(also known as Mr.
Show with Bob and David
) was a sketch comedy series
featuring former Saturday Night Live
and stand up comedian
/actor David Cross
. It aired on HBO
from November 3, 1995, to December 28,
Each episode of Mr. Show
essentially consists of a series
of sketches, each one transitioning to the next by way of a
tangential—or sometimes direct—segue
, called a
link. For example, a minor character in one sketch might return as
the major character in the next. Often, common themes or storylines
are returned to at different times throughout an episode. It is
regarded by sketch comedy aficionados as perhaps the best of its
era , though as a premium cable show its audience was necessarily
limited. DVD editions, however, have sold briskly, opening the show
to a broad new audience. .
While the show was never viewed by a mass audience, due to its
premium cable broadcast, it remains a highly influential piece of
American sketch comedy. The actors and creators of the show have
gone on to become staples of the American comedy landscape.
The Sarah Silverman
the lead role and also features Jay
and Brian Posehn
regulars on Mr. Show. Arrested Development, created by Mitchell
Hurwitz, featured David Cross as Tobias Funke, but also had guest
spots filled by Mr. Show alumni, such as Bob Odenkirk as a marriage
counselor and Jerry Minor and Jay Johnston as gay cops. Jack Black
had supporting roles in Mr. Show,
Cross and Odenkirk would go on to work with Black and Kyle Gass
on producing a show
for HBO for the comedy band
which would also feature Mr.
Show alumnus Paul F. Tompkins
The format of Mr. Show
is heavily influenced by the
British sketch comedy show Monty Python's Flying
, particularly in the linking of one sketch to the
next, a strong point for both shows, as it negates the tendency to
expect each sketch to end on a punch line or similar high note (a
common feature of more traditional sketch comedy shows such as
Saturday Night Live
The interweaving of taped bits and stage-performed sketch found in
is prevalent in Mr. Show
shows depend greatly on absurdist humor.
In later seasons, the show would satirize celebrities in an
indirect fashion, by changing the name and some of the aesthetic
idiosyncrasies of the celebrity, while maintaining a transparently
obvious parody. For instance, "Willips Brighton" was a character
spoofing Brian Wilson
, Marilyn Manson
became "Norma Jean Monster"
and later "Marilyn Monster," Carrot Top
became "Blueberry Head," and Dr. Demento
became "Dr. Retarded."
The show contains a strong, confident contrarian viewpoint that at
times mocks or satirizes organized
or global capitalism
Additionally, many of the show's sketches were constructed with a
strong critique of modern television in mind, whether it be
infomercials or sitcoms. Cynicism
heavy role in the show and there is little respect for traditionalism.
Every episode begins with an individual introducing the hosts, Bob
and David (on one rare occasion Bob is replaced by the up and
coming college comic, Kedzie Matthews, who everybody but Bob finds
hilarious). This role was filled by Mary Lynn Rajskub
in the first two
seasons, while in the later two seasons Bob and David would be
introduced by a character from a sketch in that given episode. In
the opening dialogue
, Bob is often dressed
in a suit, while David is dressed down in more casual attire.
Every episode's title is taken from a line of dialogue heard during
the episode, with three exceptions. The title of the first episode
in season one, "The Cry of a
", does not appear anywhere in the episode but in
fact came from a sketch that was eventually cut from the debut
episode. The title of the seventh episode in season three,
"Bush is a Pussy
", comes from a
t-shirt worn by one of the characters. The seventh episode of
season four, "Eat
Rotten Fruit from a Shitty Tree
", is from a song within the
episode that originally had lyrics.
Certain lines of dialogue are often repeated by different
characters during the course of a single show (e.g., "I was on the
eighteenth hole!" in "The Biggest Failure in
" and "Who let you
" in the episode of the same name).
Fake special thanks
In addition, at the end of each episode's credits, there is a
random niche celebrity in the "Special Thanks" section placed there
for fans to hunt out and not for the purpose of thanking. For
example, the first episode's random special niche thanks credit
celebrity was Rick Dees
, and the third
episode's was Greg Maddux
. This is
referred to as a "Fake Special Thanks".
also spawned a spin-off
movie, Run Ronnie Run
, that went straight-to-DVD
. Bob and David both had
numerous disagreements with the film's director, Mr. Show
co-producer Troy Miller
Cross and Odenkirk disowned the final version.
Mr. Show Live: Hooray for America!
In September 2002, original cast members Bob Odenkirk, David Cross,
John Ennis, Brian Posehn and Stephanie Courtney took Mr. Show:
Hooray for America!!! on the road. The two month stint featured
distillation of some of Mr. Show's best sketches, such as "The
Burgundy Loaf", and also added new material. In the stage show, the
large fictitious mega-corporation Globo-Chem ("We own everything,
so you don't have to!") sponsors David's stage persona to run for
the presidency of the United StatesThe performance venues varied from the
elegant Warner Theatre in Washington,
DC to the converted warehouse of the Electric Factory in Philadelphia, PA.
Some elements of the live show were ad libbed, and changed from
night to night. David Cross sometimes broke scene, to directly
address loud or drunk crowd members.
During the ending credits, the actors appearing on the show were
credited as "Main Cast" or "Featured Cast", though some "Featured"
cast members (like Brian Posehn
Mary Lynn Rajskub
regularly. Mr. Show's main cast for the entire run consisted of
, John Ennis
, Bob Odenkirk
, and Jill Talley
. Cross, Ennis, and Odenkirk appeared
in each season. Kenny left the show after the third season to
pursue other projects, and he returned for one episode of season
four. Talley appeared in all episodes but four towards the end of
the third season, which she missed because she was pregnant.
, who was a featured
performer throughout the series, was credited as a member of the
main cast for the final episode of the show.
Featured cast and frequent collaborators
- Ronnie Dobbs (David
Cross) is a habitual criminal regularly
caught in the act on Fuzz, a COPS-like program. Dobbs epitomizes many
stereotypes of 'white trash' in his behavior.
- Terry Twillstein (Bob
Odenkirk) is a foppish, manipulative, British television
producer who discovers Ronnie Dobbs, and is always looking to use
Ronnie for his success.
- Senator Howel Tankerbell (Bob Odenkirk) is an ultra-conservative Southern Dixiecrat Senator.
- Three Times One Minus One (T.T.O.M.O) is an
R&B duo made up of Pootie T. and Wolfgang Amadeus Thelonius Van
Funkenmeister The 19th and 3 Quarters (Played by David Cross and
Bob Odenkirk, respectively). They are the performers of the song,
"Ewww, Girl, Ewww", which is designed to promote literacy, as well
as the song "Goodbye 2 Every 1 Ever," written in memory of
"everyone that's ever died."
- Droopy (Bob
Odenkirk) is a dirty and chronically congested take on the
"lazy twenty-something slacker" stereotype. He loves to messily eat
chocolate and, for an unknown reason, wants to work at the front
desk of his local museum, though he has few qualifications.
- Dylan (David Cross)
is an incredibly pretentious man clad in glasses and a long scarf,
even in hot weather. He shuns popular American culture and modern
technology, but is surprisingly friends with Droopy. In audio
commentary, castmates describe Cross's first impression on them
being reminiscent of Dylan.
- Fancy Pants (Bill
Odenkirk) is a dandy who makes occasional silent, yet noted
walk-ons. First seen clad in Elizabethan garb he makes his second
appearance in a more Edwardian style.