Creative Minds: Scott Aukerman’s ‘Comedy Bang! Bang!’ takes a shot at TV

Scott Aukerman’s popular podcast, “Comedy Bang! Bang!,” has turned the traditional celebrity interview on its head, with zany musical numbers and improv-style games. Aukerman, who also wrote for the cult comedy show “Mr. Show With Bob and David” and co-created the Web series “Between Two Ferns With Zach Galifianakis,” talks about the future of comedy and the TV version of “Comedy Bang! Bang!,” premiering on IFC at 10 p.m. Friday.

“Comedy Bang! Bang!” is part of a new wave of podcasts-turned-TV shows, including Chris Hardwick’s “Nerdist” on BBC America and Marc Maron’s new show inspired by his “WTF” podcast, that’s been green-lit by IFC. Is this the future of comedy development?

I do think that podcasts are a great training ground for people to kind of figure out their voice. There’s no network or person saying, ‘Don’t say this, don’t do that.’ You can pretty much do them in your house ... so they’re a really great place for comedians to figure out what they want to do.

How will the TV version of “Comedy Bang! Bang!” differ from the podcast?


The sensibility is exactly the same.... We had to take a look at every element of what I do on the podcast and figure out how to do it — or if I could even do it — in a short-form environment. Some of the games we play, like ‘Would You Rather,’ last 25 minutes, which is more time than we have on the actual show. So I had to sort of figure out, ‘Can I play that in 21/2 minutes?’ It’s been an interesting process in figuring out how to simplify what we’re doing, while still making it hilarious and special.

Does “Comedy Bang! Bang!” take the traditional celebrity interview in a new direction?

When celebrities go on talk shows, usually they’re there for very specific reasons — to promote a film or TV show or comedy special that they’re in that week. We made a rule very early on that no one was going to promote anything on the show. And then we made a similar rule that no one was ever going to have a real conversation on the show or talk about anything based in reality. So the interviews are very, very comedy heavy, a lot like the work I do on “Between Two Ferns,” where the interviews are there just to be funny.

You’ve had huge guests on your podcast. Who can we expect to see on IFC?

Every single show has the most amount of really funny and really famous people that I could put into it. So the first episode has Zach Galifianakis, Tom Lennon, Will Forte, Gillian Jacobs from “Community”.... . And every episode is just a ton of funny people. So even though Seth Rogen may be the main guest, it’ll cut over to the side of the stage and Will Arnett and Topher Grace are there getting into an argument for 60 seconds.

You’ve had a number of unproduced pilots. Is it gratifying to finally get this on TV?

Ever since I got done with “Mr. Show,” it’s been a roller-coaster ride of things that get close to getting made or movies I’ve worked on that aren’t quite great that do get made. So for this opportunity to just come out of nowhere — and be something that I’m so proud of — it really is the most gratifying thing that I’ve done in my career.

— Deborah Vankin