The Mr. Show Theme and Other Things that Make Me Drool (Metaphorically)

Filed Under Sketch Comedy

While doing a massive bookmark clean from Firefox yesterday, I found a little old gem which describes how the theme to the sketch show Mr. Show developed. It’s a short write-up from Eban Schletter, who while writing most of Mr. Show’s music, wasn’t around for the early days. The composer for the first four episodes was Mark Rivers - who’s since written themes for Freak Show and Moral Orel, as can be heard on his myspace page.

Mark ended up doing a few alternate themes - including one with lyrics that is apparently lost for good. But two of the others are on the page for listening in mp3 format, including one that was a suggestion from Mr. Show co-creator Bob Odenkirk that’s based in Mexican circus music. Listening to both, I have a hard time picking one that makes me forget the original. In fact, the alternative theme sounds a little sinister to me. Well, as sinister as something that can come of an out of an accordian (? - I don’t know anything about music).

The curious thing to me is I think I have almost Pavlovian reactions to the real theme. Mr. Show never really failed to deliver for me, so I have all these associations with the song and anticipating being ready to laugh real hard. I fear if anyone was to play the theme right before something like, oh, a Carlos Mencia show, I’d probably end up enjoying far more than I should.

Does anybody else out there have a sight or a sound that evokes a readiness to laugh? Or for that matter, something the other way around, that instantly brings up your guard?

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Posted by Mike on 02/13  at  06:06 PM

Yes, Mr. Show is the gold standard for sketch comedy in the last decade, hands down.  Mark Rivers was also a writer/producer for the ill-fated but hilarious Late World with Zach.

Posted by Mike on 02/13  at  11:15 PM

I forgot to answer your question about what sight or sound gives us a jolt of feeling.  The opening/closing theme of The UK Office elicits a visceral emotional response from me.
Particularly, the closing theme with the vocals. 

And probably for the same reason: it’s a symbolic association with something that gave me so much pleasure. 

For whatever it’s worth, it’s pretty damned hysterical to me to imagine it as the theme song for The Carlos Mencia Show.

Posted by tommy on 02/15  at  12:16 AM

frolic…curb your enthusiasm theme

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