It’s The Big Wakeup Call’s 2018 End-of-the-Year Show, celebrating yet another year of how we inexplicably continue to be allowed to do this show. Ryan invited many of his favorite guests to call in, and those who actually returned his call were Scott Aukerman, Ben Gleib, Dylan Brody, Heather Cocks & Jessica Morgan, and Bill McCormick!
This episode is brought to you by Diphenhydramine Hydrochloride. Diphenhydramine, just as potent as ammonium sulfonate, only with a little more salicylic acid.
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Comedy Bang! Bang!’s Scott Aukerman joined our prestigious 10-Timers Club when he called in as a special guest for our 8th Anniversary and 1800th show. After giving us the heartiest of congratulations, Scott talked about the history of Comedy Bang! Bang! and gave us an exclusive look at the making of an episode! Highlights of the interview are below, followed by the full audio of our chat.
Ryan Gatenby: I’m so happy my next guest could join us for The Big Wakeup Call’s 8th Anniversary and 1800th show. He’s making his 10th appearance, which means he’s now been a part of .56 percent of all of our shows. Host of Comedy Bang! Bang! and other podcasts, it’s Scott Aukerman. Hi, Scott!
Scott Aukerman: Hi, Ryan. So glad I could be on less than one percent of your shows.
Ryan: Scott, how many podcasts do you have now? You’ve got Comedy Bang! Bang!, there’s one about R.E.M., you’ve got one about three-ways…
Scott: I mean, they’re all about three-ways when you really think about it. Yeah, I have three podcasts coming out a week, but I think some of them are going to end, but Comedy Bang! Bang! is the main one, yeah.
Ryan: Is it hard to come up with crowd-pleasing catch phrases for multiple podcasts, then?
Scott: It really is. I mean, I think the catch phrase we have for the R.E.M. is “This is good, uh, rock and roll music.” I mean, that’s craftsmanship right there. That takes a while to figure out how to get the entire world saying that. But yeah, basically I go into every show trying to figure out what would look good on a t-shirt, and I just try to execute after that.
Ryan: Scott, we are beginning our 9th year of The Big Wakeup Call; you are now in year 10 of Comedy Bang! Bang! ?
Scott: Yeah, it’s not the 10th anniversary, technically, but after the 9th anniversary you go into year 10, so I guess you’re right.
Ryan: You started that off — you were doing that on the radio.
Scott: I did, much like yourself — assuming this is a radio show — I was on Indie 103.1 for a year, and then I just decided to put it out myself.
Ryan: Were you like a regular radio show? Were you taking requests and giving away tickets to caller number 9?
Scott: Well, usually it was caller number 8, but everything else was pretty spot on. We were doing traffic on the 1’s. It was a pretty standard format. In fact, if you listen to the archives, the first year of Comedy Bang! Bang! is basically just a drive-time radio show.
Ryan: Oh, I can’t. I don’t have a premium subscription to Stitcher.
Scott: Oh, that’s far too bad, and I have so many free ones I’m willing to give away. Unfortunately, I don’t have those codes in front of me currently.
Ryan: Does it help you directly if I get a new website or buy stamps or try on some glasses or order a mattress?
Scott: It really does. I think doing all of them at the same time as well as maybe eating some Hello Fresh — I think all of that at the same time on the same day, my show would be incredibly profitable. So yeah, any of those things. They don’t even have to be from one of my sponsors. Just doing those things — wearing glasses. Anyone who wears glasses helps the show out.
Ryan: Scott, over the past decade, there have been some very successful, critically acclaimed podcasts that have run out of steam after a few dozen episodes. Is it through sheer force of will or just a drive to succeed that you’ve been able to keep going for so long?
Scott: Are you talking about Serial running out of steam? Is that what you’re trying to say?
Scott: That’s very backhanded of you. I don’t know. I want to keep doing it as long as I keep having fun doing it, and I am having fun doing it, so I’m going to keep doing it.
Ryan: Scott, how long does it take you to produce an episode of Comedy Bang! Bang! ? From booking your guests, you have to arrange their flights and hotel accommodations, and you’ve got to get them their per diems. Then you’re writing, rehearsing, dress rehearsing, giving notes, recording, editing — it sounds like a very complicated process.
Scott: Well, a typical episode is about 80 minutes, and we try to record it in 40. We talk twice as fast, and then we slow it down for the actual podcast. So, yeah, in addition to everything that you’re talking about, it’s probably a 6 month process beginning to end.
Ryan: Scott, it is always a pleasure to have you on The Big Wakeup Call, and thanks for calling in today.
Scott: Ryan, congratulations on 8 years. May there be another couple of months of this thing. Whatever you can squeeze out of it.
Music legend Michael Bolton called in to talk about a special documentary film, Michael Bolton Presents American Dream: Detroit, which will be in theatres for one night only on Tuesday, May 15 from Fathom Events. We discussed his love of the Motown sound, why other great music coming from Detroit should not be overlooked, and the cultural importance of a city on the rebound. Plus: a special shoutout to a member of The Big Wakeup Call’s 9-timers club, Scott Aukerman!
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.
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.
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.
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.