In this special Bad edition of Throwback Thursday, Joseph Harper looks back at Bob ‘Saul’ Odenkirk’s alternative comedy career. //
Before he joined the cast of Breaking Bad as unscrupulous attorney Saul Goodman, Bob Odenkirk carved himself out a broad and varied career in the alternative undercurrents of American comedy. Stints with Second City, Saturday Night Live, The Ben Stiller Show, Late Night with Conan O’Brien among others culminated in 1995 with the creation of Mr Show with Bob and David.
Created with fellow comic David Cross, and employing the talents of future luminaries like Sarah Silverman, Scott Aukerman, Jerry Minor, Jack Black, Paul F Tompkins and Brian Posehn; Mr Show was a kind of gen x Flying Circus – a heady mix of satire and irreverence.
Often transgressive and occasionally offensive, the show’s subject matter and self-indulgent form meant it never found a huge audience over it’s four season run. But through DVDs and now the internet, Mr Show endures as a cult favourite.
These are a few of my favourite Mr Show sketches (most have swearing and are probably NSFW).
Odenkirk’s casual deadpan carries this one. Along with strong support from the Mr Show cast. Look at Paul F. Tompkins!
The Fairsley Difference
“We have apples”. Really great smear tactic. Odenkirk delivers a lot of these faux advertisements with the same shit eating, used car salesman grin that makes Saul Goodman so excellent on Bad.
The Story of Everest
Masters of pushing something funny so long that it stops being funny but ballsy enough to endure till it becomes funny again. I love a long sketch.
“Life is precious. And god. And the bible.” Apparently after this sketch aired, Bob Odenkirk saw a real episode of Jerry Springer where some audience member quoted Jerry Minor word for word in earnest.
I especially like the two rappers in this. The way it works its way into the sketch from some other place entirely is a Mr Show trademark too.
I mean, just look at that little sausage man!
Comedy doesn’t get much more stressful than this. I’m especially fond of the ending which feels as though Bob and David are actively trying to make you feel like an idiot for watching the whole thing.
The final one is a bit lazy and to be honest feels like something of a let down, but the first fake ads are really really great. Bob and David as wise guys in the burger joint and the mum who swears are excellent.
‘Bad Week’ is a weeklong celebration of Breaking Bad ahead of the launch of its prequel Better Call Saul on Lightbox next week.
The Bulletin is The Spinoff’s acclaimed daily digest of New Zealand’s most important stories, delivered directly to your inbox each morning.