What did David Cross do before Arrested Development and a bunch of stand-up routines where he rips off Bill Hicks? He did Mr. Show, a sketch comedy series on HBO in the mid to late ‘90s. Cross, and his co-star Bob Odenkirk, took a cue from Monty Python and delivered some of the best sketch comedy I’ve ever seen. Personally, I believe it’s better than The Kids in the Hall, The State, or SNL.
What’s extremely clever about Mr. Show aren’t necessarily the jokes but the way they’re delivered and how the show flowed. Sketches moved seamlessly into each other and there wasn’t a moment lost. The show also gave a hyper-critical view of American culture in the 1990s, exploring such issues as outsourcing, American arrogance, authority figures, and just about anything else you can think of. The show also gave the world Ronny Dobbs, a redneck (played by Cross) notorious for getting arrested on a Cops like show repeatedly.
Unfortunately the show only ran for four seasons and was cancelled abruptly. Originally the show aired on Friday nights but was switched to Monday nights, severely damaging their ratings. The show was pretty low-budget and it’s entirely possible more seasons would’ve happened if HBO actually gave the show a decent timeslot. Mr. Show also introduced a long list of funny people to television including Sarah Silverman, Tom Kenny (the voice of Spongebob Squarepants), John Ennis, Jack Black, Brian Posehn, Paul F. Tompkins, and many others.
Here are a bunch of the best sketches from Mr. Show. I’ve seen the DVD’s for dirt cheap recently at places like Walgreens (selling for less than $3 a season) so if you like these you should try and find them.