Even before Comedy Bang! Bang! had its third season premiere, IFC had already renewed the show for a fourth season with a gigantic episode order of forty episodes. Clearly the network has a big future planned for the series. Yet with “Zach Galifianakis Wears a One-Armed Jacket,” we jump to the end of the CBB odyssey a decade into the future, as we get a look at the series finale. As you’d expect, the end will be just as strange as everything that has come before it—and just as funny too.
Every episode of Comedy Bang! Bang! should be a treat for viewers and listeners of the podcast, but “Zach Galifianakis” is truly filled with fan service. As this glimpse at the future begins, there’s a round-up of characters played by Matt Besser, Jason Mantzoukas, John Carroll Lynch, Neil Campbell and Paul Rust that’ll make absolutely no sense if you haven’t seen their previous episodes.
Ten years into the future, the show and the world in general have changed so much. Reggie Watts is no longer the bandleader of the show, with a pregnant Jenny Lewis now talking his place. Throughout the episode, we learn that there is a multi-continental war and mutant bats are plaguing North America. Even so, the general premise of the show hasn’t changed all that much, which is probably a good thing.
CBB decides it should end where it began, with its first guess Zach Galifianakis. But Galifianakis has come on some hard times. He’s fresh off of a scandal, in which he hit 35 people with his car, and has now also created the world’s most popular condiment (something that goes on everything from sushi to uncooked pork). And while it seems like he’s missing an arm, the biggest laugh of the episode comes later when we discover that he’s just been hiding it under his jacket for no discernible reason.
We also see that the best of CBB is being released, just not on DVD since TVs don’t exist anymore. Instead they’re getting a release on 3D contact lenses and can also be lasered into your brain so as to become part of your memories. Even with all this innovation, Mailman Manny still fearfully delivers mail to Scott, and the old set friends of Mugsy, Squirrely and Deer Head remain, with a special appearance from Booky.
Scott’s parents even return to the series, even though they’ve never watched it, preferring animal blooper shows and Maron. Scott doesn’t need money for snackeys, but he does need to move back home since he is now jobless.
Throughout the entire episode, it’s hinted at that the a CBB wedding will be occurring, even though it’s not clear who is getting married. When Jenny Lewis goes into labor it becomes clear that she has been on the show because Scott thought she was Jerry Lewis (an easy mistake to make). Thankfully, Private Reginald Watersmith—AKA Reggie—is finally back from war to provide music for the wedding between Paul F. Tompkins’ Lord Andrew Lloyd Better and Lady Couchly. The audience features some former guests as well as familiar faces from the podcast, like Jon Gabrus’ Gino, who has only appeared on the podcast, and Aukerman’s actual dog Rocky. It’s nice to know the show also wants to include some Easter eggs for fans of the podcast every once in awhile.
The last few moments recall all sorts of classic finales, with Reggie driving off into the unknown like Jesse on Breaking Bad, Scott turning off all of the lights (Cheers), and countless other shows, before it turns out the episode was part of an old man’s dream with a twist…Comedy Bang! Bang! has been a TV show all along! What a twist!
“Zach Galifianakis Wears a One-Armed Jacket” is one of CBB’s most unusual episodes, made especially for huge fans of the show and podcast (and the characters that inhabit both). It makes not-so-much sense for casual viewers, but for the dedicated audience, it’s a treasure of inside jokes and weirdness that pays off greatly.
Ross Bonaime is a D.C.-based freelance writer and regular contributor to Paste. You can follow him on Twitter.