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Scott Aukerman Brings Celebrity Guests and a 'Bizarro Version' of Himself to Podcast-Turned-TV Show 'Comedy Bang! Bang!'

Photo of Alison Willmore By Alison Willmore | Indiewire June 8, 2012 at 3:21PM

Fans of comedian Scott Aukerman have until this point had more of a chance to get familiar with his voice than with his screen presence. A writer for "Mr. Show" and the creator of viral web phenom "Between Two Ferns with Zach Galifianakis," Aukerman's best known as the host of the hugely popular radio show-turned-podcast "Comedy Bang! Bang!," in which he interviews celebrity guests real and impersonated and involves them in improv game segments. But tonight, fans will finely get a good look at the guy.
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How much prep would you do with guests on "Between Two Ferns" and "Comedy Bang! Bang!" Is it all pretty much on the fly?

We don't do any prep with the guests on "Between Two Ferns." I'll do more on the TV show. A lot of times, people will come in with their own bits. Michael Cera came in with the bit he wanted to do on studying ornithology, which is in the show. That's great. But about a third of the show is improv -- the conversations we do with celebrity guests, those are all improv.

We don't have a ton of prep on it. The guests are funny. I was really lucky with the ten guests who I managed to get to be the main guests on the show. They are all able to make a ten-minute improv conversation really funny. I know that if I ever ask Paul Rudd a question, he'll turn it into something hilarious in 90 seconds. So I felt comfortable about it being relatively unprepared.

How did you end up bringing Reggie Watts in to be your musical accompaniment and co-host of sorts?

When we were talking about the show in theory, we had a lot of things to figure out -- is there a desk? what does the rug look like? I'm not relegating Reggie to that inconsequential of a decision. [laughs] But every decision was a huge one, and that was one of the biggest ones -- what do you do in terms of bandleader, and also sidekick?

When IFC and I were talking about options, Reggie was a natural first choice because he does the theme song to my podcast, and is an amazing musician. We realized he could also serve as the sidekick as well, because he's such an amazing improvisational performer. We really clicked. It was a surprise to me, how great our relationship worked. Our improv styles are really similar.

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As a podcast host and the co-founder of the Earwolf podcast network, what do you think the future of the medium is going to be? It still seems difficult to monetize.

I don't think I would own a podcasting company if I didn't think it was viable and if the future didn't look very bright for people getting into it. With Earwolf, we've always made money or broke even, actually, because we don't pay ourselves anything. [laughs] But we're finally turning the corner with sponsorships, where advertisers are really paying attention to podcasts. Money, to me, isn't a reason why you get into podcasting.

You get into podcasting because of the pure essence of expression that you're allowed. In podcasting you don't have a boss, you don't have someone telling you what's funny and what's not funny. It's the most pure expression of whatever's on your mind. Anyone can do it and anyone can put it up and get it into iTunes. I did it just for fun. But I think the residual benefits that you get from podcasting are that you're putting yourself out there, you're building a fan base, you're creating something, and good things will come out of that.

This article is related to: Television, TV Interviews, IFC, Comedy Bang! Bang!, Scott Aukerman, Interviews