TV review: Comedy Bang! Bang! and Bunk

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From the June 7, 2012 edition

On Friday, IFC premieres two new offbeat comedies based on familiar formats. Hosted by Scott Aukerman, “Comedy Bang! Bang!” is the Bizarro World combination of traditional late-night talk show and Bravo’s Andy Cohen-led “Watch What Happens Live.” “Bunk” is an absurd riff on game shows where comedians compete in weird, hilarious (and utterly meaningless) challenges.

Those familiar with the “Comedy Bang! Bang!” podcast shouldn’t expect something like that — this is much more like Aukerman’s other project, “Between Two Ferns with Zach Galifianakis.” Appropriately Galifianakis is the first guest on this new show, but he fades into the background as the stranger and uncomfortably funny aspects of the show take center stage. “Comedy Bang! Bang!” is just odd, but in an entertaining and funny, if not always laugh-out-loud funny, way.

“Bunk” actually offers stronger laughs and a more traditional format. Three comedians attempt to win challenges like “Shame That Puppy” and “Top This Lie” with impromptu jokes. It plays hilariously thanks to excellent contestants and host Kurt Braunohler.

I enjoy both shows very much, and they work well together. But if I had to pick my favorite, I would go with “Bunk,” even though Aukerman is a comedic genius who might change my mind down the road.