Robert "Bob" Odenkirk (born October 22, 1962) is an American actor, comedian, writer, director and producer. Odenkirk is best known as the co-creator and co-star of the HBO sketch comedy series Mr. Show and currently for his recurring role as corrupt lawyer Saul Goodman in AMC's hit series Breaking Bad.
Odenkirk was born in Berwyn, Illinois, and was raised in nearby Naperville. He is the son of Barbara and Walter Odenkirk, who was employed in the printing business. His brother is comedy writer Bill Odenkirk. Odenkirk is of half Irish descent. His parents later divorced, and Walter eventually died from cancer and was "pretty down on his luck" towards the end of his life. His father's battle with alcoholism would later influence Bob's decision to avoid alcohol almost completely. Odenkirk 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."
He began his foray into comedy writing as a radio DJ for WIDB, his local college station at Southern Illinois University Carbondale. Inspired by the comedy of Monty Python's Flying Circus, SCTV, Steve Martin, Woody Allen, The Credibility Gap, and Bob and Ray, as well as a visit to the Second City Theater at the age of 14, after 3 years of college Bob decided to try to make a go of it in the Chicago comedy scene. First studying with the famous improv-guru Del Close (who had mentored the likes of Bill Murray and John Belushi) Odenkirk also 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 Bob to Saturday Night Live.
Odenkirk was hired as a writer at SNL 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 his own writing and not very effective at the show. In the summers he returned to Second City to do a show with Smigel and O'Brien called "Happy Happy Good Show", then the following summer a one-man show; "Show-Acting Guy" directed by his friend Tom Gianas, and finally, after his third year, to do the Second City Mainstage show "Flag Burning Permitted in Lobby Only" where he wrote for fellow cast member Chris Farley the Matt Foley, Motivational Speaker, character, (which carried onto SNL). Odenkirk's final year at SNL, working alongside Adam Sandler, David Spade, Chris Rock, and Chris Farley, was his most worthwhile, but his desire to perform caused him to leave the show after his fourth season of writing. He credits 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.
Odenkirk got a job on the TV show Get a Life, writing along side Adam Resnick and Charlie Kaufman. He also got to work for one of his favorite performers, Chris Elliott, and got to meet one of his comedy heroes, Chris's father, Bob Elliott. Bob performed his one-man show and did a few guest spots on talk shows, but his friendship with Ben Stiller, whom he shared an office with briefly at SNL, would lead to his being hired for the cast of The Ben Stiller Show. There he wrote the memorable sketch "Manson Lassie" and helped the show win an Emmy Award for writing, although it had already been cancelled by the time of the awards ceremony. Bob also met David Cross at Ben Stiller. On the side, Bob had begun performing with a group of what was then referred to as "Alternative Comedy". David Cross, Janeane Garofalo, Kathy Griffin, Margaret Cho, Andy Dick, Andy Kindler, Patton Oswalt, Greg Behrendt, were all a part of this scene. Odenkirk and Cross hit it off and began doing sketch shows that evolved into Mr. Show with Bob and David.
Mr. Show ran on HBO for 4 seasons, totalling 33 episodes (including 3 best-ofs that contained original content). While the show was nominated for multiple Emmy awards in writing, and received great notices from many reviewers, 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.
Since Mr. Show, Bob has acted in numerous television shows and some films. He has written and produced many TV pilots, but few have been seen and none have made it to air or series.
Odenkirk has directed three films: Melvin Goes to Dinner (2003) - and independent film of a play which won the Audience Award at the SXSW film and music festival and was self-released in 5 cities, then distributed on Sundance DVD. This film has also played on many cable outlets. Bob's second film was Let's Go to Prison (2006) written by Tom Lennon and Ben Garant, two writers from The State. This film starred Will Arnett of Arrested Development fame as well as Dax Shepard and Chi McBride. Bob also directed the film The Brothers Solomon, scripted by Will Forte and starring Forte and Will Arnett as two impossibly upbeat brothers who are socially clueless from having been raised in a science lab at the North Pole. In their attempt to give their beloved father, played by TV great Lee Majors, a grandson, they make all kinds of blatantly inappropriate mistakes.
In 2004, Bob 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. Bob also assisted Tim and Eric with the development of their second series, Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job.
Odenkirk has starred in the episode "The Chain of Screaming" of How I Met Your Mother, playing Marshall's boss.
In 2009, Odenkirk joined the cast of AMC's Breaking Bad as the corrupt lawyer Saul Goodman. He first appeared as a guest star in three episodes of the second season and became a series regular in the third season. Odenkirk also appears in an elaborate Saul Goodman website as part of the promotion for the new season of Breaking Bad - located at bettercallsaul.com. Read more on Last.fm. User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply.