Bob Odenkirk’s Genius

Eight Mr. Show skits that prove Bob Odenkirk is a genius

With Better Call Saul coming out, I thought I’d prove Bob Odenkirk is a genius with these skits from Mr. Show. It wasn’t difficult. You may think I’ve missed one, and you’re probably right.

  1. Progressive Pastor

In which Bob is the put-upon straight man to David Cross’s glass-eating slave-making lunatic. Bob’s humble decency good cheer balances the absurdity and strangely makes you want to see him fail.

  1. Mundee’s Mustmayostardayonaisse

This three-commercial sequence concludes with Bob controlled by the work he has to do spreading Mustardayonaisse and Mayostard while ignoring his daughter until she dies. The haunted melancholy here recalls Jean-Paul Sartre’s famous, depressing maxim that Hell is other condiments.

  1. Lie Detector

Again, Bob is playing the straight man to David and Paul F. Tompkins, who are baffled that he cannot tell a lie because he’s done everything they ask him. Again, Bob’s nonchalance makes the ensuing absurdity funnier.

  1. Nil’s Guitar School

Bob and David were so perfect at finding the right tones to play off of each other. In this case, Bob is a compassionate guitar school teacher whose compassion only goes so far, while David is a baffled sufferer of imminent death syndrome. The way hep-cat Bob keeps convincing David that he’s the greatest guitar player ever is played with masterful false enthusiasm. Bob excels at playing “nice guys” who are also complete phonies.

  1. The Dr. X Save the Earth Telethon

Bob is Dr. X, who is going to destroy the planet unless he gets his money, so he puts on a telethon. Because what this gregarious evil genius really wants to be is Jerry Lewis. My favorite part is when they have a fake Bob.

  1. Car Wash Change Thief Action Squad (starts at 1:45)

Bob was born to play Robert Stack types who tried to convince you that the world was a scary place through hokey reenactments. He mimicks the same sense of paranoid moralism. As the head of an action squad dedicated to catching punks who rob change at car washes, he is the reason we can sleep well at night,

  1. Take Back the Streets

As F.F. Woodycooks – the mustachioed vigilante ice cream serving crime-stick shaker – Bob gives perhaps the goofiest, most inventive performance in all of Mr. Show. Forget Better Call Saul. I want Better Call Woodycooks.


Van Hammersly – he does pool tricks and you can earn your GED by watching him. The smile, the clap, the old-school show business charm, and a pool table!