on January 23, 2003
I accidently came accross Mr. Show in its 3d season on HBO during an insomniatic traverse over the entire cable TV dial. Two minutes into the "Titanica" sketch I was hooked and did whatever I could to catch every episode from that point on. I say a little prayer every day that HBO releases seasons 3 and 4 soon.
Everything you've heard about this show is true. People describe it as part Monty Python, part SCTV, part Kids in the Hall and that's all accurate to a point, but there really is no way to truly describe this show to anyone who has not seen it. This is one of the funniest TV shows I have ever seen - - you just have to watch it for yourself to find out why.
Warning . . . if you think Carrot Top is funny and think Jay Leno is cutting edge humor you will NOT like this. This is offbeat, sometimes in your face, sometimes dark, occassionally VERY dark, often weird comedy. If you're easily offended by "blue" language (i.e. the "f" word and its cousins) this might not be your cup of tea. On the other hand, if you're bored out of your mind by most of what passes for comedy on TV this is the tonic you've been waiting for. It can be intelligent and incredibly silly at the same time. Again, it's really hard to explain - - just watch the f'in' show okay.
Bob Odenkirk worked for years as a comedy writer for Saturday Night Live (where Lorne Michaels rarely aired his sketches - - too edgy), Conan O'Brien (they met at SNL) and was a main stage cast member at Second City (he originated Chris Farley's popular "Motivational Speaker" character at Second City before SNL overkilled it). David Cross was a standup comic and writer in Boston for years before becoming part of the alternative comedy scene in L.A. Cross and Odenkirk met as writers on Ben Stiller's short lived show and began working together as a team before HBO started to notice their act.
The show has a fiercely devoted cult following. The show's cast and writers attribute the show's critical success and cult audience devotion to the fact that HBO pretty much left them alone and let them do whatever they wanted.
These are very funny people working in a very unrestrained environment and they produced something extremely funny in the process. If you "get it" you'll wet your pants laughing.
on June 4, 2002
The product details here for some reason do not include all the extras included on the discs (at least, as of this date), so here they are:
-Commentaries on all 10 episodes
-"Fuzz" the Musical Starring Ronnie Dobbs
-"Before it Was a TV Show" (short video clip of their stage show)
-The Best of Mr. Show: "The Incredible, Fantastical News Report"
-Original TV spots
on March 6, 2002
Do whatever you have to do to get this DVD: borrow the money, work overtime, rob your piggy bank, sell your N*SYNC CD's (heck, you should do that anyway), sell your blood,... whatever it takes. This comedy series ranks up there with the movie "Waiting For Guffman" as the funniest thing to come along in years. No small coincidence that both of the stars and creative geniuses behind Mr. Show (David Cross and Bob Odenkirk) appeared in "Guffman". Cross is easy to spot, but blink and you'll miss Odenkirk.
This HBO series' humor soars miles above the heads of some viewers, and too bad for them. Offbeat, strange, twisted, and always extremely clever, "Mr. Show" reaffirms your faith in sketch comedy. The sketches defy description, but my favorite is the one where Odenkirk enters a convenience store to ask for change for a dollar. Sounds flat, huh? But employee Cross has to go through several links of the chain of command (4 other roles all played by Cross and Odenkirk), all the way up to the President of the United States, just to get clearance. Just guess what the answer ends up being... Cross and Odenkirk are the principal writers of this series, and their ingenious use of pre-taped segments cleverly intermixed with "live" segments demonstrates not only their mastery of the medium, but their effortlessness at thumbing their noses at standard sitcom & sketch conventions.
on July 21, 2002
Mr. Show with Bob and David is a brilliant example of sketch comedy. Since its premiere on HBO in 1994, it has been a great show for teenagers and older. When I say that, I mean that some of the dialogue may be inappropriate for younger audiences. It is a great show which can best be explained as genius and hilarious. Although it took a while to be released, seeing as the whole show was finished in 1996 and it wasn't released until June 2002. On the other hand, I do believe that it was well worth the wait and I myself cannot wait till the release of seasons 3 & 4 which contain the short lived mini-series starring the band Tenacious D (Jack Black and Kyle Gass). So for any body that enjoys good sketch comedy, I highly recommend this DVD. I would also like to mention to people that some actors you know now got their start on this show. Some names are Tom Kenny(Now the voice of Spongebob Squarepants), Brian Posehn(Now the mail boy Kevin on Fox's "Just Shoot me"), Jack Black(Now in the band Tenacious D, the recently released videos "Orange County" and "Shallow Hal", and also on older movies such as "Saving Silverman" and "The Cable Guy"), and Bob Odenkirk and David Cross themselves who can be seen in many things. One particulary place you can notice David Cross this summer is in "Men in Black 2" as the video store owner Newton. So good-bye and pleasant viewing.
on January 20, 2002
Everyone loves sketch comedy, be it Kids in the Hall, Benny Hill, or Monty Python. But wait, where's our contribution? America? Hello? HBO provided one, ever so briefly to us that became a bit of a phenomenon. Mr. Show with Bob and David. It's a bit hard to describe, there's no recurring characters, and it's offensive as all get out. But it's all good. Mr. Show is the sketch comedy show that leaves flaming bags of human feces on doorsteps of other sketch comedy shows, not satisfied with dog poo. HBO's allowance of crude language and material allowed Bob, David, and co. free reign to be as offensive as any of their standup acts, and not have to apologise for any of it. See sketches such as the Satanist religion network, Show us your Weenis, or The New San Francisco. After watching this set, you'll find yourself surprised on two counts, that some of these guys were allowed to work again, and that most of them you watch on TV on 2 to 3 shows a week. What's also surprising is that even though the show has been out of production for 3 years it's still referenced often when one of the cast members wants to do a personal appearance. Highly recommended, if only for a glimpse into what kind of damage American sketch comedy can do against the big boys of Britain.
on September 27, 2002
Obviously, not everyone is going to love Mr. Show. Not everybody loves Raymond, or even Lucy. In fact, if you are a fan of HBO original comedies like "Sex and the City" or "Arliss", you are probably not the kind of person who is going to love Mr. Show. Still, those with even the mildest affinity for the unfortunately short-lived program are going to enjoy taking a break from their Code-Orange CNN vigils to meet an inept multi-ethnic terrorist group who are too disorganized to actually hate anyone, much less plan an attack. Sketches like this make a person wonder just how much good Odenkirk and Cross could have done with the steaming pile of current events we've been wading through in the past year. (Of course, we may have known if only Odenkirk's sketch comedy "Next!" had not been passed over by Fox due to a lack of "hooks", which presumably translates into "no Kelly Clarkson appearances".) This duo is probably responsible for many of the laughs you've had in the past two decades, whether they were from Odenkirk's turn as a Saturday Night Live writer during the Second Coming era of 1986 through 1991 - or from Cross' television and film appearances as the Funny Bald Chap Whose Name No One Ever Seems to Remember.
The combination of writing and performance talent not only works, but raises the bar. Instead of relying upon direct parodies, they take the surrealist approach of Monty Python (there's that name again! Perhaps you have to have a Brit's understanding of the Python Gestalt to see the similarity) and run amok with vague archetypes. In their parallel universe, no one plays Bill Clinton; Clinton does not actually exist, but becomes a host of white-haired, disinterested, forgettable politicoes with names like Guy "Whitey" Corngood. After all, the concept of celebrity has little meaning in comedy. At times, they get ahead of themselves; the touching song written to honor victims of the Devastator, the world's cruelest roller coaster, seems to be a risky parody of the post-Columbine fracas...until one discovers that the sketch was performed two years before Columbine actually occurred. ("The Devastator" may have belonged to season 3 or 4; so if you've never seen the show, apologies on the spoiler.)
Odenkirk and Cross simply have as great an understanding of the way American culture always has and always will work as Chapman and Cleese did in their own place and time. They, like any other pair of humans, may not bowl a perfect game every time; but if you purchase this DVD, I am at least 67% sure you will not be disappointed.
on October 2, 2002
I pre-ordered the DVD and came here only to read the reviews from those who gave it only one star, just to see what people didn't like about it.
I have given tapes of the shows to my friends to watch, and there was a definite "adjustment period" for some of them, people whom I thought were going to really enjoy it. I think that maybe it takes more than one viewing for some people to really get it-- the people that didn't like this were those that had rented it and only watched it once.
Honestly I can say that it will appeal to a particular type of humor that is extremely select and has a great deal to do with what you were doing in the 90s and what you thought was funny then. Lest we forget, SNL wasn't terribly funny then even though it produced supposedly comic genii like Adam Sandler et al. It won't appeal to the Sandler idea of funny, more to the Onion/Brunching Shuttlecocks idea of funny.
Funny comes and goes, but proof of how staying many of the Mr.Show sketches are is in the fact that they are still performing a couple of them in "Hooray for America", the Mr.Show Live tour. Admittedly when I attended the audience was completely Mr.Show fans, so there was the air of an "inside joke" most of the time, but nonetheless, their approach is always fresh and almost exalted in its unwillingness to succumb to the current "sacred cow" attitude toward American pop-culture.
In short, get this and watch it over and over, and you will love it and them.
on December 29, 2002
It is not surprising that this show was cancelled. It was the funniest most intelligent comedy ever to come through the idiot box. This show goes beyond "funny." It's liquid-concentrate (now available in pill form) comedy. A lot of people come down hard on people for "not getting" the show, and blaming it on their low-brow sense of humor, which is probably a bit harsh. After all, one's own sense of humor should be a place where ideas can hang out...and do whatever.
Suggestion 1. Don't force this on people. They'll end up not liking you and you'll end up watching Mr. Show all tensed up hating yourself for showing it to someone who probably laughs whenever someone does the Homer Simpson "Woo-Hoo!"
Suggestion 2. Don't bother explaining any of the sketches to people who haven't seen it. They'll judge you.
Suggestion 3. Forget what I said about going easy on the people who don't get it. They're dumb, and they probably should begin coming to grips with it. WOO-HOO!
Finally, if you're thinking of getting this DVD for someone as a gift, make sure you fully understand their sense of humor. For example, if they've ever started a sentence with "Did you see the episode of Everybody Loves Raymond where..." buy them something else...like a fish tank or new VW Beetle. They'll love it/them.
on June 7, 2002
I don't think I can accurately describe Mr. Show to someone who's never seen it--you really do have to see it to understand what all the fuss is about. If you like subtle comedy, look elsewhere! This is over-the-top farce! Lots of foul language is used and common taboos are totally ignored (e.g. homosexuality, drugs, religion, terminal illness, child abuse, etc.) It's absurd and eerie--sometimes the depth and realism of the characters portrayed can be downright creepy, which makes it all the more funny to those with a twisted sense of humor (like me).
The show is done in front of a live audience, but many segments are taped on location. There's no particular formula to it--it's all for effect (read: filmed on a shoe-string budget). Fortunately, they had some very skilled editors working on the finished product, allowing every scene to brilliantly and seamlessly segue into the next. Good luck keeping up with the rapid-fire pace on first viewing! The show gets even better upon repeated viewing.
The DVDs are very good. The bonus features are a... er... bonus. Several promotional spots are included, as well as "FUZZ: The Musical (Featuring Ronnie Dobbs)" and "Best of Mr. Show"--a newscast that appears to be dated sometime in the late 70's or early 80's that has been dubbed-over by Bob and David with some very funny dialogue and cut-scenes thrown in. There's more, but nothing that tops the show itself.
One very MINOR complaint: When you select an episode, the DVD asks you to choose if you would like audio commentary for the episode. It wouldn't be so annoying if it didn't default to "Yes". The show is much funnier with no commentary (it's a little droll and often doesn't blend well with the scene that's being shown). That is not to say that I don't like the commentary--I do appreciate the fact that they included it. Bob and David slip in and out of some very funny characters, and they point out a lot of interesting things about the sets, characters and subtle touches you simply wouldn't notice otherwise.
I give the show itself 5 stars, the DVDs 3.5 stars. Highly recommended! I can't wait for seasons 3 and 4!
on May 21, 2002
Now I can lend my tapes to people without making them sign a contract in blood to give me their firstborn if they lose or damage the tapes. I'm actually amazed that the show stayed on the air for four seasons. Most shows I like this much only last one. If you haven't seen it, you're likely to appreciate the humor if you like Monty Python, Kids in the Hall, SCTV, Larry Sanders, Spinal Tap, or Get a Life. The skits blend into each other, sort of like Monty Python, but more like that MTV show The State. Bob and David and all of the supporting actors are incredibly talented, and the writing is great - they somehow managed to get Emmy nominations for writing and for Ronnie Dobbs' "Fuzz: The Musical" song. This is pretty impressive, considering the fact that only a couple dozen people were watching. There is a downside... I can't stand it when people get so geeky about a show that they quote it to each other constantly, but Mr. Show did it to me. Don't get the DVD if you don't want to make [total jerk]of yourself in public when you meet other Mr. Show fans.