In the mid-’90s, I was living in Hollywood. I walked a lot. I started finding small flyers on the sidewalks—and in the gutters, and under windshield wipers—invitations to attend tapings of something called Mr. Show With Bob & David. There was usually a threat of some kind: “Show up or we’ll kill your mother.”
That sort of thing.
It was free. I decided to go. Instantly I became a fiend for the thing, and continued to show up religiously for the remaining three seasons, witnessing what was the funniest, smartest, most inventive sketch show since Monty Python. To be fair, Mr. Show was influenced by the irreverent soul of Python as well as the format—sketches linked without links that somehow seemed seamless—but the writing was a perfect skewering of all things American. It was near impossible to predict where a sketch would go, and the humor could range from razor sharp to fart-crude and hit all points in between. And the Bob and David material plays as funny now as it did then.
Suffice to say that if you liked Python—or quality Mr. Show descendants such as Chappelle’s Show or Key & Peele—you will not be disappointed.
Over the years the devoted fan base has grown, and Mr. Show has entered the annals of legendary cult comedy. Odenkirk and Cross have gone on to individual successes, notably Cross’s own creation The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret and his gut-busting turn as Arrested Development’s Tobias Funke, and Odenkirk’s brilliantly skeevy Saul Goodman from Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul. Mr. Show alumni have racked up their own considerable achievements; we’re talking about folks like Sarah Silverman, Jack Black, Tom “Spongebob” Kenny, Paul F. Tompkins and 24’s Mary Lynn Rajskub.
So yes, people have been busy, apparently too busy to reunite for a much-anticipated Mr. Show redux.
Until now. Sort of, anyway. Two decades after their HBO debut, Netflix is joining forces with the yucksmen to offer up sketchery anew in With Bob and David, four half-hour episodes and an hour-long making-of extravaganza written and starring the chaps in question. For fans of comedy, which hopefully includes you, this is momentous news. Air date is slated for 2016, however; so to tide you over, join us in some classic moments from the original show. And yes, that’s me in the audience. Over on the side. Laughing.
Is there anything funny about the idea of a young fan of a heavy metal band throwing himself into a vat of acid and surviving, horribly disfigured, only to be visited by the band itself? Yes.
Odenkirk and Cross are badass (and literally naked-ass) streakers. The competition is fierce.
Witness this amazing Mr. Show two-fer as America Blows Up the Moon and a guy gets fired from a corporate nightmare job for inept brown nosing.