We all love Amy Schumer, everyone knows how brilliant Key & Peele are, and you’ve watched Will Ferrell’s classic SNL sketches countless of times. But in this weekly column Sketchy MVPs, The Laugh Button shines a light on comedians from our favorites shows and troupes who don’t often get rightful credit for their contributions to sketch comedy.
We’re pretty excited for David Cross’ new stand-up special, Making America Great Again, which just arrived on Netflix today. So with that in mind, let’s look back to when most of us first discovered Cross’ greatness… no, way before Arrested Development… no, not in the Alvin and the Chipmunks films… seriously?
We’re of course talking about Mr. Show, the ground breaking HBO sketch series he co-created and co-starred with Bob Odenkirk with. During the course of four seasons in the 90s, Cross and Odenkirk created truly off-kilter, bizarre yet genius sketches. Some of their premises were so stupid that somehow they became brilliant. And part of what made these ideas work was Cross’ ability to sell the most ludicrous lines with a straight face (and sometimes a silly accent).
Cross and Odenkirk had so many classic moments on Mr. Show (there’s a reason so many were excited for the two’s Netflix reunion) that it was hard to pick just seven sketches. Oh well, guess we’ll just have to do a Sketchy MVP on Odenkirk in the near future as well… until then, check out a few of our favorite moments of Cross’ work on Mr. Show.
The concept of an actor going into an audition with… this is so simple that it’s complex. The secret ingredient behind this sketch, though, is Cross’ brilliant performance, making the audience feel as uncertain as the sketch’s casting agents.
This simple premise of a sketch is chockfull of great performances (and not just from Cross and Odenkirk, but also Paul F. Tompkins, Brian Posehn and Jay Johnston). Yet Cross steals the entire scene with a simple, heartbroken shrug when he realizes Odenkirk’s character went skinning dipping with his crush from the seventh grade.
“Third Wheel Legend”
The idea of a newlywed couple fighting over the fact that the groom invited his best friend to join them on their honeymoon is funny enough. However, this sketch takes a turn for the loveably weird once Cross pulls out the guitar and sings about the legend of… the THIRD WHEEL! Also a great example of Mr. Show’s love of breaking the fourth wall multiple times within a sketch (Oh, and there’s a gospel choir involved too… sorry, spoiler).
Who hasn’t gotten nervous while trying to go through customs with a ton of pot hidden in your shampoo after a trip to Amsterdam? Ok, maybe we haven’t actually done that, but we’d imagine we’d react the same way Cross does in this sketch.
Cross speaking in a gay Southern voice talking about multiple relapses into homosexuality… what more do you need to know?
“Fuzz: The Musical”
How could we have a list of David Cross’ best moments and not include a Ronnie Dobbs sketch? The stereotype of almost every criminal on COPS is arguably at his best, though, when he comes off as a perfectionist in the studio while recording a musical.
“The Joke: The Musical”
Here’s another musical sketch from Mr. Show… where Cross’ leather pants salesman character ends up getting his dick stuck in a milking machine… and yes, that is Jack Black.