Mr. Show with Bob and David
|Created by||Bob Odenkirk
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||4|
|No. of episodes||30 (and 2 specials) (List of episodes)|
|Running time||30 minutes|
|Original run||November 3, 1995
December 28, 1998
Mr. Show with Bob and David is an American sketch comedy series featuring former Saturday Night Live writer/actor Bob Odenkirk and stand up comedian/actor David Cross. It aired on HBO from November 3, 1995 to December 28, 1998.
The show generally opens with Cross and Odenkirk introducing the episode as heightened versions of themselves, before transitioning to a mixture of live sketches and pre-taped segments. Unlike many other sketch programs, Mr. Show typically opted for absurdist comedy over current pop culture jokes or recurring characters. Vanity Fair noted that the series had mocked "satanism, teenage suicide, cock rings, hermaphrodites, after-school specials about mentally challenged parents, and the Ku Klux Klan."
The show featured a number of notable alternative comedians as both cast members and writers — many in the early stages of their careers — including Sarah Silverman, Paul F. Tompkins, Jack Black, Tom Kenny, Mary Lynn Rajskub, Brian Posehn, Jerry Minor, Scott Aukerman, and Dino Stamatopoulos. It was nominated for four Primetime Emmy Awards, as well as a Golden Satellite Award.
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.
The show contains a strong, confident contrarian viewpoint, little respect for traditionalism and at times mocking or satirizing organized religion 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.
Every episode begins with an individual introducing the hosts, Bob and David. This role was filled by Mary Lynn Rajskub in the first two seasons. After her departure due to the dissolution of her romantic relationship with David Cross, the introduction of Bob and David was made by a random character from that week's episode.
Episode titles were mostly sentences or sentence fragments from the episode. For example, "Bush is a Pussy" is a writing on a T-shirt worn by one of the characters. One of the exceptions is "Eat Rotten Fruit from a Shitty Tree", which is a line in a song within the episode that was eventually performed as an instrumental.
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 Broadway History" and "Who let you in?" in the episode of the same name).
At the end of each episode's credits, there is a random niche celebrity in the "Special Thanks" section, typically as a joke. For example, the first episode's random special niche thanks credit celebrity was Rick Dees, and the third episode's was Greg Maddux.
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 or Mary Lynn Rajskub) appeared regularly. Mr. Show's main cast for the entire run consisted of David Cross, John Ennis, Tom Kenny, 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. Jay Johnston, who was a featured performer throughout the series, was credited as a member of the main cast for the final episode of the show.
Main cast 
- David Cross (all seasons)
- Bob Odenkirk (all seasons)
- John Ennis (all seasons)
- Tom Kenny (seasons 1 through 3, plus episode #402)
- Jill Talley (all seasons, except for episodes #306, #307, #309, #310)
- Jay Johnston (credited as main castmember in season 4, previously featured cast)
Featured cast and frequent collaborators 
- Scott Adsit (season 4)
- Scott Aukerman (season 2-4)
- Jack Black (seasons 1-2)
- Jay Johnston (seasons 1-4)
- Karen Kilgariff (seasons 3-4)
- Jerry Minor (episode #205, season 4)
- Theresa Mulligan (episode #204, season 3)
- Bill Odenkirk (seasons 1-4)
- Brett Paesel (seasons 2-4)
- BJ Porter (episodes #205 and #307, season 4)
- Brian Posehn (seasons 1-4)
- Mary Lynn Rajskub (seasons 1-2)
- Mark Rivers (season 4)
- Sarah Silverman (episode #103, season 3)
- Dino Stamatopoulos (seasons 2-4)
- Becky Thyre (season 4)
- Paul F. Tompkins (seasons 1-4)
Writing staff 
- Bob Odenkirk (episode #101-#410)
- David Cross (episode #101-#410)
- Jay Johnston (episode #203-#410)
- Bill Odenkirk (episode #203-#410)
- Dino Stamatopoulos (episode #203, #206-#401, #403-#410)
- Paul F. Tompkins (episode #203-#310)
- Brian Posehn (episode #204-#205, #301-#408)
- Mike Stoyanov (episode #301-#305)
- Mike Upchurch (episode #301-#310)
- Scott Aukerman (episode #401-#410)
- Jerry Collins (episode #401-#407)
- B.J. Porter (episode #401-#410)
- Eric Hoffman (episode #406-#410)
Contributing writers 
Run Ronnie Run 
Mr. Show also spawned a spin-off movie, Run Ronnie Run, which went straight-to-DVD. Cross and Odenkirk were disappointed with the film, feeling that the narrative structure didn't remain true to that of the Mr. Show series. They approached New Line Cinema for extra money so they could extensively rewrite and reshoot the film, but were denied. Without their consent, New Line Cinema went to the film's director, Troy Miller, and persuaded him to hand in an unfinished cut of the film for release; ultimately, 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 toured with a show called Mr. Show: Hooray for America!!!. 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 States. The 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 disorderly or drunken crowd members.
|This section requires expansion. (June 2011)|
Mr. Show has been called one of "TV’s greatest cult comedy series" by The Onion AV Club. The show was also included on a list of the 11 greatest sketch-comedy shows of all-time according to "pastemagazine.com," coming in at number 9.
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. Many involved with the show have gone on to become staples of the American comedy landscape.
The Sarah Silverman Program was written by and stars Sarah Silverman, and features Jay Johnston and Brian Posehn. Arrested Development features David Cross as regular character Tobias Fünke; the series also had guest spots filled by Mr. Show alumni, such as Bob Odenkirk as a marriage counselor, Jerry Minor and Jay Johnston as gay cops, and John Ennis as a mall security guard. Odenkirk plays the recurring role of Saul Goodman on AMC's critically acclaimed series Breaking Bad. Jack Black had supporting roles in Mr. Show. Cross and Odenkirk would go on to work with Black on producing a show for HBO for the comedy band Tenacious D which would also feature Mr. Show alumnus Paul F. Tompkins. Additionally, Mr. Show cast member Tom Kenny went on to achieve huge success voicing the title character of SpongeBob SquarePants and remains one of the most prolific voice-over actors in the industry. Kenny told an interviewer, "I was on location with Mr. Show when I got the call that SpongeBob was moving forward. I had a fake beard on, and it was 100 degrees, and I thought, 'All right!' I was dressed like a wizard and we were shooting in a stable, and it smelled like poop. A recording studio sounded real good to me."
In January 2011, IFC began airing 90-minute blocks of Mr. Show, The Ben Stiller Show, Action and The Larry Sanders Show three times per week. The programming block was often hosted by Mr. Show writer and actor Scott Aukerman, who also conducted new interviews with the shows' contributors and younger comedians who have been influenced by the shows.
David's Situation 
Odenkirk and Cross reunited in 2008 to create the HBO pilot David's Situation, which was shot but never aired or picked up. The network gave the pair $400,000 to shoot a pilot (which was shot on the Everybody Loves Raymond soundstage), which appeared to go well during the taping; however, while Cross and Odenkirk were editing the episode, they felt it failed to "capture that same energy on screen." In an interview with Vanity Fair, Cross said, "We told them that we didn’t want to do this show, we’d rather do Mr. Show 2.0. And they were like, 'Yeah, O.K., that’s great, but the thing is, we don’t have any more money for this year. But we’ll figure out something next year.' And we never heard from them again."
Comedians and shows inspired by Mr. Show 
Comedy duo Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim have said their program Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job! was highly inspired by Mr. Show. Odenkirk would go on to produce Awesome Show as well as Tom Goes to the Mayor.
- Ronnie Dobbs (David Cross) is a white trash habitual petty criminal, regularly caught in the act on Fuzz, a COPS-like program.
- Terry Twillstein (Bob Odenkirk) is a British television producer who discovers Ronnie Dobbs and tries to utilize him in a West End-like fashion.
- Senator Howell Tankerbell (Bob Odenkirk) is an ultra-conservative Georgia Dixiecrat Senator.
- Three Times One Minus One (T.T.O.M.O) is an R&B duo made up of Pootie T. (Cross) and Wolfgang Amadeus Thelonius Van Funkenmeister The 19th and 3 Quarters (Odenkirk). Their repertoire includes the almost-wordless song "Ewww, Girl, Ewww", its exact replica "Eww, Girl, Eww, Girl", and the song "Goodbye 2 Every 1 Ever", written in memory of "everyone that's ever died". They are sponsored by the White People Co-opting Black Culture Network.
- "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. He never went by any name during the show.
- 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.
- Kedzie Matthews (Tom Kenny) is a hyperactive comedian. Despite his overblown, unfunny humor, everyone on the show finds him hilarious.
- Fancy Pants (Bill Odenkirk) is a dandy who makes occasional silent, yet noted walk-ons. First seen clad in Edwardian garb he makes his second appearance in a more Elizabethan style.
- Vanity Fair article: "Mr. Pilot!: An Interview with Bob Odenkirk and David Cross."
- Norris, Chris (2001). "Baldy McJew Goes to Hollywood". Spin (June 2001).
- Sacks, Mike. (2009). And Here's the Kicker: Conversations with 21 Top Humor Writers on Their Craft. Writer's Digest Books. ISBN 1582975051.
- Spitz, Mark (2011). "The Oral History of Mr. Show". Spin (April 2011).
- Odenkirk, Naomi. (2002). Mr. Show: What Happened?! The Complete Story and Episode Guide. Squaresville Books. p. 52. ISBN 0971359784.
- Adams, Sam (2002-09-19). "Mr. Show: Hooray for America!". Retrieved 2007-12-05.
- Sullivan, James (2002-10-03). "'Mr. Show' time". The San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 2007-12-05.
- Sullivan, James (2002-06-30). "BOB AND DAVID IN "HOORAY FOR AMERICA!"". Retrieved 2007-12-05.[dead link]
- "C adds The Larry Sanders Show, Mr. Show, other awesome shows."
- "The Oral History of SpongeBob SquarePants," Hogan's Alley #17, 2010
- The Onion AV Club article: "David Cross."
- Vanity Fair article: "David Cross Pleads Mercy for Insulting Your Best Friend Jesus."
- Cracked article: "5 of the Funniest Mr. Show Sketches."
- Odenkirk, Naomi. (2002). Mr. Show: What Happened?! The Complete Story and Episode Guide. Squaresville Books. p. 72. ISBN 0971359784.
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