It was a convergence of comedy giants when three alumni from both Mr. Show and W/ Bob and David sat down and chewed the fat for a recent episode of the Comedy Bang! Bang! podcast. Host Scott Aukerman welcomed co-creators Bob Odenkirk and David Cross to talk about their return to the TV sketch comedy foray as well as recount some anecdotes from their early years on the landmark HBO series. (Frequent Comedy Bang! Bang! guest Paul F. Tompkins was also on hand to provide some behind-the-scenes stories while his pious doppelganger Reverend Robert Parsimony bemoaned the War on Christmas.)
Between the two interviews, the episode is packed to the Earwolf-ian gills with behind-the-scenes tidbits — like Bob didn’t want the new show to reference Mr. Show at all and that Portlandia‘s Fred Armisen can do a killer Odenkirk impression. With so many stories shared, here are five things we learned from this Bob and David-tastic episode of the Comedy Bang! Bang! podcast.
1. W/ Bob and David was originally going to be a live tour.
Before the show was underway, Bob and David were planning on doing a live tour for a 20-year Mr. Show reunion. But after sussing out the workload, rehearsal time, and travel, they realized they might just as well do a standalone series. And as a bonus, according to Bob, they wouldn’t be inundated with fans from the cities they just performed in, asking, “When are you coming to our town?”
2. With cast members older and wiser, pre-production went very smoothly.
Considering it had been a decade-and-a-half since Mr. Show went off the air, David remarked that there was a bit of trepidation prior to the first writers meeting. However, the cast immediately fell into their old dynamic with the added benefit of experience and maturity, which quashed any fears of hurting someone’s feelings if their sketches were shot down.
3. But that didn’t stop Scott from pranking Bob in the first meeting.
In the interim between series, careers flourished and responsibilities increased — especially for Bob, who became involved with many projects as a leading actor and producer. But that level of success comes with a multitude of interruptions, which Bob and the crew discovered when his phone wouldn’t stop ringing even before the first script was read. And as Paul F. Tompkins revealed on the podcast, Scott used Bob’s frequent phone calls as an excuse to pull one of his patented pranks. Just as Bob began to settle into the meeting, Scott called Bob’s phone as a playful dig to everyone’s favorite TV lawyer.
4. Scott, Bob, and David each have different favorite sketches.
During Bob’s interview, he related that his favorite W/ Bob and David sketches were “Salesman” and “Extra Beatle,” the latter possessing a level of silliness he doesn’t get to see anywhere else. David chose “Better Roots” as his favorite fully-formed sketch but mentioned Bob as the Pope made him laugh the hardest during the editing process. As for Scott, he enjoyed the infamous “C-Word” sketch the most and said writer Dino Stamatopoulos created such a definitive sketch that the subject should never be touched again.
5. Nobody wanted to waste time and energy on linking sketches.
One of the defining aspects of Mr. Show was how well the main sketches were linked together as a cohesive whole. But that was a grueling process for the writing team who, after hours agonizing, relied on several “pulling out from the TV” links into the next sketch. This time around, everyone agreed that they wouldn’t spend nearly as much time working toward that perfect link and instead shifted their focus to the main sketches.