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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.

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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.