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
Of all of our favorite guests on the show, Scott Aukerman might just be our favoritest. Scott called in to talk about the return of Comedy Bang! Bang! tonight on IFC at 10:30/9:30Central. It’s a new episode, new bandleader, and presumably new jokes. We also discussed whether or not the death of Michael Cera in season one is canonical (and how that might impact my Comedy Bang! Bang! fan fiction), why they didn’t do any practice shows or a week-long residency in the Catskills to break in the new bandleader, and how catchphrases are born.
Tune in at exactly 9:29:59 Central for an all new Comedy Bang! Bang! tonight on IFC.
In response to those who would rather read my interviews than have to hear me conduct them, we’re introducing a new feature today – Written Radio: The Official Transcripts of The Big Wakeup Call! Our debut segment features Scott Aukerman, host of Comedy Bang! Bang!, who called into the show a couple weeks ago. Read it with your own inflections and enjoy!
Scott Aukerman: The Big Wakeup Call Interview
Ryan Gatenby: It’s time for our next guest, and – wait a minute! I’ve heard of Scott Aukerman on Comedy Bang Bang, but Scott Aukerman on The Big Wakeup Call? Hi, Scott!
Scott Aukerman: What?? (Laughs) Hey, Ryan, how are you?
Ryan Gatenby: Good! Now, it’s been a while…since you’ve been on the show. How are you, Scott?
Scott Aukerman: (Laughs) You’re hitting all the catch phrases! I love it! Hello! It has been a while. IT’S BEEN about..
Ryan Gatenby: (Laughs) I appreciate you calling in today. I mean, I know now that your show is a ratings smash and you’re acknowledged as a comedy superstar, I’m sure the requests for interviews have got to be relentless and I would imagine oftentimes invasive.
Scott Aukerman: Well, you know, that’s pretty much all I do all day. I don’t have time to make the show any more, I just do interviews about the show. Which people are okay with. I mean, they would rather hear me do an interview and talk about something that I’m not doing rather than actually seeing it.
Ryan Gatenby: (Laughs) That seems much better.
Scott Aukerman: You know, I wake up at 6 a.m., and until about midnight or so I’m doing interviews.
Ryan Gatenby: Do you ever have to go on those “morning zoo”-type radio shows and they try to make you do “bits” with them? Because that’s the format – “hits” and “bits.”
Scott Aukerman: You know, I normally just go to regular zoos in the morning, and I try to do most of my interviews from there. I find that I’m a little more at peace when I’m petting a zebra. That’s actually where I am right now – I’m in front of the lemur cage, and – oh, look at those little guys! Hey, knock it off! They’re getting a little naughty, and I know your dump button isn’t working today, so I don’t want to say exactly what they’re doing, but it’s pretty informative. I’m gonna have to use some of these tricks back at home.
Ryan Gatenby: So Comedy Bang! Bang! is back on IFC Friday nights at 10, and you’ve got all new episodes, and it looks like to me, just from a casual, attentive home viewer, that you guys have a bigger budget for the episodes now. I mean, last week you were doing some huge and dangerous stunts.
Scott Aukerman: Well, that’s true, but let me correct you for one moment, Ryan, my dear boy. The show is on at 11, not at 10, but I think that you could tune in at 10 and watch the last hour of Pulp Fiction or that movie about the vagina with teeth – whatever IFC is showing. It’s always nice to catch the last hour and then catch my show. But, yeah, we have a slightly bigger budget. I think what it was is we were able to afford a special effects guy, so we’re able to put in CGI robots and stuff like that. It’s basically like watching the Star Wars Special Edition, you know. We’ll be doing an interview and then the camera will just pan over and you’ll see a CGI Jabba the Hut sitting there for no reason.
Ryan Gatenby: I should point out, Scott, that you are on at 10 here in the Central time zone, and that’s who you’re speaking to now.
Scott Aukerman: Oh no! Oh, listen to me, I’m acting a fool right now! Of course we’re on at 10. What is the deal with the Central time zone, by the way? Why does everyone in the Central time zone insist on getting their television an hour early?
Ryan Gatenby: I don’t know. I wish we would just align with one of the coasts – and I don’t know if that would start a war or anything, but I just want to watch TV! I don’t want to do math.
Scott Aukerman: I know! I mean, the fact that we always have to say “11, 10 Central” – first of all, you guys should be able to figure it out by now. You’ve lived there all your lives, everything is an hour earlier. But are you guys really going to bed an hour earlier? You guys in Chicago love to party, right?
Ryan Gatenby: Yeah, and we like to get the news an hour earlier. Then once we’re informed, we go out – after being filled with the news.
Scott Aukerman: But don’t you have to wake up an hour early to watch The Today Show?
Ryan Gatenby: I think that’s true.
Scott Aukerman: Yeah, that’s the ugly dark side of the Central time zone.
Ryan Gatenby: Scott, one recurring theme I’ve seen lately on Comedy Bang! Bang! is that you’re kind of hinting about your audience either consisting of hipsters or stoners or both. Now, I’m neither but I love the show. Does that make me weird? Are there jokes I should be enjoying on another level?
Scott Aukerman: (Laughs) Yes, if you were to just get high, there’s a whole secret layer of jokes that are there.
Ryan Gatenby: Oh, no!
Scott Aukerman: You have to unlock your mind to get them, so – you know, I really feel sorry for the people who are not high watching the show. They’re only getting about one joke every 10 seconds. There’s an extra bonus joke every 60 seconds if you’re high that you get.
Ryan Gatenby: Oh, my gosh! (Laughs)
Scott Aukerman: Yeah, it’s really a shame. So, you know, I would try it at least once. I know a lot of entertainers come out and say “don’t do drugs.” I’m here to say “do a drug once.”
Ryan Gatenby: When you’re shooting an episode – when you have a guest out there on the couch, how much time do you spend with each guest versus what we wind up seeing on the show? Because last week with Jack Black, it was suggested he was there for about 15 hours.
Scott Aukerman: Yeah, we shoot a lot of stuff for the show, so when we have Jack Black on – or this week we have Joel McHale, or we had Joseph Gordon-Levitt a couple weeks ago – for a 10 minute interview, we’ll usually shoot about half an hour or so, and just really experiment and use the best stuff out of that. And I think people who come to the couch feel reassured that not everything that they say is going to be used – we’re only going to use the best stuff. So it winds up being a more fast-paced show that way, too.
Ryan Gatenby: And then one of the things I really enjoy that goes along with that is you’ll have genuine moments – and I’m recalling last week where you had Paul F. Tompkins as J.W. Stillwater, your amateur vigilante fan boat operator, and there was genuine laughter – seriously, legitimately cracking up you and Jack Black, and on most shows there would be a tendency to want to edit that out and they’d literally frown upon that.
Scott Aukerman: Yeah, most shows try to edit out all the mistakes or edit out people breaking. I insist on not knowing what people are going to say, and that’s why we do so much of the show improv-style. I really want to have those genuine moments where I’m surprised or the guests are surprised, and we sprinkle those all throughout the show. Even though some of it is scripted, we try to mix it up so people never know if something is scripted or not, and I think you see more genuine moments in my fake talk show than you see in real talk shows.
Ryan Gatenby: And I would imagine at this point, as long as Comedy Bang! Bang! has been on the air, that the guests you’re getting are people who have seen the show and are fully buying into that.
Scott Aukerman: (Laughs) You’d think that, but –
Ryan Gatenby: (Laughs)
Scott Aukerman: (Laughs) I don’t know. I’m constantly surprised that people agree to come on the show and have no idea what it is until they get there. But people really like to play along, and it’s unlike any other talk show – they get to do sketches, they get to act while they’re in it, they interact with comedy characters, so I think people eventually believe and go “wow, I have no idea what that was, but I had such a good time doing it.” It’s really unlike any other show they’re ever going to be on.
Ryan Gatenby: Scott, I didn’t know if you were aware of this, but there is a guy on another late night show right now, and he’s pretty much ripping off Reggie Watts. Have you seen this?
Scott Aukerman: Man, that sounds familiar. Late night, you say? So, in the Central time zone, when would that be?
Ryan Gatenby: Medium night?
Scott Aukerman: (Laughs) Okay, medium night. So a medium night talk show. Hmmm – yeah, I’ve heard of this guy. You know, we have Reggie Watts on our show – he’s my bandleader – and he’s been stepping out every night, so he’ll sort of end the show early and he’ll leave somewhere, but I have no idea where he’s been going.
Ryan Gatenby: Well, I found it bizarre and troublesome, so I thought you should know.
Scott Aukerman: Okay, well, you know what, snitches get put in ditches, so you better think about that.
Ryan Gatenby: Oh, no! (Laughs) Hey, is that going to be a segment coming up – “Snitches or Ditches?” I’d love that.
Scott Aukerman: (Laughs) Yeah, I would love for you to be the first volunteer.
Ryan Gatenby: Finally, Scott, is there anything you’d like to plug?
Scott Aukerman: Wow, the plug bag is open! Well, of course, I do the Comedy Bang! Bang! TV show every Friday at 10 pm – not 11, Ryan, come on, man! I do the podcast once or twice a week, and that’s on the Earwolf network, and I think that’s about all that anyone really cares about me. Although I will say I did write a little five-page story in this week’s Deadpool comic book, issue 250, so go out and read that. Paul Scheer wrote one, and Jason Mantzoukas, and a bunch of comedy people, so pick that up.
Ryan Gatenby: Oh, excellent. And don’t miss new episodes of Comedy Bang! Bang! Friday nights at 11, 10 Central on IFC, with our guest, Stock Photoman. Well, Scott, thank you so much for calling in to The Big Wakeup Call today. I really appreciate it.
Scott Aukerman: Thanks, Ryan, I always love talking to you.
Thanks to our intern P.J. for transcribing this interview!
It’s been a while since we talked to Scott Aukerman, so we were glad to have him call in and talk about new episodes of Comedy Bang! Bang! After an initial bout of confusion over the air time of the show (one of these days we’ll end this “Central Time” nonsense once and for all), we had a great chat about morning zoos (vs. actual zoos), the perception of the show being for hipsters & stoners, and how this fake talk show has more genuine moments than most actual talk shows.
New episodes of Comedy Bang! Bang! starring Stock Photoman are on IFC at 11/10 Central.
John Gemberling stars as “Gil” on NBC’s “Marry Me.” We talked about his twist on the “best friend/wacky neighbor role,” how Gil discovers an underground world of exquisite and unique cheeses, and John’s role on Comedy Bang Bang as a very special kind of robot.Follow @bigwakeupcall
I’ve been a fan of Casey Wilson since she first appeared on Saturday Night Live. She now stars as Annie on NBC’s “Marry Me,” Tuesday nights at 8 Central. She talked about how she and co-star Ken Marino quickly developed their chemistry, why Tim Meadows makes the best TV dad, and when we’ll hear her sing on the show.Follow @bigwakeupcall
I will state with 100 percent absolute metaphysical certitude that Comedy Bang! Bang! is my favorite TV show right now, so I was delighted to have host Scott Aukerman back on the show and ask him all the questions I couldn’t get to during his last appearance. Scott was very funny (and very patient), and even gave us a ‘sclusie as to what we’ll see on a future episode!
Comedy Bang! Bang! returns to IFC will all-new episodes starting Tonight (October 17) at 10:00 Central. You heard me. Central.Follow @bigwakeupcall
Either we woke Reggie up, or he’s so brilliant he did the whole interview in character as a guy who just woke up.Follow @bigwakeupcall