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Bob and David bring ‘Mr. Show’ to Portland

Mr. Show

Crystal Ballroom


Oct. 10 7 p.m. & 10 p.m.

18+ w/ID


“Kid, you’ve got guts, the guts of a man who’s fired.” That one doesn’t ring a bell? How about, “I’ll be back in 10 minutes. I’ve got to take a crap.” Well, if you don’t recognize these classic lines, don’t fret: There is still hope. That’s right, kids: Mr. Show is coming to town with their sketch comedy show “Hooray For America!”

Who is this Mr. Show of which I speak? Well, it’s the name applied to a group of comedians (think Monty Python) that centers around Bob Odenkirk and David Cross. They rose to a low level of fame through their short-lived television sketch show that aired on HBO, usually on Sundays at midnight or some other absurd time like that.

Unlike other sketch shows, Mr. Show strays from the easy jokes made at the expense of celebrities in the form of bad impressions and more often than not shies away from repetitive characters. Instead, they opt for a half-hour show that combines previously recorded segments with sketches performed live on stage, all held together by clever segues.

While the small cast tackled most roles, “Mr. Show” still featured its fair share of cameos. Ben Stiller, Janeane Garofalo, Conan O’Brien, Sarah Silverman, Maynard Keenan of the band Tool and Jack Black have all appeared on the show. The refreshing thing about this show/troupe is that its leaders, Odenkirk and Cross, were previously virtually unrecognizable.

Cross paid the bills as a stand-up comic and was a writer on the short-lived “Ben Stiller Show” in 1992. Odenkirk was a cast member on said short-lived show following a four-year run as a writer on “Saturday Night Live.”

The rest on these boys is a little hazy as almost all of their background is shrouded in comedy.

A new book, “Mr. Show: What Happened,” written by Odenkirk’s wife, has just been released through their Web site and claims that it tells the story. Sadly, this writer’s copy has not yet arrived in the mail.

What has arrived in my hands, however, is the “Mr. Show” DVD set, encompassing the first two seasons. So, if you weren’t lucky enough to tape them off television, now you can watch them in the pristine quality of digital video. Two seasons sounds like a lot, but it’s really only 10 30-minute episodes, complete with commentaries from the entire cast, the original commercials, a collage of highlights from the third and fourth seasons, and a rare video of their act before it was placed on HBO.

All right, I covered the men themselves, their television show and their new book. What about “Hooray for America,” you’re asking? I’ll tell you. The show will closely resemble the television version, complete with both live and pre-recorded segments. A few old characters have been alluded to, namely the R&B sensations “Three Times One Minus One,” the mayor of Hollywood, and perhaps even their most recognizable character, Ronnie Dobbs.

Dobbs, played by Cross, is a character who becomes famous after being arrested in every state on the television show “Cops.” Dobbs was one of the only recurring characters on the show and is also the basis for the completed, but yet-to-be-released motion picture “Run Ronnie Run.” Those who followed the show will be happy to learn that cast members John Ennis and Brian Posehn will be touring with the show. Ennis is the stalky, hippy-looking guy who yells very loudly. Posehn is the tall creepy guy who pops up on various television sitcoms from time to time.

Perhaps they will reprise their roles as hair-metal legends Titannica. Who knows? Stephanie Courtney, who I think appeared in the fourth season due to the fact that I never saw season four and I’ve never seen her, will round out the cast.

So, check out “Hooray for America.” If you’re a little leery, check out the DVD set first or maybe take a look at their official Web site,

Odenkirk and Cross are very funny. I swear. They are very, very funny.