Here's How 'Mr. Show With Bob and David' Shaped the Future of Comedy
Before Bob Odenkirk became known for his role as Saul Goodman on Breaking Bad and David Cross was known for Dr. Tobias Fünke on Arrested Development, the two comedians had a legendary sketch comedy show, Mr. Show with Bob and David. The show aired on HBO from 1995-1998 and launched the careers of an incredible amount of comedians we know and love to this day. Recently, it was revealed that Odenkirk and Cross were making a return to sketch comedy with a new show titled With Bob and David. Netflix has ordered four half-hour episodes and an hour-long “making-of” special, which just started production. There's no word on when the series will premiere, but we're expecting to see the return of regular writers and actors from the original series, including Brian Posehn, Tom Kenny, Scott Aukerman, and Paul F. Tompkins.
After Mr. Show ended 17 years ago, most of the cast and writers found success working on other projects in comedy. Below, we break down some of the best.
Tom Kenny, one of the main cast members of Mr. Show, turned toward the world of voice acting after his time with Bob and David.
Kenny played the role of Heffer Wolfe in the animated series Rocko's Modern Life. After the show ended its run on Nickelodeon in 1996, Kenny was approached by the series' creative director, Stephen Hillenburg, to voice the star of a brand new cartoon show called Spongebob Squarepants. Following the show's major commercial success in early 2000, Kenny has continued to play the role of Spongebob, lending his voice to nearly 200 episodes. (Jill Talley, Tom Kenny's wife and a former main cast member of Mr. Show, provided the voice of Plankton's computer wife in a few episodes of Spongebob Squarepants.)
You might also recognize Kenny's voice from other cartoon roles, such as the Mayor and Narrator in The Powerpuff Girls, Spyro from the Spyro the Dragon video game franchise, Eduardo in Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends, or the Ice King in Adventure Time. Kenny also served as the voice of Wally Langford, a character in another semi-Mr. Show-related series called Mission Hill.
In 1999, Bill Oakley and Josh Weinstein, two of The Simpsons' greatest writers, set out to create a new animated television show for The WB revolving around a group of millennials. Mission Hill featured the voices of Tom Kenny and monotoned Mr. Show cast member Brian Posehn. However, it was canned after two episodes due to poor ratings.
The show was eventually picked up by Adult Swim for a short time, while Bob Odenkirk found success at the late-night programming block producing another show called Tom Goes to the Mayor.
Tom Goes to the Mayor
Bob Odenkirk received a package containing material from oddball anti-humorists Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim back in 2004. Odenkirk loved the humor of the duo so much, he ended up connecting with the two and became executive producer of a strange semi-animated series that aired on Adult Swim titled Tom Goes to the Mayor. The show follows a man named Tom Peters (played by Tim Heidecker) who has just moved to a small town called Jefferton. Tom continually comes up with business and civic endeavors that the mayor of the city (played by Eric Wareheim) manages to always screw up. The show features cameos from David Cross, Brian Posehn, and even Odenkirk himself. Bob Odenkirk would later go on to produce another show for Tim and Eric, titled Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!
While Bob Odenkirk went off to produce for Tim and Eric, Dino Stamatopoulos, one of Mr. Show's writers, found success on Adult Swim with his program Moral Orel. The show centers around a 12-year-old boy named Orel who grows up a devout Christian in a small town located in a fictional Bible Belt state called "Statesota." It's a twisted show that spoofs on religion, blending South Park and a clean '50s sitcom reminiscent of Leave It To Beaver. Stamatopoulos created Moral Orel and wrote a majority of the episodes, while Mr. Show frequent collaborators Jay Johnston and Scott Adsit provided voice work and writing credits, respectively.
Jack Black had his own HBO show titled Tenacious D, which David Cross and Bob Odenkirk also had a hand in producing. Tenacious D is a band comprised of Kyle Gass and Jack Black, and back in 1997, the rock duo had their own fictional television show based off of the band's endeavors. While the show's run was incredibly short, a full-length movie, Tenacious D in The Pick of Destiny, was released in 2006. Both the television show and film featured help from Mr. Show cast members Paul F. Tompkins and Jay Johnston.
The Sarah Silverman Program
Sarah Silverman, who appeared on Season 1 and 3 of Mr. Show with Bob and David, created her own sitcom titled The Sarah Silverman Program. The television show aired in 2007 on Comedy Central, but was cancelled after three seasons. It follows Silverman and her friends living in Valley Village, California, portraying the unfortunate and irresponsible lifestyle a fictional Silverman would live. Brian Posehn and Jay Johnston were part of the show's main cast, while comedians like Fred Armisen, Tim Heidecker, and Zach Galifianakis made cameo appearances.
Comedy Bang! Bang!
The Godfather of all Mr. Show spinoffs is Scott Auckerman's Comedy Bang! Bang! series.
In 2009, Auckerman started a podcast called Comedy Death-Ray—nearly 10 years after beginning his career as a writer and performer on Mr. Show's later seasons. After his comedy showcase played on Los Angeles radio for a short amount of time, Auckerman started up a podcast network titled Earwolf and renamed Comedy Death-Ray to Comedy Bang! Bang!, releasing episodes online with rotating comedian guest spots every week. The podcast eventually turned into a television show on IFC, featuring absurd humor and deadpan deliveries. The Comedy Bang! Bang! podcast has over 200 episodes available online for free, while the IFC version of Comedy Bang! Bang! is currently over 50 episodes long. Nearly every person who has written or performed on Mr. Show With Bob and David has made an appearance on Comedy Bang! Bang!, including several appearances from Paul F. Tompkins.
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