Keegan Michael Key
Actor, sketch comedian (Key & Peele)
I was at graduate school hanging out with some friends, and a re-run of it came on; I remember noticing the way they transitioned from sketch to sketch and thinking wait, what was that? What the hell did they just do? Years later, I talked to Bob about it, telling him how incredible I thought the way they went from one scene to the next was so graceful. And he kinda went, "Yeah, we realized later we never really had to do any of that. I don’t know why we did." [Laughs]
I'm sure I’m the 17,000th person to pick this, but my favorite has to be "The Audition." I'll argue that this is one of the top five sketches ever written — not just for Mr. Show, top five ever written. It has that wonderful quality of letting you know what's coming next, because they've set it up so well and the scene’s comedic game is so strong, but you still don't know what they're going to say. It almost feels like an old Second City sketch, but with this surrealist bent to it. For me, that was a big moment: Oh, you can keep the classic and the new?
There's also the one where Odenkirk is playing Jesus, and Cross is one of his followers who’s trying to get him to expand his profit margins and maximize his potential. "Jesus, what if I told you that the meek could inherit something a lot better than the Earth?" So funny. Tom Kenny's Satanic televangelist would be up there as well…again, simple premise but the execution of it is perfect. And the rock band that kept bragging about how completely and savagely rock and roll they are, while they are watching videotapes of themselves having sex with each other. What's the name? Right, Wyckyd Sceptre!
And there's one sketch that…I don't even remember what it's about, but there's a character in it called Borden Grote. I've always thought that name was hilarious on its own. I remember when I was on Mad TV, we were trying to come up with names for characters and they kept saying "Just use the random name generator." I was like, really, that's a thing? So we'd go into that site and just have it spit out names, and I remember thinking "None of these are as funny as Borden Grote."
Whenever I find myself getting into conversations about Mr. Show, it's almost always with other artists: comedians, writers, actors. You had the stage element, the transitional stuff, and solid sketch writing, and there was no favoring one over the other. Bob and Dave inspired a whole generation to put sillier stuff into comedy. And it gave us permission to mix shit up.