My Favorite 'Mr. Show' Sketches: Maynard Keenan, Sarah Silverman Sound Off

Fans, comedians and cast members weigh in on their favorite bits In honor of the cult sketch show's 20th anniversary

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Tom Kenny

Comedian, Voice of Spongebob Squarepants, Mr. Show cast member
I'd started doing stand-up and ended up in Boston, so I knew David from there; later, when Jill [Talley] and I were doing a sketch show called The Edge, we'd see Bob and David on the lot, because The Ben Stiller Show was filming there as well. We knew these guys separately, but that was the first time we'd encountered them as a team. Eventually, we got folded into this other thing they started doing, and, well...20 years later, you and I are on the phone talking about it. Where did the time go?!?

Personally, I love the "Monsters of Megaphone" sketch: It's this really great idea that's well put together, really well-shot and it achieved pathos without seeming cloying. You know when comedians will do that thing where they're straining to make you sad — that Patch Adams kind of thing? [Laughs] It never does that. And the "Hail Satan Network" sketch came from this bit my wife and I would do before Mr. Show started, these holy rollers who were pitching for the Dark Lord. If I could be in any spin-off show, I'd want to do those characters. Should anyone from Amazon or Netflix be reading this... [laughs]. And I have a weakness for the "Superstar" opening sketch, because any time my wife plays a foul-mouthed harridan, I crack up.

It's funny to me how Mr. Show has become so much stronger in death than it was in life — it's the Obi-Wan of sketch shows! It was a real labor of love, and even people who don't know the history behind it, the way that Bob and David had to fight to get it on and how HBO sort of fumbled the ball at the end, they can tell that this was something that had a lot of creativity and sweat put into it. And the idea that you could take a simple premise — like, say, the "Change for a Dollar" or "Family Porno Store" skits — and see how insane and complex you could go with it, people really responded to that. They still do.

Right now, I have an 18-year-old kid who's sitting in the other room; that bump in Jill's belly in Season Two? He's hanging out on our couch. And it's not like he cares about what's on his dad's resumé, you know, but as we speak, he's watching Portlandia and I can hear him laughing. And Fred [Armisen] has more or less told me that, if it wasn't for Mr. Show, there would probably be no Portlandia. That just boggles my mind, the influence and the life this thing has had. We were inspired by SCTV, other folks were inspired by us, and my son's generation is inspired by Fred and Carrie [Brownstein]. And 20 years later, somebody from Rolling Stone is calling me up to talk about it. Where did the time go?!?

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