This Ain’t No Show, Mister

W Bob and David

“And this ain’t no show, mister” is one of the lines in the opening sketch of With Bob and David, referencing their previous 90s sketch comedy cult-classic, Mr. Show. The claim that it is not the same as their previous show may be playing it safe for the expectations of long-term fans; but that is the only area where they play it safe. Each sketch contained within the four-episode season comes from an outlandish premise, always swinging for the fences. And like its predecessor, the sketches always find a way to tie into one another within each episode; whether it’s a character that crosses over from one sketch to a next (typically used as a punchline), or even a photograph on the wall that then becomes the next sketch. Across the episodes, these range from being utilized cleverly to just being a cute tie-in; but the joke is ever-present and is a reason why this sketch comedy is a cut above many of the other sketch shows out there – they are able to create built-in laughs between sketches. Other shows have to worry about setup and the introduction of new characters; but this one already has you laughing as it does that.

However, a sketch comedy series is only as good as its best skits.   Shows like Key and Peele would go viral on a nearly weekly basis with their craziest skit of the week, often calling out things that society is aware of, and in many cases, uncomfortable with. While the skits on With Bob and David are universally funny, they mostly lack that social/political punch. One exception is “Know Your Rights With Gilvin Daughtry “, a sketch where David Cross plays a character that is trying to make a YouTube-esque video demonstrating rights citizens have against police officers in situations like vehicle checkpoints. The sketch lampoons rights-obsessed citizens, but its shocking ending attacks the other side as well. This sketch has the most social awareness of what is going on in the country. Many of the other sketches, such as spoofs of Richard Connell’s short story, “The Most Dangerous Game” (where the prey finds many ways to make the hunter handicap himself) and cooking shows such as “Chopped” (a contestant keeps adding to his backstory in hopes for sympathy votes) are quite funny, but aren’t concerned with a social consciousness. That’s completely fine, and likely plays to the fact that this new incantation of the show will live on forever on the bandwidth of its distributor, Netflix.  It isn’t as necessary to live in the ‘now’ when your product is eternal.

At just two hours long (and an additional hour-long “making of” documentary that I haven’t watched yet), With Bob and David is a really enjoyable season of sketch comedy. Each star has gone on to much bigger things since their first go-round together, but show that it is still fun to have the gang back together. These misters can still put on a fun show.

8/10

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