Odenkirk at San Diego Comic Con, July 2013
|Born||Robert John Odenkirk
October 22, 1962
Berwyn, Illinois, U.S.
|Occupation||Actor, comedian, director, producer, writer|
|Relatives||Bill Odenkirk (brother)|
Robert John "Bob" Odenkirk (born October 22, 1962) is an American actor, comedian, writer, director, and producer. He co-created and co-starred in the HBO sketch comedy series Mr. Show with Bob and David and is also known for his role as lawyer Saul Goodman on the AMC crime drama series Breaking Bad and its spin-off series Better Call Saul.
In the 1980s and 1990s, Odenkirk worked as a writer for such television shows as Saturday Night Live, Late Night with Conan O'Brien, Get a Life, The Ben Stiller Show and The Dennis Miller Show. In the mid-1990s, Odenkirk and David Cross created the Emmy-nominated sketch comedy program Mr. Show with Bob and David, which ran for four seasons and ultimately became a cult success. In the early 2000s, Odenkirk discovered the comedy duo Tim & Eric and produced their television series Tom Goes to the Mayor and Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job! He has directed three films: Melvin Goes to Dinner (2003), Let's Go to Prison (2006) and The Brothers Solomon (2007).
- 1 Early life
- 2 Career
- 3 Personal life
- 4 Bibliography
- 5 Discography
- 6 Filmography
- 7 Awards and nominations
- 8 References
- 9 Further reading
- 10 External links
Odenkirk was born in Berwyn, Illinois and raised in nearby Naperville. He is one of seven siblings born to Walter, who was employed in the printing business, and Barbara Odenkirk, Roman Catholics of German and Irish descent. His parents divorced in part due to Walter Odenkirk's alcoholism, which would influence Robert's decision to avoid alcohol almost completely. He would later say that he grew up "hating" Naperville because "it felt like a dead end, like Nowheresville. I couldn't wait to move into a city and be around people who were doing exciting things." Walter Odenkirk died of bone cancer in 1995.
Odenkirk attended Naperville North High School and Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, then transferred to Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, Illinois, "honing his sketch-writing and performance skills with live shows on both colleges' radio stations." He began his foray into comedy writing as a radio DJ for WIDB (Carbondale, Illinois), his local college station at SIU-Carbondale. He worked at WIDB with newsman Greg Weindorf and traffic man Matt "The Agitator" Helser now of Dirty Laundry Podcast fame. He created a late-night (midnight to 4am) radio comedy show called "The Prime Time Special" with many recurring characters. "It often had us in stitches" said then WIDB Program Director, Victor Lentini. After three years of college, Odenkirk decided to try writing and improv in Chicago. First studying with Del Close, Odenkirk attended "The Players Workshop of the Second City" where he met Robert Smigel, and they began a collaboration that would last for years and take Odenkirk to Saturday Night Live. He also performed at the Improv Olympic alongside notable comedians Chris Farley and Tim Meadows.
Odenkirk has said his strongest comedic influence was Monty Python's Flying Circus, primarily due to its combination of cerebral and simple humor. Other influences included radio personality Steve Dahl, SCTV, Steve Martin's Let's Get Small, Woody Allen, The Credibility Gap, and Bob and Ray. He visited Chicago's Second City Theater at the age of 14. His younger brother is comedy writer Bill Odenkirk.
Work in television
Saturday Night Live: 1987–1991
Odenkirk was hired as a writer at Saturday Night Live in 1987 and worked there through 1991. Working alongside Robert Smigel and Conan O'Brien, he contributed to many sketches they created, but felt uncertain of the efficacy of his own writing at the show. He acted in several small roles on the show, most visibly during a 1991 parody commercial for Bad Idea Jeans. During his final year at SNL, he worked alongside Adam Sandler, David Spade, Chris Rock, and Chris Farley, but eventually he decided to leave the show in order to pursue performing. He has credited SNL with teaching him many lessons about sketch writing, from senior writers like James Downey and Al Franken, as well as his friends Smigel and O'Brien.
When Saturday Night Live took its 1988 summer break, Odenkirk returned to Chicago to perform a stage show with Smigel and O'Brien, titled Happy Happy Good Show. The following summer he did a one-man show, Show-Acting Guy, directed by Tom Gianas. During his final summer hiatus, he wrote and acted in the Second City Mainstage show, Flag Burning Permitted in Lobby Only. In that particular show, he wrote the character "Matt Foley, Motivational Speaker", for Chris Farley, which would later be reprised on SNL.
Various writing and acting work: 1991–1994
Odenkirk's friendship with Ben Stiller, with whom he briefly shared an office at SNL, would lead to him being hired for the cast of The Ben Stiller Show in 1992. Working as both a writer and actor on the show, he created and starred in the memorable sketch "Manson Lassie", and helped the show win an Emmy Award for writing. However, the show had already been canceled by the time it won the award. Odenkirk served as a writer on NBC's Late Night with Conan O'Brien for the show's 1993 and 1994 seasons. Odenkirk met David Cross at Ben Stiller; shortly afterward, the pair began performing live sketch shows, which eventually evolved into Mr. Show with Bob and David. In 1993, Odenkirk began a recurring role on The Larry Sanders Show as Larry Sanders' agent, Stevie Grant. He would continue the character through 1998. Also in 1993, Odenkirk had brief acting roles on Roseanne and Tom Arnold's The Jackie Thomas Show.
Mr. Show: 1995–1998
Created by Odenkirk and David Cross, Mr. Show ran on HBO for 4 seasons, over 33 episodes. The show featured a number of comedians in the early stages of their careers, including Sarah Silverman, Paul F. Tompkins, Jack Black, Tom Kenny, Mary Lynn Rajskub, Brian Posehn and Scott Aukerman. While nominated for multiple Emmy awards in writing and generally well liked by critics, it never broke out of a "cult" audience into larger mainstream acceptance. After Mr. Show, Bob and David and the writers from the staff wrote the movie Run, Ronnie, Run. The film was an extension of a sketch from the first season of the show. However, the studio took production control away from Cross and Odenkirk during the editing stages, and the pair disowned the final product.
After Mr. Show: 1999–2008
Since Mr. Show, Odenkirk has acted in numerous television shows and some films. He has written and produced many TV pilots, including The Big Wide World of Carl Laemke and David's Situation, but none have made it to air or been picked up as a series. In 2004, Odenkirk received an unsolicited package including the work of Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim. Inspired by their unique voice, he connected with them and helped them develop a semi-animated show for Adult Swim called Tom Goes to the Mayor. He assisted Tim and Eric with the development of their second series, Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job. He had a number of small featuring roles on TV shows, including Everybody Loves Raymond, Dr. Katz, Professional Therapist, Seinfeld, NewsRadio, Just Shoot Me!, Joey, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Arrested Development, Entourage, Weeds and How I Met Your Mother.
Odenkirk had been selected to be Michael Scott in the pilot of The Office but the producers' original choice, Steve Carell, became available again and was cast instead. Odenkirk finally guested in the final season of The Office as a Philadelphia manager strongly reminiscent of Michael Scott.
Breaking Bad and other works: 2009–2013
In 2009, Odenkirk joined the cast of AMC's Breaking Bad as corrupt lawyer Saul Goodman. He appeared as a guest star in three episodes of the second season, and eventually became a series regular for the seasons after and remained on the show until its final season.
In 2011, Odenkirk wrote and developed Let's Do This! for Adult Swim, starring as Cal Mackenzie-Goldberg a "two-bit movie mogul and head of Cal-Gold Pictures as he leads a collection of crazy, fame-hungry strivers chasing Hollywood dreams". The pilot can be seen on Adult Swim's website.
Odenkirk executive produced the sketch comedy show The Birthday Boys which starred the comedy group of the same name. Odenkirk also appeared in and directed a number of the sketches on the show as well. It premiered on IFC on October 18, 2013. In 2014, Odenkirk played Police Chief Bill Oswalt in FX's miniseries Fargo.
Better Call Saul: 2015-present
Odenkirk currently stars in the titular role of a Breaking Bad spinoff, Better Call Saul. Primarily set in 2002, seven years before the character's debut in Breaking Bad, the series follows lawyer Saul Goodman's journey from court appointed defense attorney origins to his eventual status as a successful criminal defense lawyer.
The first season consists of 10 hour-long episodes, and a second season of 13 episodes has been commissioned.
Work in film
Odenkirk's first roles in film were very minor roles in films such as Wayne's World 2, The Cable Guy, Can't Stop Dancing and Monkeybone. In 2003, Odenkirk directed Melvin Goes to Dinner and also played the role of Keith. The film received positive reviews from critics and won the Audience Award at the SXSW Film and Music Festival. It was later self-released in five cities, then distributed on DVD by Sundance.
In 2006, Odenkirk directed Let's Go to Prison, which was written by Thomas Lennon and Robert Ben Garant, and starred Will Arnett, Dax Shepard and Chi McBride. The film received a 12% "All Critics" score from the website Rotten Tomatoes  and had a total box office gross of a little more than US$4.6 million. The following year Odenkirk directed The Brothers Solomon, written by Will Forte and starring Forte, Will Arnett and Kristin Wiig. The film received a 15% "All Critics" score from Rotten Tomatoes and had a total box office gross of approximately $1 million.
After starring in Breaking Bad, Odenkirk began to have more prominent roles in critically successful films such as The Giant Mechanical Man, The Spectacular Now, which received the Special Jury Award for Acting at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival, and the Alexander Payne-directed film Nebraska, which was nominated for a Palme d'Or at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival. He began to appear more prominently in comedy films as well, such as Take Me Home Tonight, Ass Backwards, Dealin' with Idiots, and Hell & Back. Odenkirk was also one of the directors of the 2013 anthology comedy Movie 43.
|2013||Hollywood Said No!|
|2014||A Load of Hooey|
|2014||Amateur Hour (feat. Brandon Wardell)|
|1993||Wayne's World 2||Concert nerd|
|1996||The Truth About Cats & Dogs||Bookstore man|
|1996||The Cable Guy||Party guest|
|1996||Waiting for Guffman||Caped man at audition|
|1999||Can't Stop Dancing||Simpson|
|2001||Dr. Dolittle 2||Dog #2 (voice)|
|2002||Run Ronnie Run||Terry Twillstein / Various roles||Also writer|
|2003||Melvin Goes to Dinner||Keith||Also director|
|2004||My Big Fat Independent Movie||Steve|
|2005||Sarah Silverman: Jesus Is Magic||Manager|
|2005||Cake Boy||Darnell Hawk|
|2006||Danny Roane: First Time Director||Pete Kesselmen|
|2006||Relative Strangers||Mitch Clayton|
|2006||Let's Go to Prison||Duane||Also director|
|2007||The Brothers Solomon||Jim Treacher||Also director|
|2007||Super High Me||Bob|
|2010||Blood Into Wine||French winemaker|
|2011||Son of Morning||Fred Charles|
|2011||Take Me Home Tonight||Mike|
|2012||Tim and Eric's Billion Dollar Movie||Schlaaang Announcer|
|2012||The Giant Mechanical Man||Mark|
|2013||Ass Backwards||Pageant MC|
|2013||Dealin' with Idiots||Coach Jimbo|
|2013||The Spectacular Now||Dan|
|2013||Movie 43||P.I.||Also director
Segment: "Find Our Daughter"
|2015||Hell & Back||The Devil (voice)||Post-production|
|1987–1995||Saturday Night Live||Various roles||13 episodes; also writer|
|1991–1992||Get a Life||Writer|
|1992||The Dennis Miller Show||Writer|
|1992||The Ben Stiller Show||Various roles||13 episodes; also writer|
|1993||The Jackie Thomas Show||Elmer||Episode: "Aloha, Io-wahu"|
|1993||Roseanne||Jim||Episode: "Tooth or Consequences"|
|1993–1998||The Larry Sanders Show||Steve Grant||11 episodes|
|1993–1994||Late Night with Conan O'Brien||Writer|
|1994||Tom||David||Episode: "The Bad Seed"|
|1994||Life on Mars||(Role unknown)||Pilot; also creator, writer|
|1995–1998||Mr. Show with Bob and David||Various roles||30 episodes; also co-creator, writer, executive producer|
|1996||Dr. Katz, Professional Therapist||Bob (voice)||Episode: "Fructose"|
|1996||Seinfeld||Ben||Episode: "The Abstinence"|
|1996||The Dana Carvey Show||Writer|
|1997–1998||NewsRadio||Dr. Smith / Bob||2 episodes|
|1997–2001||Everybody Loves Raymond||Scott Preman||2 episodes|
|1997–2000||Tenacious D||Co-creator, writer, executive Producer|
|1999||Just Shoot Me!||Barry||Episode: "The Odd Couple: Part 1"|
|1999||3rd Rock from the Sun||Gary Parkinson||Episode: "The Fifth Solomon"|
|2000||Curb Your Enthusiasm||Gil||Episode: "Porno Gil"|
|2000||The Near Future||Pilot; co-creator, director, writer, executive producer|
|2001||Ed||Rev. Richie Porter||Episode: "Valentine's Day"|
|2001||The Andy Dick Show||Chuck Charles||Episode: "Standards and Practices"|
|2002||Next!||Various roles||Pilot; also co-creator, writer, executive producer|
|2003||Highway to Oblivion||Pilot; director|
|2003||Less than Perfect||Colin Hunter||Episode: "The New Guy"|
|2003||Futurama||Chaz (voice)||Episode: "The Why of Fry"|
|2003||The Big Wide World of Carl Laemke||Carl Laemke||Pilot; also creator, writer, executive producer|
|2003||Slice o' Life||(Role unknown)||Pilot|
|2003||Arrested Development||Dr. Phil Gunty||Episode: "Visiting Ours"|
|2004||Joey||Brian Michael David Scott||Episode: "Joey and the Nemesis"|
|2004||Aqua Teen Hunger Force||Bean Wizard (voice)||Episode: "Hypno-Germ"|
|2004–2006||Tom Goes to the Mayor||Various Voices||21 episodes; also writer, executive Producer|
|2005||Crank Yankers||Droopy (voice)||Episode: "#3.14"|
|2006||Freak Show||Half Oldman Half Youngman / Senator Tinkerbell (voices)||2 episodes|
|2007–2010||Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!||Various roles||25 episodes; also creative consultant|
|2007||The Sarah Silverman Program||Mister Wadsworth||Episode: "Maid to Border"|
|2007||Derek & Simon||Vance Hammersly||3 episodes; also co-creator, writer, director, executive producer|
|2008–2012||How I Met Your Mother||Arthur Hobbs||9 episodes|
|2008||Weeds||Barry||Episode: "Head Cheese"|
|2008||Mike Birbiglia's Secret Public Journal||Donnie||Television special|
|2008||David's Situation||Pilot; co-creator, director, writer, executive Producer|
|2009||Rules of Engagement||Mike||Episode: "Russell's Secret"|
|2009–2013||Breaking Bad||Saul Goodman||36 episodes|
|2009||American Dad!||Third Worker / TV Host (voices)||2 episodes|
|2009||The Goode Family||Brian Kennedy (voice)||Episode: "Pleatherheads"|
|2009||Glenn Martin DDS||Vince the Circus Owner (voice)||Episode: "The Grossest Show on Earth"|
|2010||The Life & Times of Tim||The Interventionist / Bathroom Attendant (voices)||2 episodes|
|2010||Check It Out! with Dr. Steve Brule||Creative consultant|
|2010||Entourage||Ken Austin||3 episodes|
|2010||Team Spitz||Principal Kersey||Pilot|
|2010||Funny or Die Presents||Scott & Behr||Episode: "112"|
|2011||Let's Do This!||Cal||Pilot; also creator, director, writer, executive producer|
|2011||Jon Benjamin Has a Van||Rev. Rocco Janson||Episode: "Smoking"|
|2012||NTSF:SD:SUV::||Aaron Sampson||Episode: "Robot Town"|
|2012||Bob's Burgers||Chase (voice)||Episode: "Tina-Rannosaurus Wrecks"|
|2012||The League||Miles Miller||Episode: "A Krampus Carol"|
|2012–2014||Comedy Bang Bang||Various roles||4 episodes|
|2013||The Office||Mark||Episode: "Moving On"|
|2013||Drunk History||Richard Nixon / The Guy||2 episodes|
|2013||Late Night with Jimmy Fallon||Saul Goodman||Episode: "5.191"|
|2013–2014||The Birthday Boys||Various roles||11 episodes; also director, writer, executive producer|
|2014||Fargo||Chief Bill Oswalt||9 episodes|
|2014||TripTank||Hot Sauce Worker (voice)||Episode: "Crossing the Line"|
|2014||Tim & Eric's Bedtime Stories||Dr. Stork||Episode: "Toes"|
|2015–present||Better Call Saul||Jimmy McGill/Saul Goodman||10 episodes; also producer|
|2015||With Bob and David||Various roles||Also co-creator|
|2010||Built to Spill - Hindsight||Director|
Awards and nominations
- Hubbard, Brodie F. (February 2004). "Bob Odenkirk Interview". Modest Proposal: Comedy for Our Target Demographic. Archived from the original on July 14, 2011. Retrieved March 4, 2015.
- "Overview for Bob Odenkirk". TCM (Turner Classic Movies). Retrieved November 16, 2013.
- Parsi, Novid (March 17, 2010). "Bad boy". Time Out Chicago. Retrieved March 17, 2010.
- Pfefferman, Naomi (November 15, 2013). "Bob Odenkirk on 'Nebraska' and 'Breaking Bad'". Jewish Journal. Tribe Media Corp. Retrieved November 16, 2013.
- Sacks, Mike (July 2, 2009). "How I Made It in Comedy: Bob Odenkirk". Chicago Reader. News + Features: Sun-Times Media, LLC. Retrieved November 16, 2013.
- "Bob Odenkirk Interview". By the way: In conversation with Jeff Garlin. #20 Bob Odenkirk. October 3, 2013. Retrieved March 18, 2014.
- "Bob Odenkirk Laments 'SNL' Stints: "I Was a Dick" to Lorne Michaels". The Hollywood Reporter. March 3, 2015. Retrieved March 4, 2015.
- Sandberg, Bryn Elise (October 27, 2014). "Bob Odenkirk on 'Better Call Saul': "It's Total Drama"". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved March 4, 2015.
- Zara, Ignacio (February 7, 2015). "'Better Call Saul' Star Bob Odenkirk. Ten Things You Should Know.". Yareah Magazine. Retrieved March 4, 2015.
- Harp, Justin (February 8, 2015). "Better Call Saul's Bob Odenkirk: Key TV moments from Breaking Bad star". Digital Spy. Retrieved March 4, 2015.
- Chan, Anna (October 18, 2013). "'Roseanne' guest stars like George Clooney found big stardom". Today.com. Retrieved March 4, 2015.
- "The Jackie Thomas Show: Credits". Hollywood.com. Retrieved March 4, 2015.
- Oksenhorn, Stewart (March 14, 2013). "Four comics face reality: Could Bob Odenkirk, Norm Macdonald, Phil Hendrie and Joe Rogan have picked a worse time to try to become sitcom stars?". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved November 16, 2013.
- Carter, Bill (May 1, 2013). "One Last Cringe for ‘The Office’ Finale". The New York Times. Retrieved May 4, 2013.
- Glazer, Eliot (March 8, 2012). "Watch the First Episode of Bob Odenkirk’s New Adult Swim Series, Let’s Do This". Vulture. New York Magazine. Retrieved November 16, 2013.
- Bibel, Sara (August 13, 2013). "IFC's New Sketch Comedy, 'The Birthday Boys' to Premiere Friday, October 18". Zap2it. Retrieved August 13, 2013.
- Snierson, Dan (September 25, 2014). "Bob Odenkirk Prepares To Cut Off Gillian Jacobs' Toes on 'Tim and Eric's Bedtime Stories'". insidetv.ew.com. Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved September 25, 2014.
- Whitney, Erin (April 2, 2015). "Bob Odenkirk & David Cross Are Reuniting For A Netflix Series". The Huffington Post. Arianna Huffington. Retrieved April 6, 2015.
- Kondolojy, Amanda (June 19, 2014). "'Better Call Saul' Renewed for Second Season by AMC; First Season Pushed Back to 2015". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved February 12, 2015.
- "Let's Go To Prison". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved April 23, 2014.
- "Let's Go to Prison". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved March 4, 2015.
- "The Brothers Solomon". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved March 4, 2015.
- "The Brothers Solomon". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved March 4, 2015..
- "2013 Sundance Film Festival Announces Feature Film Awards". Sundance.org. January 26, 2013. Retrieved July 17, 2013.
- "2013 Official Selection". Cannes. April 18, 2013. Retrieved April 18, 2013.
- Jones, J.R. "Take Me Home Tonight". Chicago Reader. Retrieved March 4, 2015.
- Harvey, Dennis (January 24, 2013). "Review: 'Ass Backwards'". Variety. Retrieved March 4, 2015.
- Chang, Justin (July 16, 2013). "Film Review: 'Dealin’With Idiots'". Variety. Retrieved March 4, 2015.
- "Bob Odenkirk Joins Cast Of 'Hell & Back'". Deadline Hollywood. March 28, 2012. Retrieved March 4, 2015.
- Harp, Justin (March 1, 2013). "'Movie 43' star Richard Gere: 'I won't see the movie'". Digital Spy. Retrieved March 4, 2015.
- "Breaking Bob: Bob Odenkirk’s Sunday". Chicago Sun-Times. September 15, 2013. Retrieved April 1, 2015.
- Raftery, Brian (November 2013). "The Internet Owes Its Sense of Humor to This Man". Wired. Retrieved October 18, 2013.