On The Big Wakeup Call’s End-of-the-Year Spectacular Cavalcade of Giggles Plugfest 2017, I chat with some of my favorite guests and close, personal friends who wouldn’t dream of taking such a tender occasion to plug their projects. First to call in was my very good pal Scott Aukerman, marking his 9th appearance on the show. We discussed secret identities, a name change for Comedy Bang Bang, Scott talking less about himself on the show, looking back on 2017 and ahead to 2018, and exactly how much money Scott made on 2017. Maybe it’s just me, but for me, this was a fun interview.Follow @bigwakeupcall
Scott Aukerman made his record-shattering 8th appearance on our Show, this time talking about “Michael Bolton’s Big Sexy Valentine’s Day Special,” which he co-directed and co-executive produced and is out now on Netflix. We discussed the origin of the special, why Comedy Bang! Bang’s signature mix of comedy, love and music made for a perfect match with Michael Bolton, and why this special could and should be a significant part of a romantic weekend. Plus: favorite lines from Comedy Bang! Bang!, filming in Australia on Christmas Day, and a medical explanation of male excitement.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.
Scott Aukerman remains our #1 favorite guest of all of our all-time favorite guests, and we had a fun chat about Season 5 of Comedy Bang! Bang!, which premieres with back-to-back episodes tonight at 11/10c on IFC. Scott discussed what we’ll see tonight (and on every subsequent episode this season — the interview got rather lengthy), shared some memories of the CBB Podcast World Tour (traveling together on individual Partridge Family buses), and opened up about his working relationship with his new bandleader Weird Al Yankovic (Scott may or may not have said that Al is “an inveterate liar” who “can’t tell the truth”). Listen for the shocking details!
It’s no secret we’re huge fans of Comedy Bang! Bang! here at The Big Wakeup Call, as evidenced by Scott Aukerman making his 5th appearance on our program. We chatted with Scott about what we’ll see on tomorrow night’s season 4 finale with Josh Groban (11/10c on IFC), last week’s surprise return of original bandleader Reggie Watts, and whether we may see a Comedy Bang! Bang! soundtrack album.Follow @bigwakeupcall
We always have a good time when Joe Lo Truglio calls in. Joe is currently starring as Detective Boyle on Fox’s “Brooklyn Nine-Nine.” We talked about an upcoming big, huge celebrity guest star, shared some love for the Cubs, and reminisced about the VCR days, which led us to talking about the great Wet Hot American Summer series on Netflix.
Catch a new episode of “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” Sunday night at 7:30 on Fox 32-Chicago.Follow @bigwakeupcall
Paul F. Tompkins is one of the best stand-up comics working today, and also an amazing improv performer, especially the characters he plays on Comedy Bang! Bang! (Dame Sir Lord ALW, J.W. Stillwater, Cake Boss and more). His new hour-long stand-up special “Paul F. Tompkins: Crying and Driving” airs this Saturday night at 11/10c on Comedy Central. We discussed how the worlds of stand-up and improv should ideally intersect, the importance of honesty in comedy for both performer and audience member, and of course what kind of a show we’ll see on Saturday night.Follow @bigwakeupcall
In the newest installment of “Written Radio: Official Big Wakeup Call Transcripts,” we feature our interview with Scott Aukerman, host of Comedy Bang! Bang! Scott called in to talk about new episodes, a new bandleader, and potentially new jokes. It’s radio in convenient printed form!
The Big Wakeup Call Interview: Scott Aukerman
Ryan Gatenby: It’s time for our next guest. He is the host of Comedy Bang! Bang!, which is back on IFC with all new episodes Thursday nights at 10:30/9:30 central. It’s Scott Aukerman. Hi, Scott!
Scott Aukerman: Hi, Ryan! Hello, listeners!
RG: Scott, we are so happy to have you back on the show. Of all of our favorite guests, we believe you are the favoritest.
SA: Really? So, of all the favorite guests – which is a separate subset just from guests, I am the favoritest of those guests. That’s amazing!
RG: Did you receive the engraved plaque that we sent over to commemorate that status?
SA: I did not, and I truly, truly believe with all my heart that you are lying right now.
SA: And, you know, I don’t want to blow up your spot or anything, but you are a proven liar.
RG: Before we get too far into this, Scott, I saw that you recently did one of those “Ask Me Anything” sessions online.
SA: Sure, why wouldn’t I?
RG: Were there any questions that were left out, or did you pretty much cover everything? Is this interview that we’re doing right now just superfluous?
SA: Yeah, this is just moot. Anyone who is interested in any aspect of my life – I covered it all; pretty much from the moment I was born until I die. I covered all of that information, so just head on over there. Turn off your radios right now – or better yet, just throw your radios against the wall or into a bathtub if you’re sitting in it. Just head on over to “computer.com” and you can find it anywhere on that.
RG: So the floor is no longer open for questions?
SA: It is not, I’m so sorry – but you know what? I’ll allow it. You can ask me anything you like.
RG: Oh, thanks! So Comedy Bang! Bang! is back on IFC Thursdays at 9:30 Central.
SA: Yes, you are in the Central time zone, so it is on at 9:30 after this show called “Maron.”
RG: I’m not familiar with that one.
SA: Yeah, I don’t what it is, either. I wouldn’t even dare turn on my television at 9 to watch that thing. I would wait until 9:29:59 and then hurriedly turn on your TV.
RG: So you’ve got new episodes, you have a brand new bandleader, and I’m going to assume you have new jokes?
SA: (Laughs) No, that’s the only thing we didn’t change. We have the exact same jokes. We did 70 episodes with Reggie Watts as the bandleader, and so we’re just recycling through all of those. We’ll do 70 more with Kid Cudi – “re-enactments” is what we call them.
RG: Well, you could have gone back to the original episodes and just edited him in.
SA: Oh my God! Where were you? Why did I have to re-shoot all that stuff? I’ve wasted my life!
RG: To break in Kid Cudi, your new bandleader, did you book any secret gigs or do practice shows, or maybe book a residency up in the Catskills so you could get your timing down?
SA: It’s interesting, because a lot of shows do that. They do practice shows and all that kind of stuff, and we didn’t. We just kind of threw him into it, and, weirdly, his very first scene that he shot with us is this episode coming down the line where he has to speak French. And, you know, he doesn’t speak French! It was such a weird scene for him to start where he gets into an argument with a hockey player and starts speaking French.
But what’s cool about him is that he really wants to do weird comedy, and so he just kind of like dove in headfirst. It took him a while to get acclimated, I think, but people are going to see the shows and really be happy with what he’s doing.
RG: You’ve got Michael Cera on the show this season, but he was killed on season one. Is that season one episode not part of the official Comedy Bang! Bang! canon?
SA: Well, that’s an interesting question. In the official Comedy Bang! Bang! canonical universe, the timeline is very odd – people die all the time, and then you see them again. We are going to address this at a certain point, but Michael Cera is dead, and he is on the show again, yes.
RG: Okay, because I just needed to know how to handle this so when I write my Comedy Bang! Bang! fan fiction I make sure I have everything in order.
SA: Oh, what type of fan fiction? Do you write the romantic fan fiction where, you know, Cudi and I look across the room at each other longingly and then we fall into each other’s arms, or is it like space opera fan fiction? What type do you do?
RG: It’s usually just you and I and the whole cast –
SA: Oh, you’re involved! (Laughs.)
RG: I’m involved. I always take you guys on an eating tour of Chicago neighborhoods.
SA: (Laughs) Okay. So what’s the best neighborhood, would you say, in Chicago to go eat?
RG: Right now the hottest neighborhood would be Ravenswood. You’ve got your deep- dish pizza, your Chicago-style hot dogs, and then like hot dogs baked into the pizza crust.
SA: Is that where Pizza Hut got it? Doesn’t Pizza Hut have some sort of new hot dog crust?
RG: Well, Chicago invented the deep-dish pizza, and then Pizza Hut came out with their own, and then, yeah, they took that idea from a pizzeria in Chicago.
SA: Really? Does it taste good?
RG: No, it’s disgusting.
SA: Okay, thank you (laughs).
RG: What is the timeline, Scott, from when you first write a show to when it finally airs? Like the episode tonight – how long has this been in the works?
SA: This particular episode, I would say we started writing it back in – wow, this is a really tough question for me – I think we started writing it back in November, maybe? October or November, somewhere around then – and then we shot probably in February, and now you guys get to see it.
RG: Is it difficult to talk about a specific show – like tonight, it will be brand new to us, but you’ve been finished with it for a while now. Do you have to re-watch these and kind of catch up?
SA: I re-watch them every single morning – every single episode we’ve ever done. I just want to be prepared if anyone ever asks me a question about it.
SA: We’ve done – tonight is our 71st episode, so it takes me about 35 hours to do it, but I do it every single day. It takes up most of the day, I would say.
RG: I’ve got my DVR set to record Comedy Bang! Bang! tonight –
SA: Oh, thank goodness!
RG: Even though I watch it live – and by the way, if you DVR it, you should watch it within three days, am I correct?
SA: That’s what they say. They say it helps with the ratings if you watch it within three days. I don’t know how any of that works, but I would appreciate it people watched it live or within three days, yes.
RG: I just wanted to make sure it was all set to go, and I have AT&T U-verse, and they have the weirdest description of your show — have you heard it?
SA: (Laughs) No! What is it?
RG: I have it here: “Host Scott Aukerman and comic Reggie Watts” – so right there, it’s outdated.
SA: Yeah, that’s incorrect now.
RG: “…join several famous celebrities as they partake in funny events, including fake interviews and musical performances.”
SA: “Fake interviews!” I mean, I’ll give them “funny events,” but “fake interviews?”
RG: What are they suggesting, that you’re not actually interviewing your guests?
SA: You know, what they’re probably talking about is we actually film the interviews with me and the celebrity back-to-back, and we’re not looking at each other, and then we flip the image so that it looks like we’re looking at each other, but we’re not actually talking to each other.
RG: (Laughs) Oh, okay.
SA: That’s probably what they’re talking about, if I had to guess – if I had to hazard a guess or offer a guesstimate, that’s probably what they’re talking about.
RG: One of the things I saw on the “Ask Me Anything” was the Internet community buzzing over one of your latest catch phrases, “heynongman!”
SA: “Heynongman!” Yeah, if you watch the TV show, you will not see “heynongman,” but if you listen to the Comedy Bang! Bang! podcast, you will hear it quite often (laughs).
RG: Was that really born out of happenstance, or did you have that phrase and you guys were looking for a way to drop that in?
SA: Yeah, I’m a master manipulator. For people who want to know what “heynongman” is, I was talking to celebrity Jason Mantzoukas, and he said, “hang on, man,” and I thought he said “heynongman,” and then that became something we said over and over and over. But, yeah, it was something I thought of – similarly, back in November, and I’d been looking for an opportunity and just looking for one person to say “hang on, man,” and then no one over said it. So Jason and I planned it out and we did a rehearsal show. We put it up at the UCB Theatre in L.A. and we rehearsed it, and then did it for a small crowd just to see how it would go over.
SA: They went wild for it, so we just said “okay, let’s get in the studio as soon as we can,” and eight months later we had time, and there it is. It’s just an amazing success story.
RG: Brand new episodes of Comedy Bang! Bang! are on Thursday nights at 9:30 Central on IFC – don’t tune in a minute earlier –
SA: Please don’t. You’ll be shocked and horrified by what you see if you do.
RG: And of course, hosted by Scott Aukerman, our favoritest guest of all the favorite guests.
SA: Of all the favorite guests. But again, am I the favoritest of all guests, or just the favoritest of the favorite guests?
RG: Well, if we create a Venn diagram, then you would be right in the center, overlapping all as the favoritest guest of all time.
SA: Wow, Ryan, I appreciate that so much. It’s truly an honor. It truly, truly is.
RG: Well, it’s an honor for us to have you call in, Scott. Thank you so much.
SA: Thanks. All right, goodbye everyone in the world. You will never hear from me again.
You know the amazingly talented Lauren Lapkus from “Oranges: The New Black.” She’s currently on cinema screens in “Jurassic World” and is also starring in TBS’s new hit comedy “Clipped,” which airs Tuesday nights at 10/9C. In addition, she’s one of the funniest podcast performers ever. We talked about her improv background in Chicago, how she develops her characters, and what we’ll see on Tuesday’s new episode of “Clipped.” We also discuss a phrase she created with one of her characters on Comedy Bang! Bang! that almost got me fired when I quoted it (something involving Whitney Peeps and a “bloppy jay”). We’re good, though. Lauren is the literal definition of “very funny.”Follow @bigwakeupcall