Before the episode “Craig Robinson Wears a Bordeaux Button Down and Dark Jeans,” Craig Robinson had only interacted within the Comedy Bang! Bang! universe once before. Back in the first year of the show he was a guest on one of the few episodes not hosted by Scott Aukerman (the host was CBB season premiere guest Jerry Minor as the long-since forgotten character Cyber Thug). For Aukerman and Robinson’s first time in the CBB realm together, it’s probably a good thing that their interaction appeared on camera and not solely on the podcast, since many of the best jokes rely on Robinson and his reactions.
This is not to say Robinson isn’t a fun guest, he just doesn’t seem as relaxed as someone like (last week’s guest) Patton Oswalt, but he does plenty with a stare or a scream. Most of this stiffness (which is—in all fairness—also a part of some act) comes during the interview portion, which is partly improvised (so that could be part of the problem) as during the clearly scripted parts, Robinson is great. He’s a perfect contestant for the new game “Craig Robinson or Craig T. Nelson?” and he humorously explains that the only thing that he misses about Chicago is the wind—because he likes flying kites and watching hats fall of people’s heads. He even gets delightfully weird during “CBB After Dark,” where he explains that he’s never had sex, but only drawn a picture of two naked people from memory. He’s also scared of monsters. But it’s Robinson’s Office stare repeatedly directed at Aukerman that truly makes his appearance great.
This is also a pretty great Reggie Watts episode, as it turns out his keyboard has been a tool for star vessel training and he goes through an alien portal to help fight an intergalactic war. He struggles with the keyboard, until he is told that music will win the fight. After figuring out his keyboard controls (which destroy plenty of spaceships and alien babies through the power of love), he discovers the war was fought to stop alien school integration. But back at the studio, the aliens have left a Watts clone, who Aukerman must teach about music, banter, and humor so as to not give away the fact that he isn’t the real Watts.
After Robinson is introduced, the show gets two great segments. The first is Aukerman’s new home renovation show “Tear Down.” Aukerman is keen to say over and over that the man cave he is tearing down is more of a man’s grave, which is funny the first time because of how dumb it is, but by the seventh time he says it, it’s hilarious. This is a classic CBB trademark—repetition, especially with something that is so lame it can become insanely funny. The house Aukerman is working on is equally ridiculous, with a gum ball machine filled with bird seed and a box labeled “Naughty Magazines,” featuring only “Prayboys,” a Christian magazine for young boys. Aukerman’s reaction to this reveal might be the best moment of the episode, however his reveal that his show only tears down rooms and nothing else is a close second.
We also get the welcome CBB return of Bob Odenkirk, along with Tim Robinson as the comedy duo Ofendorf and Sorbenstein. Odenkirk mentions that Robinson is a ghost who recently passed away due to a cigarette he smoked 18 years ago, and that TVs won’t be able to pick up Robinson’s image. However the twist is that Odenkirk is truly the ghost and can’t be seen during one of their most famous skits, “A Visit to the Proctologist,” a dirtier take on the “Who’s on First?” joke. It’s weird, but considering it’s Odenkirk and Aukerman together (like in their Mr. Show days), that shouldn’t be a surprise.
“Craig Robinson Wears a Bordeaux Button Down and Dark Jeans” isn’t a tightly constructed episode of Comedy Bang! Bang!, but the disparate segments together make for a pretty funny time, altogether avoiding turning into a man’s grave.
Ross Bonaime is a D.C.-based freelance writer and regular contributor to Paste. You can follow him on Twitter.