Scott Aukerman’s podcast Comedy Bang Bang has kept listeners amused for a decade. (Courtesy photo)

Comedy Bang Bang ditches the script

Scott Aukerman brings leftfield laughs to Clusterfest

Scott Aukerman’s podcast Comedy Bang Bang is unlike most formatted talk shows in which guests pitch products and hosts lob questions leading to mildy amusing bits.

The weekly show, now in its 10th year, feels unscripted; conversations evolve into extremely bizarre steam-of-consciousness tangents that make for absolutely hilarious listening.

“I figured out pretty early into this show’s run, that it’s a lot more fun to not know anything about what my guests are going to say; I just need the barest of information and I prefer to discover it in the moment along with them,” says Aukerman, who’s making two appearances at the third annual Clusterfest in San Francisco’s Civic Center this weekend, including a live airing of Comedy Bang Bang at 2 p.m. Sunday on the Bill Graham Stage.

Aukerman’s hands-off approach as host is the reason why so many of his guests — often portraying ridiculous self-made characters — can go down glorious rabbit holes, where a simple idea or suggestion often results in something deliriously funny. He has a stable of regular comedic visitors, including Paul F. Tompkins, Andy Daly and Jason Mantzoukas.

Tompkins is best known for portraying a ridiculous, over-the-top version of a clueless Andrew Lloyd Webber, while Daly’s most popular characters are Don DiMello, a sleazy producer who stages children’s plays rife with pornographic content, and Hot Dog, a water skiing enthusiast who also has a strange adoration for the ‘60s nostalgia band Sha Sha Na.

Those characters are usually paired alongside other guests being themselves, while Aukerman moderates the conversation, often steering the topics into the absurd, with plenty of help from his collaborators.

“The best shows are the ones where I can just sit back and relax, because I know my guests are going to be hilarious, and I don’t need to be on my toes, or worried about pushing anything or reining anything in,” says Aukerman.

For his live Comedy Bang Bang session at Clusterfest, Aukerman is bringing in a couple of regular guests, while adding a few comedians also making appearances during Clusterfest’s three days of festivities.

On Saturday, Aukerman will be joined by “Parks and Recreation” and “Big Little Lies” star Adam Scott for a rendition of the duo’s popular podcast, “RU Talkin R.E.M RE ME,” a show where, well, they talk about R.E.M., among other topics.

As one of the longest-running and most consistent podcasts around, Comedy Bang Bang has attracted a legion of loyal listeners over its decade existence.

Aukerman, a writer, producer and director — he’s helming the upcoming movie “Between Two Ferns” starring Zach Galifianakis — also has nurtured the careers of many aspiring comedians by inviting them on to Comedy Bang Bang.

Sunday’s Comedy Bang Bang could be a mix of young and old characters, new and familiar faces.

One thing it won’t be is predictable. For this talk show, the script gets thrown out and the hilarity ensues.

IF YOU GO

Clusterfest

Where: Bill Graham Civic Auditorium and Civic Center Plaza, 99 Grove St., S.F.

When: 4 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. June 21; 4 p.m. to 1 a.m. June 22; 1 to 10:15 p.m. June 23

Tickets: $119 to $279.50

Contact: www.clusterfest.com

Note: RU Talkin R.E.M RE ME with Aukerman is at 3:45 p.m. Saturday on the Bill Graham Stage; “Comedy Bang Bang” live is at 2 p.m. Sunday on the Bill Graham Stage.

COMEDY HEADLINERS

Fred Armisen: 7 p.m. Friday, Colossal Stage

Amy Poehler & Friends: 10:30 p.m. Friday, Bill Graham Stage

John Mulaney, with Julio Torres, Sheng Wang: 8:15 and 10:15 p.m. Saturday, Bill Graham Stage

Leslie Jones, with Lenny Marcus and Chris Distefano, 10 p.m. Saturday and 9 p.m. Sunday, Colossal Stage

Patton Oswalt, with Fortune Feimster and Matteo Lane, 9 p.m. Sunday, Bill Graham Stage

Asian AF (as F—-), with Sheng Wang, Robin Tran, Andrew Orolfo, Irene Tu and Fred Armisen, 7 p.m. Sunday, Colossal Stage

Patton Oswalt, with Fortune Feimster and Matteo Lane, 9 p.m. Sunday, Bill Graham Stage

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