out in different countries – it really blows my mind.
Ryan: Do you get any sort of statistics on where people are listening to the podcast? Did you know that you would get a good response in those specific countries?
Scott: Yeah, mainly the statistics show that the biggest listenership is from inside my house, I noticed. But we get some – and I’d been hearing for years “Come out to Australia.” Little did I know that’s because they don’t have anything there and they’re just begging people to come out and see them. It’s so far away from everything. I knew there was demand, but certainly not this much demand.
Ryan: Well, as the parent of a 15-month-old, I know the only thing from Australia is The Wiggles, so I’m sure they just wanted something besides colorful kids musical characters.
Scott: That’s a weird way for you to brag about having sex once.
Ryan: Thank you! Now, Scott, as you’re heading into the final season – I know a huge goal of all the comedians we talk to is to get validation from one particular website. Was there ever any point where you specifically tailored a joke so they’d write about it on AV Club?
Scott: You know what? They’re back to writing about the show, I heard, so I’m very happy about that. They discontinued their reviews, and they’re back for writing about the 10 episodes. I don’t think that we ever did a joke about the AV Club. I mean, we’ve done jokes about the stupidest things that no one would even know what we’re talking about, but I can’t believe we never did one about the AV Club.
Ryan: Finally, Scott, since it says here you’re “quickly rising to the top as a creator, producer, host and writer in the world of comedy,” I’m assuming you have other projects going on. Is there anything else you’d like to plug?
Scott: It’s interesting, because that biography you’re reading was written about five years ago, and I still have not reached the top, so it can’t be that quick, can it? I do have a top-secret project that’s coming out in February, and I don’t know if it’s ever going to be announced or if it’s just going to show up and people are just going to look at it and say, “What is that? I have no idea what this is.” So I’m excited for people to see it at the beginning of February, that’s all I can say.
Ryan: Comedy! Bang! Bang! returns tomorrow night at 10 Central on IFC with your host and our guest, Scott Aukerman. Scott, it’s always a pleasure. Come back when you have something new you’d like to announce, and thanks for calling in today.
Scott: Ryan, I appreciate it. This is the last time we’ll ever speak.
It was a pleasure to talk to Tippi Hedren about her new memoir, “Tippi,” which is out on November 1st. A fascinating conversation with a Hollywood legend whose amazing life goes way beyond the cinema screen.Follow @bigwakeupcall
Jillian Michaels called in to talk about her new book on pregnancy, “Yeah Baby,” which is designed to clear up many of the myths about pregnancy-related health and fitness that are currently circulating in other publications.Follow @bigwakeupcall
It was a lot of fun catching up with comedian Larry Miller. We talked about his podcast, “The Larry Miller Show” and why he’s always on a television near you at any given point in time, and Larry also shared a funny story about trying to find a restroom while filming a movie at an all-girls elementary school.Follow @bigwakeupcall
Colin Geddes is the curator at the streaming service “Shudder,” which focuses exclusively on horror films. We discussed how they pick their films (horror movies — not terror movies) as well as some hidden gems to check out for Halloween.Follow @bigwakeupcall
Laurie Berkner is a legend in the world of children’s music. Her first album of all-new original material in 8 years is “Superhero.” We had a very fun conversation about her influence on a whole generation of young musicians, finding time to write while also owning her own record label, and sharing memories of classic ’70s kids television.Follow @bigwakeupcall
Last week we chatted with Chicago’s Jason Warrior, and this week it was a pleasure to welcome Jason’s colleague, the very talented Sa’Rayah. We discussed her feelings on losing the battle round but getting to move on after being stolen by Alicia (after also receiving a strong pitch from Blake), why she feels she was destined to be where she is at this space and time (after overcoming some unbelievable odds), and how she knows she has a duty in her position to represent Chicago in a positive way.Follow @bigwakeupcall
Bill McCormick joined us from the World News Center on a typically bright ‘n’ beautiful Friday to share the latest news on Supergirl, Teen Titans, Justice League and Star Wars without once frightening the you-know-what out of us.