Odenkirk and Cross come in peace.
The cold open of With Bob and David
contains a line that reminds us to rid ourselves of all expectation: "This ain't no show, mister." But as Bob Odenkirk and David Cross's four-episode Netflix sketch special continues, it's hard to shake the warm, fuzzy feeling that Mr. Show
is indeed back. From the cast of past featured players to the absurd concepts to the seamless transitions, it's everything we loved from Bob and David when they first appeared onscreen together 20 years ago.
Before landing their HBO show, the duo worked on The Ben Stiller Show
and Odenkirk had stints writing for Saturday Night Live
and Late Night With Conan O'Brien
. After Mr. Show
ended in 1998, the comedians became household names separately, Cross in his role as Tobias Fünke on Arrested Development
and Odenkirk playing Saul Goodman on Breaking Bad
. So much has changed in the comedians' lives and careers—and in comedy and humor more broadly—that it's no wonder they would ask us to come to With Bob and David
The first episode opens on Paul F. Tompkins and Jill Talley, who are soon joined by John Ennis, Jay Johnston, and Brian Posehn—a mini Mr. Show
reunion. They don't miss a beat. In the first 30 minutes the humor ranges from the silly (a poop joke) to the bizarre (a Jewish-freelance-pope-who-works-from-home joke), which is classic Bob and David. Over the course of the series not every sketch is a bona fide home run. Still, it's a joy to see everyone back together—with new additions, including Paget Brewtser and Keegan Michael-Key. And when Cross and Odenkirk do hit it out of the park, it's a homer of Kyle Schwarber proportions. One of the best sketches of the series is a surprising and hilariously fresh spin on the good cop/bad cop concept. And seeing the duo tackling contemporary issues and pop culture is one of the show's greatest delights. "Shark Kitchen," another standout, parodies a Chopped
-like reality show perfectly.
For longtime fans of Mr. Show
, the cherry on this mustardayonnaise sundae is the surprise fifth episode, an hour-long behind-the-scenes documentary about the creation of the new series. It gives invaluable insight into the writers' room, Cross and Odenkirk's history of collaboration, and how exactly Tompkins kept the live audience warm between sketches.
The whole series (doc included) clocks in at only three hours, and is extremely rewatchable. Something Cross once exclaimed during a Mr. Show
sketch about Ding Dong Burgers certainly applies to With Bob and David
: Fuuuck—this little motherfucker's tasty!