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David Cross and Bob Odenkirk’s “Mr. Show with Bob & David” is the absinthe of sketch comedy: vaguely psychotropic and a definite acquired taste compared with the light-beer humor of such shows as “MAD TV” or the limping, geriatric “Saturday Night Live.” Cross and Odenkirk met in 1992 while writing for and performing on the critically acclaimed but short-lived “Ben Stiller Show.” Realizing they shared similar ideas, they began developing a sketch show of their own, eventually creating “Mr. Show.” Rolling Stone called it “edgier, smarter and stranger” than other sketch shows, and the Village Voice has said it “deserves its own channel.” Until that happens, it remains on HBO. Their new season begins in October.

What do comics do for fun? Cross: For fun we make fun of other comics. To relax we make fun of comics who make fun of other comics.

Do you have any music recommendations? Odenkirk: Creeper Lagoon. Cross: It’s not that new, but Pond’s Rock Collection is the best album you haven’t heard of.

You’ve been cited as leaders of the “alternative comedy” genre. Is alternative comedy more alternative or more comedy? Cross: It’s just more, and that’s a wonderful thing.

What have you been watching lately on TV or at the movies? Odenkirk: The Butcher Boy and Wild Man Blues. Cross: Ma Vie En Rose and Four Days in September, and anything that starts with “World’s Most Dangerous.” I’ve also been watching a lot of television at the movies. I have one of those portable things. It’s like killing two beautiful birds with one stone.

What are you reading? Odenkirk: The Butcher Boy by Patrick McCabe; Reading in the Dark by Seamus Deane. To understand life, try to get a copy of Charles Portis’ Masters of Atlantis or his The Dog of the South.

HBO’s ads say that it’s “not just TV. It’s HBO.” Really, isn’t it just TV? Cross: It’s actually more like a fancy radio with pictures.

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

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Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

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