Posted on Monday, August 11, 2014
I don’t usually use this space to recommend specific things you should check out anymore, but in this case I’ll make an exception.
Longtime Readers™ will be aware that, like most comedy nerds, I’m a huge fan of Mr. Show,the pioneering HBO sketch comedy show created and helmed by Bob Odenkirk and David Cross back in the ’90s. Mr. Show never really found the audience it deserved, which is a crime. But other comics recognized its brilliance, and it became one of the most influential comedy programs of the modern era.
Anyway, when Mr. Show ended after four seasons, Odenkirk and Cross spent the next few years trying to bring the Mr. Show sensibility to the big screen. The result was several film projects that all died in varying stages of completion. One, Run Ronnie Run, actually made it to a (straight to DVD, but still) release, but was kneecapped creatively by behind-the-scenes infighting that pushed Bob and David away from the creative direction of their own movie. Others died at earlier stages of the process, failing to attract enough studio money or interest to go from a draft script to a complete movie. After going through this dispiriting cycle a few times, the Mr. Show ensemble eventually gave up on trying to make a movie and went their separate ways.
Which was where the story ended, until last year, when Bob and David (along with Mr. Show alumnus Briah Posehn) dusted off two of the scripts they had written back in those days and released them as a book, Hollywood Said NO! Orphaned Film Scripts, Bastard Scenes, and Abandoned Darlings from the Creators of Mr. Show. The bulk of Hollywood Said NO! is scripts for two of the proposed Mr. Show films: Hooray for America!, a dark satire about an underemployed comedian who becomes the unwitting front man for a plot by multinational corporation Globo-Chem to hollow out the Earth and use the dirt to build the first-ever exclusive, gated planet for the rich; and Bob and David Make a Movie, a more sketch-oriented comic tour through the absurdities of trying to do business in Hollywood.
All of which is cool. But I’m not here to tell you to buy the book. I’m here to tell you to buy the audiobook, because it takes Hollywood Said No! to a completely different level.
See, when the time came to turn Hollywood Said No! into an audiobook, Odenkirk, Cross and Posehn did something really cool: instead of just reading the book into a microphone, they actually reunited much of the cast of Mr. Show to perform the two scripts as if they were radio plays. So you’ll be listening to David play a character, and then someone else will start talking and you’ll realize it’s a Mr. Show vet like Jay Johnston, or Scott Aukerman, or Paul F. Tompkins, or John Ellis. They even went to the trouble of adding in sound effects and ambient audio to give different scenes a different feel. It’s all very well done, and very funny.
So, if you liked Mr. Show, what you’ve got in this audiobook is something like nearly four hours of new, never-before-heard Mr. Show material to enjoy. It’s brilliant, go buy it, the end.
This entry (and everything else on this blog) was written by Jason A. Lefkowitz. Did you like it? Subscribe to this blog's feed to get new stuff the moment it's posted. Want to read more like this? Hit the archives for more than ten years' worth of essays, or jump right to The Best of Just Well Mixed. Angry and wanting to know who to punch? Here's more information about me, including how to get in touch by email and various social networks.