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

Jill Talley

Actress, Mr. Show cast member
I knew Bob from Chicago, when we did this stage show called "All You Can Eat and the Temple of Dooom"; there's an extra "o" in there so we wouldn't get sued. Robert Smigel was in it as well. Then we ended up in Second City together, which is how I fell in with those guys once we all ended up in L.A. years later. It felt like a progression of what we'd already been doing.

There are certain sketches that, to this day, crack me up whenever I start thinking about them. Bob and Dave doing the Three Times One Minus One music video still makes me laugh: "Damn. Daaaaaaamn!" [Laughs] Any time Bob had to sing, I was pretty much on the floor, but that song just kills me. But my all-time favorite, for my own selfish reasons, was the "Hail Satan Network" sketch. Tom and I had been doing those characters years before Mr. Show, this evangelist couple called the Pridgetts, at the Diamond Club. It was always fun to play them, and to flip it around like they were devil worshippers…it didn't take a lot of effort. I love the fact that David's character can’t get out of the wheelchair not because he's disabled, but because he's lazy. That, to me, is such a Mr. Show joke.

Everything has a format: Second City shows have a format, or at least they did while I was there; SNL has a format. But our show didn't have a format, really. Scenes bled in and out of each other, there were all these callbacks, sometimes a vague sort of theme would tie things together, or not. I feel like that was made it a game changer for a lot of folks, because it did transform how sketch shows were done. We'd film bits throughout the week, and it wasn't until we were taping the live show with the audience that we, the cast, would see the whole thing put together. And I can remember standing on the side and watch how a live piece would go into pre-taped piece, and it was like, "Oh, now I get it!" A joke or a sketch in the script that had confused my in the script two weeks ago suddenly made sense. It was like watching a puzzle being out together. A weird puzzle made by weird people.

It doesn't feel like it's been 20 years. I'll work with these young directors on projects now, and they'll tell me, "My parents would never let me stay up to watch Mr. Show, I had to see it from bootleg tapes from my friends." This whole generation grew up loving it, and now they're in positions of power where they can green light projects and start their own sketch groups. It's crazy to me.

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