Believe it or not, the cult favorite sketch series Mr. Show will be having its 20th anniversary in 2015. The two years leading up to the milestone will be full of exciting stuff from Mr. Show stars/creators Bob Odenkirk and David Cross, who are working together again after a few years apart. Mr. Show writer Scott Aukerman announced this week that Odenkirk and Cross are performing a sketch together on his IFC show Comedy Bang! Bang!, set to air this summer. In addition to that, the duo is releasing a book of unproduced screenplays together, going on a mini-standup/book tour to promote it, and performing new material at Tenacious D’s massive comedy-rock gathering Festival Supreme this fall.
Inspired by all the new Bob and David stuff coming down the pipeline, we thought it was the appropriate time to rank the 24 (the highest number) best Mr. Show sketches of all time in this definitive list that you can’t possibly argue with because it’s perfect.
24. Blowing Up the Moon (Season 3, Episode 6)
There’s a lot going on in “Blowing Up the Moon,” and all the pieces work together really well. Based on an idea by writer Mike Upchurch, it’s a sketch loaded with funny stuff but the funniest part has to be Bob Odenkirk’s jingoistic country singer C.S. Lewis Jr.
23. Megaphone Crooners (Season 2, Episode 6)
A fun sketch about 1920s megaphone crooners that’s an excellent example of Mr. Show’s spot-on genre parodies.
22. Lifeboat (Season 4, Episode 1)
Jerry Springer on a lifeboat. The highlight of the sketch (and maybe the entire episode) is easily Jerry Minor’s line, “Life is precious, and God, and the Bible.” Bill Odenkirk, who had the initial idea for the sketch, says he and others from the show saw an actual Springer episode a year or two later in which a Mr. Show fan stood up in the audience and quoted the scene.
21. Marilyn Monster Pizza Parlor (Season 4, Episode 10)
David Cross’s excellent take-off on Marilyn Manson who, in the Mr. Show world, has endorsed his own family friendly pizza parlor.
20. Van Hammersly (Season 2, Episode 4)
I could watch Bob Odenkirk talk about old-timey movie stars and shoot pool all day.
19. F.F. Woodycooks (Season 2, Episode 1)
Based on Chicago ex-cop/TV host J.J. Bittenbinder, F.F. Woodycooks is a strong character piece for Bob Odenkirk and one of the best sketches from early in Mr. Show’s run.
18. Goodbye (Season 4, Episode 10)
The only Mr. Show sketch directed by David Cross, “Goodbye” is an absurd and somewhat poignant filmed piece that turns a relatable situation into something absurd.
17. Fuzz: The Musical (Season 3, Episode 2)
One of two Ronnie Dobbs sketches from the show, this one features some great music from the show’s resident composer Eban Schletter, which shows off the underrated vocal abilities of David Cross.
16. Thrilling Miracles (Season 2, Episode 1)
A great Bob sketch that sees him playing a demented British infomercial pitchman, selling and hitting people with a pan.
15. Monster Mash (Season 4, Episode 7)
Based on an actual Boston comedian David Cross knew who insisted he was abducted by aliens, “Monster Mash” gives 30 Rock’s “Werewolf Bar Mitzvah” a run for its money in the nichey world of “Monster Mash” parodies.
14. Gus Kryzinski, Night Janitor (Season 3, Episode 10)
Worth the price of admission for that shot of David Cross bursting out of the basketball bin.
13. The Joke: The Musical (Season 1, Episode 2)
One of the show’s many amusing musical sketches, this one features amazing performances from a young Jack Black, Meleva Barbula, and, of course, Bob Odenkirk as the milking machine.
12. Taint (Season 4, Episode 6)
Featuring the acting debut of Scott Aukerman’s taint.
11. Lie Detector (Season 3, Episode 3)
A simple but strong premise with great performances from the cast.
10. On the Spot News (Season 3, Episode 8)
The premise really sneaks up on you with this sketch, one of several news parodies from Mr. Show.
9. Mayostard / Mustardayonnaise / Mustmayostardayonnaise (Season 3, Episode 5)
Dueling mustard/mayonnaise combo commercials featuring a tour de force performance from Jay Johnston as Abraham Lincoln.
8. Spite Marriage (Season 4, Episode 7)
Written by Bill Odenkirk and Dino Stamatopoulos, this one takes something we’ve all seen before and blows it out into something unexpected and beautiful.
7. The Fad Three (Season 3, Episode 5)
The best of the two Beatles parodies from Mr. Show, “The Fad Three” is a well-executed and clever sketch that nails the look and tone of its subject matter.
6. Teardrop Awards (Season 4, Episode 9)
Some of the best moments from Mr. Show involve Bob Odenkirk singing, and it’s used to great effect in this sketch that stars Odenkirk and Cross as thinly-veiled parodies of Brian Wilson and Eric Clapton competing for a saddest song award.
5. Pre-Taped Call-In Show (Season 3, Episode 10)
Written by Brent Forrester and Dino Stamatopoulos from an idea Forrester had while working at The Ben Stiller Show, “Pre-Taped Call-In Show” is an intricate logic web of a sketch like Stamatopoulos’s well-known Mr. Show sketch “Audition” (see below).
4. Rapist (Season 4, Episode 4)
A short, simple sketch starring Bob Odenkirk as another unexplainably upbeat loser.
3. The Story of Everest (Season 4, Episode 4)
A polarizing sketch, “The Story of Everest” makes excellent use of Jay Johnston’s gifts as a physical comedian and really hits you over the head with its silly premise. In Naomi Odenkirk’s book, Mr. Show: What Happened?!, Bill Odenkirk called this one “the scene we talked about more than any other in the show, in more detail and at more length.”
2. Fairsley Foods (Season 4, Episode 4)
A series of dueling grocery store ads that grows unexpectedly dark and sad, this one’s packed with funny moments and a sketch that doesn’t get mentioned enough in “What’s the best Mr. Show sketch?” conversations.
1. Audition (Season 4, Episode 3)
Another complex sketch from writer Dino Stamatopoulos. Stamatopoulos and Brian Posehn have both tried performing this sketch at actual auditions, which, needless to say, doesn’t go great.