Scott Aukerman is an Emmy Award-winning American writer, actor, comedian, television personality, director, producer, and podcast host. In the mid-1990s, Aukerman was a writer and performer on Mr. Show with Bob and David. He currently hosts the weekly comedy podcast Comedy Bang Bang as well as the IFC original television series Comedy Bang! Bang!. Aukerman is also the co-creator of Between Two Ferns with Zach Galifianakis & co-founder of the Earwolf podcast network.
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Okay, guys - I have to leave now, but thank you so much for asking so many great questions. Remember to watch Comedy Bang! Bang! on Fridays on IFC at 11pm, starting January 9.
What's up hotdog?
I was a the show in Boston in 2013 (maybe 2014) on a Sunday, I was pretty close to the front and was laughing my ass off at the top of the show. You made a comment about how I was having a good time... Rather then heckle, I figured I'd wait till you did an AMA on reddit 2 years later and let you know, yes I was having a good time.
why, thank you! what a polite young person you are.
Scotterick, my dear boy! What aspect of your current life would impress an 8-year-old Scott Aukerman the most?
Having sex with girls, I think?
Hi Scott. Since the Star Wars films are set "a long time ago" (in a galaxy far far away), wouldn't it be reasonable to assume that Chewbacca was now dead, regardless of the non-canonical nature of the novels?
yes, but how long do Wookies live?
Can you go in to the extenuating circumstances you’ve mentioned that occurred in the 2nd half of Season 3 of CBB?
Each season has had its difficulties in producing them - and let me just say that I am really proud of the episodes in the second half of season three. I think they're super funny. There is a story to why I think they're a little inconsistent in production:
For season two, we wrote all 20 episodes before we started shooting, and we shot them all out of sequence. I think the christmas episode with Zach was one of the first ones we shot, and I know the Halloween ep with Pee-wee was in our second week. So we really got to figure out an order after the fact that made sense.
For season three, we had an earlier premiere date, but we started at the same time. So, even though we still wrote everything before we started shooting, what I didn't know was that the first ten episodes we turned in (and the first ten we shot) had to be the first ten that aired. The network told us that after we shot them. Those ten were huge episodes - and ones I would have spaced out a bit, because in most of them we're doing big, big ideas.
Secondly, after we shot these huge episodes, the production company came to me and told me we were wildly over budget, and had to cut stuff out of the second ten eps. So, not only were the second ten episodes slightly less ambitious, we had to cut even MORE out of them.
I pushed back, and we were able to keep some great stuff, like the time travel episode and the Xmas ep, but I do think the back half of the season suffers a bit from being less ambitious in scope compared to the front half. I would have liked to have mixed them up a bit more, like a mix CD, and have there be more variety.
First of all I wanted to say that the trajectory of my life has genuinely been altered by CBB. I started listening to the podcast 3 years ago and it had a profound impact on my sense of humor, and inspired me to pursue comedy. So I will be forever grateful for that. Thanks!
Question: You mention on the podcast that you get tired of your own humor sometimes. Is that for real or are you just just being self-deprecating? If so, are you trying to change things up?
aw, that's so nice! I think everyone gets tired of who they are, or their own brains sometimes. I think the important thing is to keep pushing through into unexplored territories - new ways to express ideas or new jokes. that's when I feel really good- hitting on something new.
Hey Scott. I, for one, was quite pleased with the inclusion of the Solo-bolo in 2014’s Best-Of, and frankly, I was appalled to learn that some didn’t appreciate it. That said, what type of microphones do you use for your podcasts? Condensers? Lavs? Headsets?
there are pictures of them in each of the episodes!
Hey Scott, thanks for putting out a consistently amazing podcast and TV show. Now that Comedy Bang! Bang! is about to enter it’s fourth season, when can we expect the U Talkin’ U2 To Me? TV show?
Also, I feel like I saw somewhere that you are a comic book fan. What are you currently reading?
Someone at HBO told me they were a UTU2TM fan, so I told Adam we should do a TV show there. He said it would be like "Tell Me You Love Me," but with more fucking.
I am currently reading almost everything I can - loving Spider-Man and Silver Surfer by Slott; bummed Fables is coming to an end; stuff by Jason Aaron is great, just read Ant-Man by Nick Spencer right before this started, and it really had that Superior Foes of Spider-Man feel. Currently re-reading Hickman's FF, which is so complex and well-thought-out, it frightens me from ever attempting something similar.
Do you think every movie sequel should have the number of characters indicated in the title? Like should Shrek 2 have two Shreks in it?
this is a great rule!!! Seven wars in the stars!
Hey bro. Do you think the 2015 tour ep of UTU2TM will be the "finale" until U2 releases another record? If so please tell me there are other Adam Scott Aukerman projects in the works!
we're definitely doing a live ep from SF Sketchfest, and after that, who knows? Getting Adam to actually even write back to texts or emails can be difficult!
Have you and PFT always been this funny when you're together?! Or has it just been the years of practice? He's the most frequent guest on the podcast, but your back and forth never fails to be fantastic even the hundredth time around. Together you could conquer the world.
i think we are "on" on the show. it can be exhausting to be like that 100 percent of the time. We usually take it down a notch or two in private.
Will Traci Reardon ever be on the TV show?
I doubt it!
Hi Mr. Aukerman,
When I went through a new podcast phase,I listened to your podcast for about a week straight, but I didn’t get it. I did not understand what was happening, I thought Bobby Bottle Service was real, and a douche, and I thought it was just a fucked up radio show. It was not until I saw the TV show that I understood (sort of). I guess I’m an idiot. I spent a great deal of a car ride once wondering why someone would hire that guy to come to their party, and if I should be hiring people to come to my parties.
Anyway, I’m pretty dumb. That has nothing to do with my question.
How did you get connected with Reggie? I can’t imagine the show without him. He’s like… a fluffy angel. (But you'll be ok)
haha, thank you - this is why, on our recent best of episodes, PFT and I decided to draw back the curtain a bit - so many people listen to those for the first time, I want to make sure people know what's going on.
Reggie and I hung out a bit at various comedy festivals. Then he did the podcast a few times, and did both theme songs. So when we were thinking of what to do, music-wise, for the show, he seemed a natural fit!
How did you decide to break from canon in the 2014 best-ofs and openly discuss comedians playing characters?
It made me deeply uncomfortable, personally... When I first started listening to CBB, I just thought the real Werner Herzog was hilarious for like two months, and I feel like others should have to suffer through feeling just as dumb.
Edit - Just in case you actually get around to answering this (since I see that you are super active!), thanks a ton for all the glee you bring me every week through the podcast. It's one of my favorite pieces of entertainment across any medium, and I can't imagine trading it for anything.
sort of answered above, but PFT and i discussed, and i really wanted the show not to be so impenetrable, you know? Like, this is the first time people are listening, so why can't I show them the difficulty involved in putting together this show, so they can appreciate it? It's like how Bernie Brillstein advised bob and david to come out as themselves at the top of Mr. Show - then people could appreciate how they were doing all the characters.
May I have your blessing (and if I may be so bold - your support) in selling these Technicality No Down Boo Over shirts/hoodies, on the condition I donate the profits to Earwolf and/or a charity of your choosing? I have no desire to profit off your work, I (and many others I’ve seen on the r/Earwolf sub) just really wanted the shirt! I created it yesterday, and as of typing this question I’ve already sold 4!
In a perfect world I would love to keep making other simple items based off other classic quotes.. Id proudly wear a “Zouk’s Dooks” shirt.
Thanks for the AMA and especially for endless hours of entertainment, it means a lot!
i want to have you send these to earwolf to maybe sell in the store! Contact them about it?
In a fight between Werner Herzog and H.R. Giger, who wouldn't lose?
Two questions if you'd so oblige me
1) Did it surprise you no Jon Gabrus clips/episodes make the top 15? He is hilarious. Please continue to have him intern. (This is not Jon Gabrus)
2) Whenever something goes wrong with the podcast I think "fucking Cody" and I wonder if it's similar to the scenario where you can make fun of your own family, but when someone else does it's irksome. Do you care? Does he?
yes, i think gabrus was criminally underlooked for the best of. I do not care when something goes wrong on the show - it gives us something to talk about. I act annoyed, as that takes up time. but cody and i have talked about it - if i were actually annoyed about something, i would take it off-air.
What's up Hotdog? Maybe it's just me, but for me, it seems difficult to break into the world of comedy. What advice do you have for an aspiring writer/comedian?
P.S. Thanks to you, I sort of like Phish now and I'm still not sure how to feel about it.
move to a city where you can do it all the time, then do it all the time!
sorry 'bout Phish
You forgot to fucking ask if PFT's favorite ep. made the CBB top 15, what was it Scott?!!??!?
Can we expect a reprise of the Pie Minister on the CBB podcast?
yes! But i am never quite sure what PFT is going to bring on any given day.
Hey Scott, huge fan. I have a few quick questions for ya
Can we expect to see any CBB pod regulars come back soon that haven’t been on in a while such as Mulaney, Pally, Tig, Silverman, Hiedecker and Richter?
Can we expect to see any new upcoming Earwolf shows soon besides The Hooray Show?
Anyways, thanks for all you do
Mulaney is coming up soon; Tig would be great if I can get her; Silverman usually comes back when she has something to promote; Heidecker just ran out of time to do it last year; and yeah, I should get Richter back soon!
We're always looking for new Earwolf shows, but we also don't like to talk about them until they're ready to come out. So keep your eyes peeled in '15!
Is there a character from the podcast you are dying to port to the TV show that seems unlikely to happen due to subject matter and/or the physicality of the character? Like Wompler or Victor & Tiny
one of those is on this year.
Hi Scott, you're one of my favorite humans. Will you be a guest host on Lauren Lapkus' new podcast? I'd really like it if Dabney interviewed one of her characters.
would like to, but i'm sure she gets enough of me on CBB!
Quick Hopefully Easy Q - Is there any chance Dan Van Kirk might end up on the Comedy Bang Bang Podcast as Mark Wahlberg? Sorta been wondering for a while (for a whileeee) now why he hasn't shown up yet, especially since The Wahlberg Solution shows are on Earwolf. Wondering if it's that he's a Sklarbro/DLM character and you sorta don't want to take that away from them, maybe having someone do an impression of THAT big a celeb would be a bit much for a whole CBB, or just scheduling/lack of desire/"f that guy" :P
you know, i was thinking about this - it's kind of a thing where i don't like to "steal" characters from other shows. If something was developed elsewhere, for whatever reason, I feel weird about doing it on my show - I wouldn't want it to seem like I "own" it or something. Maybe because CBB has a bigger listenership, I am worried about the show it was developed on feeling slighted or something. I kind of was very apologetic when I asked Matt Gourley if he wanted to do HR Giger on CBB. You know, that's a Superego thing, right? But I realize most performers don't give a shit, and just want to do their stuff wherever they can. I like DVK, and would like to see if he would want to do something new though!
What do you want to do after you finish with the TV show? Do you want to branch out into other things or just continue doing similar stuff to what you're doing now? Also, I've been a huge fan of the podcast since the beginning, so I hope you continue breaking off hundos no matter what you do.
I would like to direct a film some day. I have had a book deal for several years that I would like to complete, should I ever get enough time. Hopefully some of the TV shows I'm currently producing will get made. Thank you for breaking off so many hundos!
As an Earwolf / CBB fan from the UK, are there any plans to tour the show beyond the US? (Soho Theatre or Leicester Square Theatre in London are both great venues for CBB!)
Also: will there be a Comedy Bang Bang / Fernwood 2 Night crossover?
Follow Up to the Also: is the character of 'Dabney' a nod to Dabney Coleman?
Thanks, and all the best!
I would like to go to the UK, was thinking about asking my agent if there would be any interest. would there be?
I tried to do a Fernwood 2 Night crossover... Norman Lear was shown CBB and he really liked it. We cooked up a really cool crossover, which turned out to be the Fred Armisen episode in Season three. The "TV at Night Show" (a Tonight Show analogue) was originally going to be "The Tonight Show," which we would then reveal was the Fernwood 2 Night show, still hosted by Martin Mull and Fred Willard all these years later (Mr. Lear's idea). I also wanted to film, as a web video, a new episode of the Fernwood 2 Night show, and got IFC to agree to finance it. For various reasons, the timing didn't work out, which I was bummed about (even though I think that episode turned out really great).
Dabney probably is a nod to Coleman? Not sure!
In the pictures of Earwolf recordings that are posted with each episode I never see any alcohol. Is there a policy about no drinking? Do comedians ever complain about having to perform sober?
Nope, no policy. I just don't know a lot of people who bring beer to drink outside of their homes at noon, i guess? That said, the one coming out tomorrow was taped the morning after a big Earwolf party, and there was a lot of loose alcohol around, so the guests partook.
Hey Scott! Thanks for doing yet another AMA. Congratulations on your success with the podcast and TV show, I just finished season 3 not too long ago and it was fantastic, I'm looking forward to the long 4th season.
My question is this: ~~Bro, how you weigh?~~ I know you have friends and comedians who listen to your podcast(s). Much like Paul F Tompkins or Jason Mantzoukas have mentioned they listen to CBB, but I know several others do too. Anyway I'm just curious since you have such a busy schedule if you have time to listen to any podcasts yourself? If so, what are your favorites?
A side question that I'm not sure if you can or want to answer but I have to ask... on the podcast Hollywood Handbook from Earwolf Hayes Davenport and Sean Clemmons have mentioned several times they're the least listened to podcast on the network, but since they play such exaggerated characters on the show and never break character I don't ever know whether or not to be worried if one of my favorite podcasts will stop, or if they're simply joking. Is Hollywood Handbook really the least listened to? or does as poorly as they jokingly say on there?
Words can not express how excited I am for your Bro-down Ho-down with Jason Mantzoukas, and again congratulations on your success and I look forward to your work in the future!
Thank you! I wish I got to listen to more podcasts, but sadly between recording my own and doing 40 episodes of this goddamm tv show, I haven't been able to do much more than sample. Heard a little of Lauren Lapkus's and gave some notes (aw, who am I kidding - one note).
Hollywood Handbook may be the least-listened to podcast on the network, but it has the most fan support, I think of any show we have. The cool thing about Earwolf is we don't really care that much about actual numbers, if the hosts are cool and the fans really like something.
Scott! Super excited for season 4 of Comedy Bing Bong! What’s the deal with Reggie? Is this his last season as your band leader? If so, will he be involved with your show in any other capacity? You can answer off mic, if you’d like.
he will be on season four until he leaves, about mid-way through the year!
It’s been a while since I’ve been this excited about an AMA. I’m a huge fan of Comedy Bang Bang (podcast and TV series), UTU2TM, and Mr. Show. You’re one of my ATFC’s (all time favorite comedians). One of my New Years Resolutions is to stop being a baby and finally sign up for classes at iO or Second City, and a lot of that honestly has to do with Earwolf.
I read recently that you are a big fan of the $100,000 Pyramid. I used to watch reruns of that on GSN all the time, it’s great. Have you ever considered doing a live Pyramid-type show kind of like Jimmy Pardo used to do with Match Game? Maybe you could pair up comedians with random audience members. I would totally go to that (if I lived in LA).
if you are a fan of the Pyramid, please listen to Never Not Funny tomorrow. As I say on there, I could do that for hours and hours. No plans to do any live version.
And good luck with classes! The sooner you start, the sooner you'll be good at it!
Hey Scott, I've noticed any time a calculation or number related thing is brought up on the podcast you actually do the math there in your head or at the very least pull out a calculator. You seem to be one of the few people who doesn't run away from math, what's up with that?
Also when will you do a solo bolo on You Made it Weird with Pete Holmes?!
i don't know, i'm good at math. i've been told that musicians are good at math, and i've always loved music.
What's the most inappropriate time you have used a CBB in-joke in a non-CBB environment?
I find it really difficult to resist my urge to do the "It's been a while" and "It's been" responses in random conversations. I have yet to hear anybody say "Cake Boss" since I started listening to CBB but I'm pretty sure I'll be completely unable to stay silent.
this is a good question, but since i work for myself, it's hard to think of an example! If i do, I'll come back tho.
Thank you for all of the hours of free entertainment and the laughs on my otherwise awful commute.
Something you said stuck with me because it was very sweet of you; on the recent best of countdown about letting PFT know that you enjoyed his work because it’s important to share that with people instead of assuming that the artist knows their work is being watched and appreciated. Paraphrasing here but I thought that was true- ATTABOY!
Can you share a time when you received a message from someone about your work that meant a lot to you?
Also I love the way you seem to sing through any song until you’ve exhausted your memory of the lyrics or melody – and even then sometimes still keep it going… please never stop. "Contact/ It’s the reason/for the season/ Were you there when they crucified Je-sus?" – I nearly drove off the road in pure elation [:
thank you! I have had a few people reach out and say they are enjoying stuff - a few i can remember:
Reuben Fleischer reached out out of the blue to tell me how he listened to a recent episode and was struck by how much I've grown and how it's turned into something really unique. I thought that was such a sweet thing to say.
Alex Reid sent me an email the other day about the time travel episode and how blown away he was by it. That was super cool.
Eric Andre emailed to tell me about how much he liked his episode. most guests don't do that - i can't even tell if any of them have watched it or not. So that was cool to hear.
There are others, but it has struck me recently that we should be more supportive of the things we like. That's why I'm constantly writing to artists i don't know on twitter and telling them i enjoyed something they did. They probably don't care it's from me, but it's just nice to hear someone is out there appreciating it.
CBB helped me get through my recovery from a psychotic episode last year, when I was very withdrawn and unsure of myself socially. The podcast gave me people to hang out with, though the Golly episodes may not have helped my grasp on reality. So, tossup. Two questions:
Come to DC. Pick a weekend with good people at Arlington Cinema/the Improv and book 6th and I or something. ...Question Mark?
What does Blue Turtlin' actually mean? I use it sometimes among fellow listeners and it's past the point I can ask them.
haha, thank you! Not sure how to answer either of those, but thanks for listening while you were going through a hard time.
How do you think Mad Men will end?
old don draper in 2015, looking at an iPhone, tipping his shades down - "I could get used to this."
Whatever happened to Mike Detective?
season two is plotted, and one episode even written. I hope it will come back some day, but since Neil and I wrote them all, we've been busy with the TV show.
Do you ever get offended when PFT's characters tell you to shut up?
haha, yes EVERY TIME!
My roommate and I are big fans and have a few questions about the most recent podcast.
I'm a big fan of Disney Parks. My roommate is not. He believes that your experience as Br'er Bear/Goofy is a sign of your contempt for the 'land, while I contend that was just an isolated incident. Plus, you've made many references to Disney rides, i.e. The Haunted Mansion. So, my first question is, what is your actual opinion of The Disney Parks, and who will be replacing Reggie as bandleader?
You seemed to have shut down Horatio's first character on this ep. By studying the clues, I have come to believe that he was creating someone called "Captain Cum" who shoves semen-laden tissues into his mouth. How accurate is that conclusion, and who will you bring on to replace Reggie?
You've stated that some people have come to loathe the "Solo Bolo," for reasons I can't seem to comprehend. Is there another Bolo in the future, or will Benny Schwaz be replacing Reggie as bandleader?
2 yes, this is what horatio jokingly said he was going to do
3 more solo bolos to come!!
Do you think you guys will ever get some east coast comedians for Earwolf? I would love a podcast with Jon Glaser and Jon Benjamin.
hoping to get something like that going soon!
Scott and Paul discuss this on 2014 BEST OF Ep. 4. Particularly in regards to what Zouks does with Andy Daly.
sometimes it just naturally goes in directions people didn't expect - i'm thinking of pam murphy and will hines on a recent episode. when we take a break, I'll usually ask, "Is there somewhere else you were thinking of going with it, and can i lead you back there?" Most improvisers don't care about where it ends up, because the journey is more important than the destination.
Hot Soccermom! If season 4 of Comedy Bang! Bang! were a pizza, what toppings would be on it?
And would Reggie eat the whole pizza, or just the first half?
Ty Burrell, Maya Rudolf, Schoolboy Q, Eddie George, Simon Helberg, Mark Duplass, Kid Cudi, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Dax Shepard, Zach Galifianakis
He'd EAT IT ALL!!!
Is Howard Kremer "in character" on Who Charted? ... or is he really just like that?
i think we're all in character, as exaggerated versions of ourselves.
Who are your favorite characters throughout the history of the podcast and tv show CBB?
Love Huell Howser - am bummed about James's insistence to retire characters once they die (or like GWB, once they're out of office). ALW is probably my favorite character with whom to interact. I could probably talk to the Calvins Twins all day. And Ho-Ho is a new favorite - i went around imitating her for the next few weeks.
Hi Scott –
Do you have any plans to put your creative energy into dramatic/serious works? No slight intended; comedy is the best.
i have always done some dramatic stuff - i worked with Imagine Films recently for a year, working on a script of my own, but also giving notes to other ones. There were a lot of different types of scripts that came out of it - dramas, comedies, action films, etc. One, The Good Lie, actually made it to the screen.
What has been the best/funniest/worst joke/pun that has been spoken on the podcast?
Other than Pulled Bjork Sandwich, obviously.
i was quite proud of "--er at the end? What is this, NBC Thursday nights in the 90's?"
If you could kill one celebrity, who would it be? You'll still go to jail so keep that in mind.
chewbacca with my car
Are you and Pete Holmes ever going to do each other's shows?
he did an ep of mine, and we've talked about me doing YMIW. would really like to do it, if he'll have me.
In your opinion, which character from the CBBuniverse had the best transition from the podcast to the TV show? Which had the worst?
And of course, thank you for everything that you have done with Comedy Bang Bang and podcasts in general. I don't care what "Best Podcast" lists say, you're number 1 in my eyes, ears, and heart.
i liked danny mahoney... fourvel... Lord ALW, of course... there are many more!
When is the CBB podcast ep coming out with the person who donated to get that reward for Kulap's documentary? I'm curious to see what guests that person chooses
i think we're recording soon... not sure when it'll be released.
Hey Scott, what sort of challenges do you face when bringing a character from the podcast onto the tv show?
they have to work visually, and most importantly, have to have a reason they would be on a talk show. so we have to reasonably be able to figure out why a producer would book them to appear on a show with celebrities on it (does that make sense?).
Hi Scott, huge fan of the show and as a woman, let me start by confirming that the last ep with Schwaz & Horatio Sanz was absolutely a panty-dropper. This probably isn't an interesting question to anybody else but I am curious, did Jon Hamm really blindside you with the Reggie comments on 12 guests of Christmas? And if so, were you pissed? I genuinely felt really bad for you getting sort of cornered on stage and for what it's worth, I'm super sorry that happened!
i didn't care - the weirdest thing about it was, he didn't even know if the reggie thing had been announced yet. that's insane to me, that he would say that without knowing that.
How in hell did you create the environment that spawned the podcast? There's still nothing at all like it out there, and the calibre of improv is just ridiculous. I was laughing-til-crying all the way through the recent best-ofs.
"I prefer to be known as Little Button-Puss."
it was all an accident! coupled with producing a live show for ten years, and getting to know super funny people and what they could do.
Mr. Hot Saucerman, love everything that you have done. Seriously. My question though is do you like to do the TV show or the podcast more? I love both but I love the podcast more.
they're both different. I would say i have more fun making the podcast, but am probably proud of the acheivement of the tv show more.
Scott, you've helped create several funny memes like pronouncing your name differently but so that it still sounds similar and asking what your fuck style is bro. Does that get annoying when you try to do something like a reddit ama?
Where's the beef between you and TJ Miller?
i love TJ! We just did episodes of In Bed with Joan right after each other. And he said such nice things about CBB when we did Paul Provenza's show.