With Comedy Bang! Bang! fast approaching 100 episodes on IFC, we thought it was time to look back at the podcast that launched it all. A madcap mishmash of ridiculous characters, fake celebrity interviews and game breaking improv, the Comedy Bang! Bang! podcast is a dense universe unto itself, full of callbacks and inside jokes that reward hardcore fans. If you’re new to the series, the best bet would be to start on the first episode and listen to all 430 (and counting!) episodes. But for those of us who don’t have hundreds of hours of free time to kill, here are a few of the very best episodes in CB!B! podcast history.
10. Amy Poehler’s Rap (Episode 123)
It’s no secret that America’s sweetheart, Amy Poehler, can spit verse. (She famously rapped about Sarah Palin on SNL while nine months pregnant!) But never has her brilliance been more evident than this classic CB!B! episode. While host Scott Aukerman often likes to goad his guests into rapping just to watch them crash and burn, Amy rises to the occasion, and puts together a classic little ditty about her home schoolin’ curriculum that involves teaching youngsters that the moon is made of cheese.
9. Time Bobby (Episode 150)
Paul F. Tompkins is more than a guest in the world of CB!B!. As it stands, he’s appeared more on the show than anyone, outside of Scott himself. With a bevy of classic characters like Cake Boss and J.W. Stillwater, he’s a key player in the show’s evolution. In this classic episode, he plays Lord Andrew Lloyd Weber as he weighs whether to adopt murderous orphan Fourvel, played with eerie innocence by SNL‘s Bobby Moynihan.
8. 2012 Holiday Spectacular (Episode 191)
Paul F. Tompkins appears again in this Holiday Spectacular, playing everyone’s favorite former pimp turned TV show cop, Ice-T. One of the funniest spots in the show’s history, T talks about his Keith Herring advent calendar, his disappointment with the “We Are The World” video, and his Santa Claus, or Santer Klantz, as he’s known in The Maldives Islands, costume.
7. Shanghaied by Irene (Episode 122)
And, because we’re on a roll with PFT characters, we can’t leave out Werner Herzog, the crusty German filmmaker who views life as a bleak battle between man and nature. This was his first appearance on the show, although he would go on to appear many more times.
6. Oh, Hello (Episode 107)
Nick Kroll has also been a go-to improviser for CB!B!, repeatedly bringing his menagerie of characters to life in the studio. Still, it took over a hundred episodes for Gil Faizon and George St. Geegland — his and comedian John Mulaney’s tuna loving, Upper West Side living, Alan Alda worshiping comedic creations — to stop by. Judging by the befuddled reaction of fellow guest Lizzy Caplan, the wait was worth it.
5. Ching Chong Matinee (Episode 161)
Tim and Eric‘s Tim Heidecker got the opportunity to share some big news on the show. He’d been cast in the new Woody Allen movie, a blatantly racist, black-and-white silent film called “Ching Chong Matinee,” about a group of artists doing an opera based on Kung-Fu Panda. Sadly, with stars like Jason Alexander, Jackie Chan and the great Howie Mandel filling out the cast, Heidecker’s Chinese stagehand character barely made the final film.
4. Zap! (Episode 131)
Andy Daly is another mainstay of the show. Here he plays Chip, the gregarious Honorary Mayor of Hollywood, whose chipper personality masks a dark, deeply disturbing history. Throughout the episode Scott, guest Jason Mantzoukas and Chip dig deep into his past, uncovering awful stories about his dead wife, his history of street fighting, a disfiguring Jeep accident and a “Satanic Voltron” of child soldiers from his game show “Zap.”
3. Scott Pays Tribute to Harris Wittels (Episode 336)
A departure from the loose improv games that precede it on the list, this episode contains one of the most genuine and sad moments in CB!B! history. Harris Wittels — a Parks and Recreation writer, author of Humblebrag and frequent guest on the show — passed away from a drug overdose in 2015. This episode finds Scott trying to come to terms with his friend’s sudden death in real time. It’s raw and real and moving, and unlike anything before or since on CB!B!.
2. iBrain (Episode 35)
Deeply NSFW, Brett Gelman’s reading of his short story, “iBrain,” is one of the funniest bits of filthy madness you’ll ever hear. While the story starts out as a hackneyed attempt at satire, much to Scott’s chagrin, it quickly takes a turn in a, well, unexpected direction. Have the kids leave the room before giving this one a listen.
1. Farts and Procreation (Episode 120)
Probably as close to a consensus pick as this list could have, “Farts and Procreation” is considered a high water mark of low bar humor on the show. While fan reaction can be divided about F&P, everyone has an opinion, making it one of the most famous episodes in the podcast’s history. Having spawned numerous sequels, the story of Jack Sjunior and Bryan Pieces, two lumberjacks with a deeply disturbing history, seems destined to define this series for better or worse. A must listen for anyone wanting to know how far this show can take things when the rules get thrown out the window.