Bob Odenkirk is widely known for his portrayal of Saul Goodman on AMC’s hit television series Breaking Bad and its prequel Better Call Saul, as well as appearing in the 2021 movie Nobody and co-creating and co-starring in the HBO sketch comedy show Mr. Show with Bob and David.
Bob Odenkirk’s Biography
Bob Odenkirk has achieved worldwide renown through his performances as Saul Goodman on Breaking Bad and its spinoff Better Call Saul, co-creating Mr. Show with Bob and David with friend David Cross, appearing on Ben Stiller Show and other television programs, and directing several films such as Little Miss Sunshine and Nebraska.
Odenkirk was born in Berwyn, Illinois to Barbara (Baier) and Walter Odenkirk of German and Irish heritage. He attended Naperville North High School before studying at Southern Illinois University Carbondale where he served as a DJ on campus radio station WIDB while also engaging in open mic stand-up comedy performances. Three credits shy of graduating, he relocated to Chicago where he entered its legendary live comedy scene under Del Close’s tutelage as he attended Second City Players Workshop courses.
Since then, he has written for many shows, including Saturday Night Live and The Ben Stiller Show. Additionally, he has appeared as Agent Stevie Grant on The Larry Sanders Show and ex-porn star Gil Bang on Curb Your Enthusiasm respectively; receiving numerous Independent Spirit Award nominations along the way.
Bob Odenkirk’s Education
Actor, comedian, and writer Aaron Paul is best known for his roles as Saul Goodman on Breaking Bad and its spin-off Better Call Saul on television. Additionally, he has appeared in several films such as Nebraska Fargo and Disney/Pixar’s Incredibles 2.
Odenkirk began his radio DJ career at WIDB, the college station at Southern Illinois University Carbondale. Later, he attended Marquette University in Milwaukee for one year before returning to SIU where he practiced his sketch-writing and performance skills on both schools’ radio stations with live shows.
Odenkirk soon relocated to Chicago upon graduating college and soon began performing and participating in improvisation workshops. By 1987 he had joined Saturday Night Live as a performer, winning an Emmy award in 1987 for his efforts there.
Odenkirk also worked on The Dennis Miller Show and The Ben Stiller Show as a writer before transitioning into acting roles. On Monday, Odenkirk returned to SIU for two degrees: his original bachelor’s degree was bestowed upon him during the 1980s, as well as an honorary doctorate that was initially conferred upon him in 2020. Both events took place at Banterra Center.
Bob Odenkirk’s Awards
Bob Odenkirk is an award-winning comedian and actor, known for creating and starring in the iconic sketch comedy show Mr. Show with Bob and David which won him an Emmy Award. Additionally, he can be found portraying Saul Goodman from Breaking Bad/Better Call Saul for which he has also received various honors and awards.
He began his career at Chicago’s Second City, where he met Chris Farley (later of SNL fame). This is when he created Matt Foley – an eccentric motivational speaker living in an RV by the river who would later be played by Farley himself on SNL.
After SNL, Odenkirk quickly established himself on television with recurring appearances on The Ben Stiller Show (1992) and The Larry Sanders Show (1992). Later he met fellow writer David Cross – an established stand-up comedian as well – and they began performing sketch-comedy shows together in Los Angeles before eventually getting their show on HBO that ran for four seasons and 30 episodes before Odenkirk made appearances on multiple other series such as Everybody Loves Raymond, Arrested Development, 3rd Rock from the Sun & Curb Your Enthusiasm among others.
The Ben Stiller Show
Stiller quickly established himself as one of the leaders of American ribald sketch comedy. Fearlessly in front of the camera, and taking risks that few other writers would dare, Stiller routinely poked fun at TV shows, movies, commercials, and rock musicians with ease.
Bob Odenkirk stood out both in the cast and on the writing team. A master impressionist, his ability to impersonate anyone from Tom Cruise to Bono of U2 made his audience in on the joke! His impressions were so accurate that they made us all part of it!
Bob also created sketches that lampooned the fashion industry, such as one featuring a woman dressed like a chicken and another where high-fashion models were hired by NASA for space missions. Although his show ended in 1992, Bob continued writing its spinoffs and Mr. Show with Bob and David.
Stiller and his co-writers Andy Dick, Janeane Garofalo, and Bob Odenkirk delivered another memorable episode where Stiller parodied both 60 Minutes and Fox commercial “What is Sexy?,” in which an action scene between young hardbodies is interrupted by an advertisement for Wilson Garden Hoe.
Bob Odenkirk in The Larry Sanders Show
After graduating from SIU, Odenkirk started writing for the Second City comedy troupe in Chicago and soon found himself performing on Saturday Night Live (and earning himself an Emmy nomination!). Since then he has written for numerous series, such as Mr. Show with Bob and David; additionally directing several feature films along the way.
Odenkirk’s writing in The Larry Sanders Show stands the test of time. This series offers a behind-the-scenes view into a fictional late-night talk show; its timeless writing makes for hilarious and enjoyable viewing that has become a classic.
Odenkirk excels as Larry’s new, smarmy agent Stevie Grant on Entourage. His performance strikes an ideal balance of smarminess and insecurity that led him to inspire actors such as Jeremy Piven and Ari Emanuel in Entourage. Additionally, Odenkirk has worked as both an actor and writer as well as producing various shows such as Everybody Loves Raymond, 3rd Rock from the Sun, and Curb Your Enthusiasm.
Show with Bob and David
Odenkirk first gained experience at the now-defunct Who’s on First comedy club before going on to work as a writer on Saturday Night Live (1975) and The Ben Stiller Show (1992). Additionally, in the 1990s he also appeared as Stevie Grant on The Larry Sanders Show from 1993- 1998.
As a follow-up to The Ben Stiller Show’s success, Bob Odenkirk joined forces with fellow writer and stand-up comedian David Cross to form Mr. Show with Bob and David (1995). This groundbreaking series mixed live and taped sketches with loose rules and boundaries while frequently having characters comment from within their skits on what was happening on screen.
Sketches from Mr. Show were surreal and topical, aiming at everything from religion to pop culture – including an ecumenical priest who gives blessings with both hands or an online dating show where audience members select potential sexual partners. Some of its best lines included Ole Swerdlow Folk Puppeteer singing a gospel song at Mom and Pop porn shop or “Father Mike, born from Satan’s ass.” DVD releases also included commentary tracks with many regulars from Mr. Show to provide insight into their creation and why their sketches seem funny later on.
Bob Odenkirk in Breaking Bad
Bob Odenkirk is best known for his portrayal of Saul Goodman on Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul, though he has also appeared in other movies and TV shows – not all of them meeting with critical acclaim.
He was raised in Naperville, Illinois, and attended local high school until dropping out at 16 due to boredom with schooling; fortunately, he still had enough credits to gain admission into Marquette and Southern Illinois Universities Carbondale where he studied comedy writing before moving to Chicago and working improv workshops.
Odenkirk is a talented sketch comedy writer who has appeared on countless TV shows. He co-created Mr. Show alongside Bob and David, as well as writing/acting in other shows like The Larry Sanders Show and Ben Stiller Show. Additionally, he appeared as himself in Ace Ventura: Pet Detective movie.
Bob Odenkirk in Better Call Saul
Bob Odenkirk has been nominated for several Emmy awards for his role on Better Call Saul, AMC’s prequel to Breaking Bad. He won one for acting and two more for writing.
This year, he was nominated again for Best Actor in a Drama Series and ultimately took home both the award and Golden Globe for his performance, beating out previous year’s victors Rami Malek, Sam Heughan, Liev Schreiber, and Matthew Rhys.
He received and won a nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series and is currently working on a new television project based on the memoir of New York Times reporter David Carr.
He will star as Carr in an AMC-commissioned six-episode adaptation of The Night of the Gun, detailing his descent into cocaine addiction. Co-stars Michael McKean and Rhea Seehorn from Better Call Saul will join him on this project; check out a video chat between all three below.