Mr. Show with Bob and David

This article is about the HBO series. For the Netflix series, see W/ Bob & David.
Mr. Show with Bob and David
Created by Bob Odenkirk
David Cross
Starring Bob Odenkirk
David Cross
John Ennis
Tom Kenny
Jill Talley
Jay Johnston
Country of origin United States
No. of seasons 4
No. of episodes 30 (and 2 specials) (list of episodes)
Executive producer(s) David Cross
Troy Miller
Bob Odenkirk
John Moffitt
Dino Stamatopoulos
Brad Grey
Bernie Brillstein
Producer(s) Troy Miller
Bill Odenkirk
Jay Johnston
Running time 30 minutes
Production company(s) Brillstein-Grey Communications
Dakota North Entertainment
TriStar Television (1st season)
HBO Original Programming
Distributor Warner Bros. Television
HBO Enterprises
Original network HBO
Original release November 3, 1995 (1995-11-03) 
December 28, 1998 (1998-12-28)

Mr. Show with Bob and David, also known as Mr. Show, is an American sketch comedy series starring and hosted by Bob Odenkirk and David Cross. It aired on HBO from November 3, 1995, to December 28, 1998.

Cross and Odenkirk introduced most episodes as semi-fictionalized versions of themselves, before transitioning to a mixture of live sketches and pre-taped segments. The show featured a number of alternative comedians as both cast members and writers, including Sarah Silverman, Paul F. Tompkins, Jack Black, Tom Kenny, Mary Lynn Rajskub, Brian Posehn, Jill Talley, 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 consists of a series of sketches, at times surreal,[1] each one transitioning to the next by a link in a manner reminiscent of Monty Python's Flying Circus.[2][3][4] For example, a minor character in one sketch might return as the major character in the next. Often, common themes or story lines are returned to at different times throughout an episode. As a premium cable show, its audience was limited. DVD editions, however, have opened the show to a broad new audience.[5][6]

Every episode begins with an individual introducing the hosts. This role was filled by Mary Lynn Rajskub in the first two seasons. After her departure for personal reasons,[7] the introduction was made by a random character from that week's episode.

Episode titles were mostly quotes 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, a random celebrity is listed in the "Special Thanks" section. Examples include: Rick Dees (in the first episode) and Greg Maddux (in the third episode).


The show contains a strong, confident contrarian viewpoint, little respect for traditionalism and at times satirizes organized religion and global capitalism. 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."[8]

Many of the show's sketches were constructed with a strong critique of modern television in mind, whether it be local news, sitcoms, commercials, infomercials, reality shows, or music videos.


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, returning for one episode of season four. Talley appeared in all episodes except for four towards the end of the third season, which she missed due to pregnancy. Jay Johnston, a featured performer throughout the series, was credited as a member of the main cast for the final episode of the show.

Main cast

Featured cast and frequent collaborators

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


Mr. Show with Bob and David was nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Writing for a Variety, Music or Comedy Program at the 50th Primetime Emmy Awards, losing to Dennis Miller Live, and also received a nomination for the song "How High The Mountain" in the category of Outstanding Music and Lyrics. The following year it was renominated for Outstanding Writing, losing this time to The Chris Rock Show, and also received a Creative Arts Emmy Award nomination for lighting director Simon Miles.[9]

At the 9th Golden Satellite Awards in 2004, the show's third season DVD set was nominated for "Best DVD Release of TV Shows."[9]

In 2010, prompted by the announcement of IFC's plans to re-air Mr. Show, it was included in a short list of "TV's greatest cult comedy series" by The Onion AV Club.[10]

Related projects

Run Ronnie Run

Main article: Run Ronnie Run

Mr. Show also spawned a spin-off movie, Run Ronnie Run, which was shown at the 2002 Sundance Film Festival,[11] but went straight-to-DVD. In an April 2004 article in Chunklet magazine, Odenkirk noted numerous problems they had had with the film, blaming the film's director, Troy Miller, who "chose to freeze us out, hold us at arm's length and not let us influence the movie nearly on the scale that we should have."[12]

Mr. Show Live: Hooray for America!

In September 2002, original cast members Bob Odenkirk, David Cross, John Ennis, Brian Posehn and Stephanie Courtney toured in a show called Mr. Show: Hooray for America!!!. The two-month stint included "distillations" of some of Mr. Show's sketches, such as "The Burgundy Loaf", and new material.[13] 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.[14] The tour included 16 large cities and college towns in North America: San Diego, Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, New York City, Boston, Ann Arbor, Chicago, Madison, Minneapolis, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Sacramento, Eugene, Portland, Seattle, and Vancouver.[15]

Hollywood Said No!: Orphaned Film Scripts, Bastard Scenes, and Abandoned Darlings from the Creators of Mr. Show

In September 2013, Grand Central Publishing released a Hollywood Said No!, a book of rejected scripts and unused Mr. Show sketches. The audiobook version included full cast readings by former Mr. Show performers and writers. One of the rejected scripts is the original version of Hooray for America!, which had earlier been adapted as part of the Mr. Show Live tour.[16]


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. 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.

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.[10] 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.[10] The song Adam's Song by american alternative rock band Blink-182 got its name as a tribute/reference to a sketch from the show about a band that writes a song by the same name with similar lyrical content. This was confirmed by Cross in an interview, who said "They were fans of the show and that was a knowing tribute that I thought was pretty cool." [17]

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.[8][18] 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."[19] 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."[19]

Comedians and shows inspired by Mr. Show

Comedy duo Tim & Eric have said their program Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job! was highly inspired by Mr. Show.[20] Odenkirk served as the producer on Awesome Show as well as Tom Goes to the Mayor and The Birthday Boys.

Other sketch comedy shows whose creators have cited Mr. Show as an influence include Portlandia, Key & Peele, Kroll Show, Inside Amy Schumer and Human Giant.[21]


The four episodes of the first season premiered in November 1995. The second season aired a year later, for six episodes, which continued into December. The third season included 10 episodes, spread out from September to December 1997. The ten final season episodes aired from October to December 1998.[22]


Main article: W/ Bob & David

In April 2015, Netflix acquired Mr. Show and put in an order for four half-hour episodes and one hour-long "making-of" special.[23] The announcement was a followup to a Twitter post from Paul F. Tompkins teasing about "something new coming from the Mr. Show gang in the new year."[24] W/ Bob & David premiered on November 13, 2015.[25]


Odenkirk and Cross mostly avoided using recurring characters a la Saturday Night Live,[26] but some characters made repeat appearances:

Character Actor Description
Ronnie Dobbs David Cross A white trash habitual petty criminal, regularly caught in the act on Fuzz, a COPS-like program. Known for the catchphrase "Y'all are brutalizing me" and inspiring the Puscifer song.
Dylan David Cross A pretentious man clad in a long scarf, even in hot weather, and friend of Droopy. He shuns popular American culture and modern technology.[27]
Terry Twillstein Bob Odenkirk British television producer who discovers Ronnie Dobbs and tries to utilize him in a West End-like fashion.
Sen. Howell Tankerbell Bob Odenkirk An ultra-conservative Georgia Dixiecrat Senator
Fancy Pants Bill Odenkirk A dandy who makes occasional silent, walk-ons. First seen clad in Edwardian garb he makes his second appearance in a more Elizabethan style.
Droopy Bob Odenkirk A twenty-something slacker. He wants to work at a local museum, though he has few qualifications. He never went by any name during the show.
Three Times One Minus One David Cross and Bob Odenkirk An R&B duo from Scarsdale made up of Pootie T. (Cross) and Wolfgang Amadeus Thelonius Van Funkenmeister The 19th and 3 Quarters (Odenkirk). They are sponsored by The WPCBCN ("White People Co-opting Black Culture Network").
Kedzie Matthews Tom Kenny A hyperactive comedian whose humor is overblown.


  1. Hertz, Barry (November 12, 2015). "W/ Bob & David: A revival any fan of Mr. Show could hope for". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved January 16, 2016.
  2. O'Neill, Phelim (September 13, 2012). "Your next box set: Mr Show with Bob and David". The Guardian. Retrieved May 1, 2014.
  3. Keogh, Tom. "Mr. Show - The Complete Fourth Season (2004) - Editorial Reviews". Retrieved May 1, 2014.
  4. All Things Considered (September 22, 2013). "'Hollywood Said No,' But 'Mr. Show' Fans Said Yes!". NPR. Retrieved May 1, 2014.
  5. Sacks, Mike. (2009). And Here's the Kicker: Conversations with 21 Top Humor Writers on Their Craft. Writer's Digest Books. ISBN 1582975051.
  6. Spitz, Mark (2011). "The Oral History of Mr. Show". Spin (April 2011).
  7. Odenkirk, Naomi (2002). Mr. Show: What Happened?! The Complete Story and Episode Guide. Squaresville Books. p. 52. ISBN 0971359784.
  8. 1 2 Vanity Fair article: "Mr. Pilot!: An Interview with Bob Odenkirk and David Cross."
  9. 1 2 "Awards for Mr. Show with Bob and David". IMDb. Retrieved 2013-06-02.
  10. 1 2 3 O'Neal, Sean (December 2, 2010). "IFC adds The Larry Sanders Show, Mr. Show, other awesome shows".
  11. "Run Ronnie Run!". Sundance Film Festival. 2002. Retrieved 2013-06-02.
  12. Bob Odenkirk (as told to Henry Owings) (April 29, 2004). "Is Run, Ronnie, Run Overrated? You bet. Here's why.". Chunklet (magazine). Archived from the original on 2007-06-07. Retrieved 2013-06-02. Look, people are angry at New Line. Don't be angry at New Line. The only thing New Line did "wrong" was not defend us. But in their defense, they didn't know who we were! ... On the other hand, the person to blame is the director, who knew us, and knew how important we were to our own comedy, and chose to freeze us out, hold us at arm's length and not let us influence the movie nearly on the scale that we should have.
  13. Adams, Sam (2002-09-19). "Mr. Show: Hooray for America!". Retrieved 2007-12-05.
  14. Sullivan, James (2002-10-03). "'Mr. Show' time". The San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 2007-12-05.
  15. Sullivan, James (June 30, 2002). "Bob and David in 'Hooray for America!!'". Retrieved 2013-06-02.
  16. Odenkirk, Bob, David Cross and Brian Posehn. Hollywood Said No!: Orphaned Film Scripts, Bastard Scenes, and Abandoned Darlings from the Creators of Mr. Show (2013). Paris: Hachette Audio. Audio
  17. Berman, Stuart (July 23, 2015). "Monsters of Mock: David Cross on the Music of "Mr. Show"". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved March 24, 2016.
  18. The Onion AV Club article: "David Cross."
  19. 1 2 Vanity Fair article: "David Cross Pleads Mercy for Insulting Your Best Friend Jesus."
  20. Cracked article: "5 of the Funniest Mr. Show Sketches."
  21. Evans, Bradford (June 20, 2014). "Diving Deep Into the Legendary 'Mr. Show' Season 3 Writing Staff". Splitsider.
  22. List of Mr. Show episodes at the Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 2013-06-02.
  23. Andreeva, Nellie (2015-04-02). "Netflix Orders Sketch Series From 'Mr. Show's Bob Odenkirk & David Cross". Deadline. Retrieved 2015-12-24.
  24. "'Mr Show' Reunion In 2015? Paul F. Tompkins Teases With Tweet". Deadline. 2014-12-31. Retrieved 2015-12-24.
  25. Whitney, Erin (April 2, 2015). "Bob Odenkirk & David Cross Are Reuniting For A Netflix Series". The Huffington Post. Arianna Huffington. Retrieved April 6, 2015.
  26. Odenkirk, Naomi. (2002). Mr. Show: What Happened?! The Complete Story and Episode Guide. Squaresville Books. p. 72. ISBN 0971359784.
  27. In audio commentary, castmates describe Cross's first impression on them being reminiscent of Dylan.

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