Sunday, December 9, 2007

Mr. Show-First and Second Seasons

Mr. Show-First and Second Seasons
Hey, everybody, it's Bob and David on DVD! In 1995 comics Bob Odenkirk and David Cross were simply "two people you've never seen before." Since then, each has insidiously entered the mainstream with appearances on TV (Just Shoot Me, The Drew Carey Show) and movies (Scary Movie 2, Dr. Dolittle 2, Men in Black 2). But to quote Odenkirk's bio (which is included on the first disc), Mr. Show is the thing you should see if you want to check them out. Like the late, lamented The Ben Stiller Show, on which both toiled, and Monty Python before that, this midnight-hour HBO series gave a subversive twist to the traditional sketch comedy series. Classic characters include Cross's white-trash poster boy Ronnie Dobbs, the superstar arrestee on a "Cops"-like TV show. Totally out of left field is an infomercial for an instructional video series by "Van Hammersly, Champion Billiard Player," who at one point re-creates the 1974 Kentucky Derby with billiard balls (one of the equines is named "If Mandy Patinkin Was a Horse"). Punch lines? Mr. Show doesn't need no stinking punch lines, as one sketch flows into another. Bob and David are ably supported by, among others, Second City veteran Jill Talley, Tom Kenny (the voice of Spongebob Squarepants!), Brian Posehn (the creepy guy on Just Shoot Me), Mary-Lynn Rajskub (from The Larry Sanders Show), Sarah Silverman ("Greg the Bunny"), and a pre-Saturday Night Live Jerry Minor, who enlivens one episode commentary with an impeccable Billy Dee Williams imitation. As with the Velvet Underground's following, Mr. Show fans make up with fervor what they lack in numbers. According to Mr. Show's own Web site, "non-fans outnumber our fans by the cajillions," but this essential set should change that. --Donald Liebenson

No comments: