Sunday, April 06, 2008

Spotlight: My 10 favorite Mr Show sketches

A propos of absolutely nothing, here are ten of my favorite sketches from the greatest sketch comedy show of the past twenty years, complete with video. I've listed the sketches in chronological order:

Season 2, Episode 1: "Thrilling Miracles"

In its first season, Mr. Show was clearly still finding its way. There were some choice bits, but almost no out-and-out classics. But in the second season, the show came out swinging. The premiere's highlight was the extended "Thrilling Miracles" sketch, which begins as an innocuous infomercial about the new "Super-Pan" and gets increasingly more bizarre as it goes on- "the pan kisses you! Kiss the pan!"

Season 2, Episode 4: "Van Hammersly, Champion Billiard Player"

Clueless celebrities provided endless comedic fodder for the Mr. Show gang. Here, Bob Odenkirk plays a cheeseball billiards champ hawking a line of educational videos and toss off one of my all-time favorite Mr. Show lines: "That's when Lincoln said, 'don't diss my homies!'"

Season 3, Episode 2: "Cock Ring Warehouse"

I believe it was Molière who stated that the phrase "cock ring" is never not funny. In perhaps the best commercial spoof in Mr. Show's entire run, this sketch squeezes more laughs out of a minute than most current episodes of Saturday Night Live get from an entire show. Dig the cut-rate commercial aesthetic!

Season 3, Episode 2: "The Bob LaMonta Story"

Whenever I hear people complaining about the historical inaccuracies of an Oscar-bait biopic, all I can think of is this brilliant spoof of same. Strangely enough, the exaggerated "retarded" performances of Bob Odenkirk and Jill Talley are somehow more convincing than Juliette Lewis in The Other Sister.

Season 3, Episode 3: "The Altered State of Druggachusettes"

If I had to pick an all-time favorite episode in Mr. Show history, it would probably be this one, which featured such memorable bits as "Ventriloquist Wars" and the indelible image of "Choo Choo, the Hurkey Jurkey Dancer." But the show was never more on its game than it was here, in what was pretty much the last word in Sid and Marty Kroft parodies.

Season 3, Episode 5: "Swear to God"

Normally, swearing holy men ranks just below swearing grannies on the list of lazy comedic tropes, but leave it to Bob Odenkirk to pull it off perfectly. What really sells it is Bob's performance, tearing into his sermon without a trace of a wink, and being all the funnier for it. In the age of Rev. Jeremiah Wright, is Winton Dupree really that far removed from reality?

Season 3, Episode 7: "The Great Philouza"

You've got to love a show that devotes a full eight minutes to parodying Amadeus. At least, I do. Once again, the humor works largely through juxaposition- by taking the Amadeus template and adding innocuous marching band music and Gay Nineties fashions, the sketch is pretty priceless.

Season 3, Episode 10: "Titannica"

Of all the surreal images conjured up by Mr. Show, the most indelible was young Adam Jimmy, the metal fan who was hospitalized after a most gruesome suicide attempt. It's hard to say which is funnier- the sketch's twisted punchline, or Brian Posehn's monosyllabic work as the band's lead singer.

Season 4, Episode 2: "The Toenapper"

During its fourth and final season, Mr. Show began to get more inconsistent, but they still cranked out the occasional gem. I've always had a soft spot for this, a bit about the world's most inept kidnapper that keeps escalating in hilarity. The highlight of the series' last truly great episode.

Season 4, Episode 10: "Josh Fenderman"

The best sketch of Mr. Show final episode was also something of an anomaly in that series headliners Bob and David were almost completely absent. No matter- it's great stuff all the same, perfectly spoofing the already-familiar "True Hollywood Story" format for some big laughs. And who doesn't love Josh's stupid little dance?

Did I forget one of your favorites? Sound off in the comments.


Steve said...

I always liked the "Market Wars" sketch myself. "That's the Fairsly difference!"

I dunno, though -- I've never been too keen on "Druggachusetts." For my money, the single best episode was If You're Going to Write a Comedy Sketch, You're Going to Have Some Rat Feces in There, which may be one of the few perfect works of art produced in the 20th century.

Jose said...

Druggachusetts its overrated to me, and its on every dvd.
I like Blow up the moon, and the calling show one.

Adam Ross said...

Don't worry Paul, I love Drugachusetts as well, especially David's stupid British accent.

I love all these sketches, the only ones I would add are Wykyd Sceptre ("show me your weenis!") and the Bob's lie detector bit.

Jose said...

Lie detector is awesome too. I think i didn't care about druggachusetts, because i didn't see that show as a kid.

Paul C. said...

Thanks, Adam. I thought everyone had gone crazy there for a second.

I almost chose Market Wars and Wykkyd Sceptre for the list as well. The first just barely missed the cut, and I nixed Wykkyd Sceptre because I'd already chosen another sketch from that episode ("The Toenapper") and because I thought I had the metal parodies angle covered with "Titannica."

Still, nice to know I'm not alone in the Mr. Show love. Coming next week: the top 3 bits from the Tenacious D series!

Jose said...

I just rememeber the Hitler sketch.

Jerry said...

"Pre-Taped Call-In Show", "Audition", and "Talk-Show Audience at Sea" for me, please. Perfect sketches.

maximilian said...

Three Times One Minus One, "Eww Girl, Eww".
also, "Taint", if only for "Taint Misbehavin'.

Libby said...

No love for "The Story of Everest?" Watching Jay fall into those racks over and over....that's brilliant physical comedy!