Mr. Show: Hooray for America!

After months of wrangling and date changes, HBO finally released the first DVD collection of Mr. Show with Bob and David, and they’ve been selling like crazy. And the first-ever touring version of the show — Mr. Show: Hooray for America! includes original cast members Bob Odenkirk, David Cross, John Ennis, Brian Posehn and Stephanie Courtney — has been selling out venues around the country. (An 11 p.m. show has been added to Saturday night’s Electric Factory stand; the 7:30 is sold out.) So how’s Bob Odenkirk feeling?

Well, a little bummed out.

For one thing, there’s the fact that he and Cross — whose chunky-specced visage might be familiar from Just Shoot Me or the Men in Blacks — now live on opposite coasts. Cross moved to NYC not long after Mr. Show finished its fourth and final season. “It’s really hard,” Odenkirk says from his car. “We still want to work together, but it’s very difficult. So much great work gets done with the two of you in the room.”

And then there’s the fact that Run Ronnie Run, the much-anticipated, much-delayed Mr. Show movie, is still sitting on a shelf in New Line’s vaults. But here’s a twist — now Bob and David don’t want you to see it, either. “The director cut a really crappy version of the movie,” Odenkirk explains. “It doesn’t test well, and we agree with the test audience.” A funnier version lurks inside, both feel, but so far New Line has declined to back the duo’s request that they be allowed to recut the movie. Failing that, “we hope the movie is forgotten and left alone. As far as we’re concerned, it’s gone, and thank god. If you were to see it, you’d say ŒThat’s not a very good movie.’ You might even say ŒWhat happened to Bob and David? They used to be funny!’ and that would really bum us out.”

In the meantime, the two are planning another tour leg for early next year — the stage show incorporates old sketches as well as segments drawn from an unproduced screenplay about “a corporation that [openly] runs an actor for president” — and hoping for a Hooray for America! movie. Odenkirk is also pitching sketch show pilots to so-far unresponsive networks. (He’s been sending writers the tape of Next!, which includes several Mr. Show vets although not Cross, to marshal support for future projects; the pilot has some bright spots, but it immediately falls victim to the familiar targets and quickly-expiring topicality that Mr. Show so ably dodged.) HBO at least has seen the light, and is enthusiastically prepping DVDs of the remaining Mr. Show seasons, but network execs are still dragging their heels. “There’s a generation gap,” Odenkirk says. “They have never heard of us, and if they do watch some of what we do, they are completed mystified, and somewhat angered. It’s like if you show a monkey a banana, and then you hide it — the monkey’s not gonna go, ŒOh wow, you tricked me, that’s so cool!’ The monkey’s gonna go, &#140Fuck you, you asshole, give me the goddamn banana.’ That’s what the 60-year-old monkeys who run New Line and the various networks do when they see our comedy. They go ŒNo. No, and you’re making me mad.'”

    • Josh Kruger is an award-winning writer and editor-in-chief of Philadelphia Weekly. His past work includes years as a journalist with Philadelphia Weekly, his PW column “The Uncomfortable Whole” winning multiple awards, including the Society of Professional Journalists’ First Place award for newspaper commentary in both 2014 and 2015. Josh has written for a variety of local and national publications, and his work often includes his perspective as someone with lived experience with HIV, homelessness, poverty, trauma, and addiction along with expert analysis from years of experience in journalism and public service following a five year stint in local government communications. He is a member of Philly’s local LGBTQ community, a parishioner at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, a militant bicyclist, and resident of the Point Breeze section of the city with his cat, a senior tom named Mason.

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