It’s not that often when metal creeps its way into mainstream pop culture. So when metal/hard rock acts do actually pop up in beloved sitcoms, dramatic films, cartoons or even reality series, it’s kind of awesome. So in the weekly column Remember When, Metal Insider recalls the most random instances of metal’s elite appearing in front of the camera.
If you are not familiar with Mr. Show… then you really need to change that ASAP. But to put it simply, David Cross and Bob Odenkirk’s beloved 90s sketch show on HBO is as influential in alternative comedy as Tool is in alternative metal. So it’s rather fitting that Mr. Show and Maynard James Keenan have a long history with each other.
As Keenan recalls, he first met Cross and Odenkirk through their days of performing in the underground comedy scene of L.A., witnessing a lot of Mr. Show sketches in their infancy worked out onstage. When Mr. Show became a series on HBO, Keenan ended up making a handful of appearances in sketches.
Most notably, he appeared twice in the fan-favorite Ronnie Dobbs sketch during season 1. Not only is Keenan seen being arrested with the sketch’s titular character at one point, but also playing in a fictional Ronnie Dobbs tribute band with his Tool bandmate Adam Jones. That specific appearance is of greater note because it marks the first time the name Puscifer was publicized (Though Keenan claims the idea for his experimental-comedy hybrid band existed before the show aired).
Keenan also appeared in the end credits of an episode in season 2 as a viewer being interviewed for a trailer after being court-ordered to see Coupon: The Movie (Seriously, if you’ve never seen the show, you need to change that). He also had a brief cameo and sang on a song that appeared in Run Ronnie Run (The 2003 film adaptation of the same first sketch he made a cameo in), and reunited with Odenkirk in 2013 for a short film parody about Puscifer.
Granted, Keenan is no stranger to making appearances in movies (Who can forget his classic turn in Crank 2? And his appearance on IFC’s Comedy Bang Bang was pretty funny too), but the singer is the first to admit that hanging out with the Mr. Show crew and comedians in the L.A. comedy underground scene majorly influenced him, especially with Puscifer. “You’d watch people getting up there and trying to combine both of those things, or see where they could push stuff,” Keenan previously told Rolling Stone. “It was a great time to just wander into those places and watch amazing shit happening in the comedy world. And Mr. Show was both the byproduct and, now, the time capsule of that moment.”
If you really want to just see the moment Keenan and Jones appeared as Puscifer in Mr. Show, click here. However, we highly suggest you watch the Ronnie Dobbs sketch in its entirely below. It’ll help you pass the time till Tool’s performance at Governor’s Ball this year… and maybe a new Tool album.
And also keep an eye out for Keenan’s brief appearance toward the end of Coupon: The Movie in the clip below (Bonus: see if you can also recognize a certain member of Tenacious D in the same sketch….ok spoiler alert, it’s Jack Black, who was also a regular in the first two seasons of Mr. Show).