Bob Odenkirk worked with and has written for some of the funniest people in the world including Chris Farley, Ben Stiller, David Cross, Gary Shandling, Larry David, Tim & Eric, and the names can go on and on. Bob’s now the titular Saul in AMC’s spin off of Breaking Bad, Better Call Saul. In everything Odenkirk has done, he is a stand out. Whether it’s his writing, his performing, or both, his contribution is always memorable. He’s got a starring role on a gigantic new TV show in Better Call Saul but he’s had some tremendous career highs even before Saul ever showed up on Breaking Bad. Here are 7 of them.
Out of all of Chris Farley’s legendary work on Saturday Night Live, you could make a case for Matt Foley being his most memorable character, and that’s saying A LOT. What you may not know is that the character was created one Mr. Bob Odenkirk and performed by Chris Farley in a Second City Stage Show called Flag Burning Permitted In Lobby Only. It was eventually brought to SNL when Farley and Odenkirk were on the show together in the 90’s. Odenkirk’s run on SNL lasted from 1987 – 1995.
The Ben Stiller Show had a short run and no ratings. Yet it had critical love and an a cast that all went on to giant careers. Originally starring Stiller, Bob Odenkirk, Janeane Garofalo and Andy Dick – with Judd Apatow and David Cross among their writers, looking back on it you have to ask yourself, how could something like this get canceled? Yet at the time, the Fox network looked at the ratings and decided to let go a cast that would become Hollywood giants.
After meeting David Cross on The Ben Stiller Show, and after his run on SNL, Bob and David were able to launch their own show on HBO, Mr. Show WIth Bob and David which lasted for four seasons. The show’s considered a cult classic and had such great cast members as Paul F. Thompkins, Jack Black, Scott Aukerman, Brian Posehn, and Sarah Silverman. This was yet another murderers row of comics who would all end up blowing up and Bob Odenkirk and David Cross were at the helm of it.
In 1993, Odenkirk got the role of Larry Sanders’s agent, Stevie Grant. He’d reprise the role until the end of the series in 1998. Only a man as brilliant as Odenkirk could pull off being a late night hosts crack agent. This is yet another highlight in a career brimming with them.
In the first season of Curb Your Enthusiasm, in the classic episode Porno Gil, Odenkirk played Porno Gil. He stole the show with his Tabasco story at the dinner table in an episode that featured Larry attempting to steal a box of porn to hide from Susie Essman. Bob is that damn good.
When Tim & Eric began sending out tapes of their work to everyone they could think of, Bob Odenkirk was the man who responded and agreed to executive produce and contribute to their show Tom Goes To The Mayor which was picked up by Adult Swim. He appeared in various roles on their show which led Tim & Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!, their movie and Tim & Eric’s Bedtime stories. Odenkirk was the guy who took a chance on them and saw that their completely insane sense of humor was something the rest of the world had to see.
In the award winning TV version of the Coen brother’s Fargo, Bob Odenkirk played deputy Bill Oswalt and was one of the best parts of the entire series. This continued the streak of amazing ensemble casts Bob’s been a part of and has held his own and more. We can only hope Bill gets his own spin off like Saul.
The first episode of Better Call Saul airs on AMC and premieres with a two night event, on Sunday and Monday, February 8th and 9th at 10pm. Follow Bob Odenkirk on Twitter @MrBobOdenkirk.