David Cross and Bob Odenkirk can’t call their Netflix miniseries, available to stream today, a Mr. Show reunion, but that doesn’t mean we can’t.
But With Bob and David isn’t just an occasion to celebrate the return of Cross and Odenkirk’s surreal brand of comedy, and to a much larger and more prestigious platform than mid-’90s HBO (this was before The Sopranos, or even Sex and the City, gave the network either prestige or the wider subscriber base that came with it). It’s also a chance to take stock of how enormously influential the oddball sketch series has proven in the two decades — almost to the date; Mr. Show premiered on November 3, 1995 — since it debuted.
Mr. Show‘s cast and writers’ room is now almost notorious for its sheer density of future stars; one of the great joys of re-watching old clips is catching a young Jack Black or Sarah Silverman, or listening for the voice of a pre-Comedy Bang! Bang! Scott Aukerman. Mr. Show wasn’t just significant in its own right — it’s also where a bunch of comedians and eventual collaborators refined their sensibility.
Here, we’ve tracked Mr. Show’s comic DNA through the wide cross-section of American comedy that now operates in its shadow, from hit web series to cult Adult Swim shows. It’s by no means comprehensive (for brevity’s sake, the list is mostly limited to projects with which alumni were directly involved rather than those they indirectly influenced), but it is a testament to how Mr. Show gave rise to an entire generation of comedy that was weirder, wilder, and more unpredictable than the one that came before it.