‘Mr. Show’: Bob Odenkirk Wishes He and David Cross Had Hired Writers Differently for the HBO Sketch Comedy

Bob Odenkirk is best known for his Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul characters. The 59-year-old plays the “criminal” attorney Saul in both shows, and his performance has earned him great acclaim.

Before all this, though, Odenkirk had a sketch comedy show with longtime pal David Cross called Mr. Show. He recently reminisced about the four-season HBO series, saying he wishes they hired writers differently.

The format of the HBO sketch comedy ‘Mr. Show’

Mr. Show is a sketch comedy series that stars Odenkirk and Cross. The show consists of various sketches that transition by a link in Monty Python’s Flying Circus fashion. For instance, if a character appeared in one episode in a minor role, they would come back in the next as a central character.

Mr. Show‘s audience was limited because it was a premium cable show. However, more audiences have learned of the series through DVD editions. Every episode of HBO’s Mr. Show began with an individual introducing the hosts. Mary Lynn Rajskub played the introduction role for the first two seasons.

However, after her departure, the series made the introductions random. The titles of the episodes were picked from the lines in the episodes. For instance, the episode “Bush is a P-–sy” was a quote in the series printed on one of the character’s shirts.

This was a common theme in the sketch show, except for “Eat Rotten Fruit From a S—ty Tree,” which was a line from a song in one of the episodes. Mr. Show also featured several celebrities who received Special Thanks at the end credits. The series first aired on November 3, 1995. After four seasons, Odenkirk and Cross bid audiences goodbye on October 26, 1998.

Bob Odenkirk wishes they hired female writers on ‘Mr. Show’

Female writers don’t get a lot of recognition. Although the practice is changing in recent times, Mr. Show demonstrates the past practice all too well. The series had a single female cast member, Jill Talley, but didn’t have any women on the production crew. Mr. Show also didn’t have female writers, something Odenkirk regrets.

In a recent interview with the Armchair Expert podcast, Odenkirk told cohost Dax Shepard that he wished they’d hired more female writers. Odenkirk talked about how the jokes made at the time about women were terrible. He noted he thinks about it differently now that he is older.

Shepard and Odenkirk discussed the night show monologues about singer Britney Spears and former White House staff member Monica Lewinsky — both prevalent women in the headlines at the time. Shepard revealed that he was shocked the shows would refer to either woman as sluts, noting that, at the time, he didn’t find it to be a red flag.

Odenkirk chimed in, saying, “Let me just talk about Mr. Show. I wish we’d hired one or two or three female writers. I don’t feel good about the fact that we didn’t.” The Breaking Bad star reiterated the importance of people seeing others like them in better positions. That way, those people can see that dreams are achievable.

Bob Odenkirk is working on a new project

Comedians David Cross and Bob Odenkirk of The Mr. Show perform together in 2013
David Cross and Bob Odenkirk of The Mr. Show in 2013 | Michael Tullberg/Getty Images

Odenkirk has made a name for himself in Hollywood with his drama role in Better Call Saul gaining further recognition. However, the Berwyn, Illinois, native seems deeply rooted in comedy, with most of his filmography centering around it. He even titled his recently published memoir Comedy Comedy Comedy Drama: A Memoir.

As Better Call Saul prepares to leave the air, Odenkirk already has a new project lined up. Speaking to The Chicago Tribune, he revealed that he is partnering with his collaborator and friend David Cross on a show called Guru Nation. The star called the new project “Mr. Show mixed with Arrested Development.”

Hopefully, the comedy duo will hire a female writer or two.

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