Photo by Eric Charbonneau/Netflix

Maine governor’s comment on Rep. John Lewis recalls a 20-year-old ‘Mr. Show’ sketch

Palm meet face.


Audra Schroeder


Published Jan 18, 2017   Updated May 25, 2021, 4:33 am CDT

It’s been a banner week for bloviators telling people who actually risked their life for history about their own history. Add Maine Gov. Paul LePage to the list.

During an interview with a Maine radio show, LePage—who last year claimed he had a binder of drug arrests in the state that show “90-plus percent” of them were “black and Hispanic people” and in 2011 allegedly told a reporter that the NAACP could “kiss his butt”—jumped in with some advice for Rep. John Lewis, a civil rights leader who marched with Martin Luther King Jr. He took Lewis to task for criticizing President-elect Trump, advising him to “look at history:”

It was Abraham Lincoln that freed the slaves. It was Rutherford B. Hayes and Ulysses S. Grant that fought against Jim Crow laws. A simple thank you would suffice.    

Bob Odenkirk and David Cross, creators of the ’90s sketch show Mr. Show, saw some similarities with one of their old sketches. 

The sketch in question is from a 1997 episode titled “A White Man Set Them Free,” and involves Odenkirk and Cross trying to drum up some hate mail. Says Cross: “Bob, did you know that in the early 1800s, it was legal for white people to enslave African-Americans? But then Abraham Lincoln, a white man, set them free.”

To which Odenkirk responds: “And David and I believe that it’s never too late for us to say to our African-American brothers and sisters: ‘You’re welcome.'” 

While LePage’s quote is not directly lifted from the sketch, it does prove that people revising history to reflect their own views is still alive and well 20 years later. And while they do drum up some hate mail, Cross also kind of nails the tone of internet trolls to come. 

H/T A.V. Club 

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*First Published: Jan 18, 2017, 3:08 pm CST