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Archive for Friday, June 8, 2012

Show packs a big ‘Bang’

June 8, 2012

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Fake talk shows have been around almost as long as the real thing. And when they work, they’re only slightly more ridiculous and artificial than the targets of their satire. Based on a popular podcast, “Comedy Bang! Bang!” (9 p.m., IFC) boldly takes the format to strange new worlds.

Series creator Scott Aukerman hosts his show in a modest and dated living room, accompanied by the freaky and hirsute keyboard player Reggie Watts, who provides biting musical commentary and sidekick patter laced with thinly veiled contempt. The room looks like it could have been the basement of “The Brady Bunch” house. There’s cheap wood paneling and a peculiar assortment of taxidermy. There are also talking books on the shelf, not unlike the anthropomorphic objects from “Pee-wee’s Playhouse.”

Aukerman projects a certain frat-boy obliviousness to the strangeness around him — including a sommelier in the corner who recommends a new bottle of wine to open with each phase of the show, and who becomes increasingly inebriated and belligerent along the way.

Like many series that emerge from podcasts, “Bang! Bang!” mixes the awkwardness of small talk and low- to no-stakes situations with the appearance of big-name cameos. Look for Zach Galifianakis (“The Hangover”) on the first episode and Amy Poehler on the second. Both guests have a difficult time adjusting to the host’s uninspired patter, his inappropriate questions and his habit of leaving midshow to attend to personal matters, such as putting a quarter in the parking meter or picking up dry cleaning.

‘‘Comedy Bang! Bang!” packs a lot into its half-hour allotment. The movie trailer parodies are its strongest suit. Not every joke or peculiar situation is funny, or even meant to be, but its cumulative peculiarity is nothing short of intoxicating.

Tonight’s other highlights

• A Japanese ship tails the Steve Irwin on “Whale Wars” (8 p.m., Animal Planet).

• Justin’s introduction may prove costly on “Fairly Legal” (8 p.m., USA).

• Serving with Beverly Hills cops on “Common Law” (9 p.m., USA).

• An inmate prepares for the rodeo on “Louisiana Lockdown” (9 p.m., Animal Planet).

• Renters fear a more permanent resident on “The Dead Files” (9 p.m., Travel).

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