Bob Odenkirk

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Bob Odenkirk
Bob Odenkirk by Gage Skidmore.jpg
Odenkirk at San Diego Comic Con, July 2013
BornRobert John Odenkirk
(1962-10-22) October 22, 1962 (age 51)
Berwyn, Illinois, U.S.
Other namesVance Hammersly
OccupationActor, comedian, director, producer, writer
Years active1987–present
Spouse(s)Naomi Yomtov
RelativesBill Odenkirk (brother)
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Bob Odenkirk
Bob Odenkirk by Gage Skidmore.jpg
Odenkirk at San Diego Comic Con, July 2013
BornRobert John Odenkirk
(1962-10-22) October 22, 1962 (age 51)
Berwyn, Illinois, U.S.
Other namesVance Hammersly
OccupationActor, comedian, director, producer, writer
Years active1987–present
Spouse(s)Naomi Yomtov
RelativesBill Odenkirk (brother)

Robert John "Bob" Odenkirk (born October 22, 1962) is an American actor, comedian, writer, director, and producer. He is best known for being the co-creator and co-star of the HBO sketch comedy series Mr. Show with Bob and David, and for his role as criminal lawyer Saul Goodman on the AMC crime drama series Breaking Bad and its upcoming spin-off series Better Call Saul.

In the 1980s and 1990s, Odenkirk worked as a writer for such television shows as Saturday Night Live, 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.[1] In the early 2000s, Odenkirk discovered Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim 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).

Early life[edit]

Odenkirk was born in Berwyn, Illinois, and was raised in nearby Naperville. He is one of seven children of Barbara and Walter Odenkirk, who was employed in the printing business.[2] He was raised in a Catholic family, and is of half Irish descent and half German descent.[3][4] His parents divorced. His father's battle with alcoholism would influence Odenkirk'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."[3] Odenkirk's father died of bone cancer in 1995.[2][4]

Odenkirk went to Naperville North High School and attended Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, then transferred to Southern Illinois in Carbondale, Illinois, "honing his sketch-writing and performance skills with live shows on both colleges' radio stations."[2] 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 radio comedy hour, sometimes an hour and a half, 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.[3] 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.[5] Other influences included radio personality Steve Dahl, SCTV, Steve Martin's Let's Get Small, Woody Allen, The Credibility Gap, and Bob and Ray.[5] He visited Chicago's Second City Theater at the age of 14. His younger brother is comedy writer Bill Odenkirk.


Work in television[edit]

Saturday Night Live: 1987–1991[edit]

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.[6] He acted in several small roles on the show, most visibly during a 1991 parody commercial for Bad Idea Jeans.[7]

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.[6] 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.[5] 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.[5]

Various writing and acting work: 1991–1994[edit]

In 1991, Odenkirk was hired to write for the TV show Get a Life, which starred Late Night with David Letterman alumnus Chris Elliott.[8] Other notable writers on the show included Adam Resnick and Charlie Kaufman. The show was short-lived, and in 1992, Odenkirk briefly wrote for The Dennis Miller Show.[8]

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.[1] Odenkirk served as a writer on NBC's Late Night with Conan O'Brien for the show's first two seasons.[9] 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.[8] He would sporadically continue the character through 1998.[8] Also in 1993, Odenkirk had brief acting roles on Roseanne and Tom Arnold's The Jackie Thomas Show.[8]

Mr. Show: 1995–1998[edit]

Main article: Mr. Show

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.[citation needed]

After Mr. Show: 1999–2008[edit]

Odenkirk holding a producer credit for The 1 Second Film in January 2005

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.[10] 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 has had a number of small featuring roles on TV shows, including Dr. Katz, Professional Therapist, Seinfeld, NewsRadio, Just Shoot Me!, Joey, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Arrested Development, Entourage, Weeds, and How I Met Your Mother.[8] He also appeared in Everybody Loves Raymond as Scott Preman.[11] 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.[12] Odenkirk finally guested in the final season of The Office as a Philadelphia manager strongly reminiscent of Michael Scott.

Breaking Bad and other work: 2009–2014[edit]

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. It was announced on September 11, 2013 that AMC greenlit a spin-off series for Odenkirk's character Saul Goodman from Breaking Bad, a prequel, highlighting Goodman before he met Walter. The show, Better Call Saul, is set to consist of one-hour episode formats.[13]

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.[14]

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.[15] It premiered on IFC on October 18, 2013.

In 2014, Odenkirk played Police Chief Bill Oswalt in FX's miniseries Fargo.

In fall of 2014, Odenkirk also played Dr. Stork, a podiatrist who specializes in cutting off people's toes, in Adult Swim's anthology series Tim and Eric's Bedtime Stories.[16]

Work in film[edit]

Odenkirk's first roles in film were in such films as Wayne's World 2, The Cable Guy, Can't Stop Dancing and Monkeybone, albeit in very minor roles. 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.[citation needed]

Odenkirk later directed Let's Go to Prison in 2006, written by Tom Lennon and Ben Garant of The State and Reno 911 fame. Let's Go to Prison starred Will Arnett, as well as Dax Shepard and Chi McBride. The film had a negative response from critics, and bombed at the box office.[17][18] The following year Odenkirk directed The Brothers Solomon, written by Will Forte. The film starred Forte, Will Arnett and Kristin Wiig. The film was met with a similar reception as Let's Go to Prison and did overwhelmingly badly at the box office.[19]

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.[20][21] He also began to star more prominently in comedy films as well, such as Take Me Home Tonight, Ass Backwards, Dealin' with Idiots and Hell & Back. Odenkirk was one of the directors of the 2013 anthology comedy film Movie 43.[22]

Personal life[edit]

Odenkirk is married to Naomi Yomtov. They have two children together.


2013Hollywood Said No!
2014A Load of Hooey


1993Wayne's World 2Concert nerd
1994Clean SlateCop
1996The Truth About Cats & DogsBookstore man
1996The Cable GuyParty guest
1996Waiting for GuffmanCaped man at audition
1999Can't Stop DancingSimpson
2000The IndependentFigure
2001Dr. Dolittle 2Dog #2 (voice)
2001MonkeyboneMorgue surgeon
2002Run Ronnie RunTerry Twillstein / Wolfgang Amadeus Thelonius Von Funkenmeister the XIX / Daffy Mal Yinkle YankleWriter
DVD Exclusive Award for Best Original Song in a DVD Premiere Movie
2003Melvin Goes to DinnerKeithDirector
Phoenix Film Festival Award for Best Picture
Phoenix Film Festival Award for Best Ensemble Acting
Sidewalk Moving Picture Festival Award for Best Feature Film
Independent Film Festival of Boston Audience Award
Avignon Film Festival Award for Best Feature — USA
Nominated – DVD Exclusive Award for Best Director
Nominated – Slamdance Film Festival Grand Jury Prize
2004My Big Fat Independent MovieSteve
2005Sarah Silverman: Jesus Is MagicManager
2005Cake BoyDarnell Hawk
2006Danny Roane: First Time DirectorPete Kesselmen
2006Relative StrangersMitch Clayton
2006Let's Go to PrisonDuaneDirector
2007The Brothers SolomonJim TreacherDirector
2007Super High MeBob
2009Operation: EndgameEmperor
2010Blood Into WineFrench winemaker
2011Son of MorningFred Charles
2011Take Me Home TonightMike
2012Tim and Eric's Billion Dollar MovieSchlaaang Announcer
2012The Giant Mechanical ManMark
2013Ass BackwardsPageant MC
2013Dealin' with IdiotsCoach Jimbo
2013The Spectacular NowDan
2013Movie 43P.I.Director
Segment: "Find Our Daughter"
Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Director
Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Screenplay
2013NebraskaRoss GrantBoston Society of Film Critics Award for Best Cast
Satellite Award for Best Cast in a Motion Picture
Nominated – Critics Choice Award for Best Acting Ensemble
Nominated – Central Ohio Film Critics Association for Best Ensemble
2014Hell & BackThe Devil (voice)Post-production
2015Kitchen SinkPost-production


1987–1995Saturday Night LiveVarious RolesWriter
Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Writing for a Variety, Music or Comedy Program (1989)
Nominated – Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Writing for a Variety, Music or Comedy Program (1990, 1991)
1991–1992Get a LifeWriter
1992The Dennis Miller ShowWriter
1992The Ben Stiller ShowVarious RolesWriter
Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Writing for a Variety, Music or Comedy Program (1993)
1993The Jackie Thomas ShowElmerEpisode: "Aloha, Io-wahu"
1993RoseanneJimEpisode: "Tooth or Consequences"
1993–1998The Larry Sanders ShowSteve Grant11 episodes
1993–1994Late Night with Conan O'BrienWriter
1994TomDavidEpisode: "The Bad Seed"
1994Life on Mars(Role Unknown)Pilot
Creator, Writer
1995–1998Mr. Show with Bob and DavidVarious RolesCo-Creator, Writer, Executive Producer
Nominated – Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Music and Lyrics (1998)
Nominated – Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Writing for a Variety, Music or Comedy Program (1998, 1999)
1996Dr. Katz, Professional TherapistBob (voice)Episode: "Fructose"
1996SeinfeldBenEpisode: "The Abstinence"
1997–1998NewsRadioDr. Smith / Bob2 episodes
1997–2001Everybody Loves RaymondScott Preman2 episodes
1997–2000Tenacious DCo-creator, Writer, Executive Producer
1999Just Shoot Me!BarryEpisode: "The Odd Couple: Part 1"
19993rd Rock from the SunGary ParkinsonEpisode: "The Fifth Solomon"
2000Curb Your EnthusiasmGilEpisode: "Porno Gil"
2000The Near FuturePilot
Co-Creator, Director, Writer, Executive Producer
2001EdRev. Richie PorterEpisode: "Valentine's Day"
2001The Andy Dick ShowChuck CharlesEpisode: "Standards and Practices"
2002Next!Various RolesPilot
Co-Creator, Writer, Executive Producer
2003Highway to OblivionPilot
2003Less than PerfectColin HunterEpisode: "The New Guy"
2003FuturamaChaz (voice)Episode: "The Why of Fry"
2003The Big Wide World of Carl LaemkeCarl LaemkePilot
Creator, Writer, Executive Producer
2003Slice o' Life(Role Unknown)Pilot
2003Arrested DevelopmentDr. Phil GuntyEpisode: "Visiting Ours"
2004JoeyBrian Michael David ScottEpisode: "Joey and the Nemesis"
2004Aqua Teen Hunger ForceBean Wizard (voice)Episode: "Hypno-Germ"
2004–2006Tom Goes to the MayorVarious VoicesWriter, Executive Producer
2005Crank YankersDroopy (voice)Episode: "#3.14"
2006Freak ShowHalf Oldman Half Youngman / Senator Tinkerbell (voices)2 episodes
2007–2010Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!Various RolesWriter
2007The Sarah Silverman ProgramMister WadsworthEpisode: "Maid to Border"
2008–2012How I Met Your MotherArthur Hobbs9 episodes
2008WeedsBarryEpisode: "Head Cheese"
2008Mike Birbiglia's Secret Public JournalDonnieTV Movie
2008David's SituationPilot
Co-Creator, Director, Writer, Executive Producer
2009Rules of EngagementMikeEpisode: "Russell's Secret"
2009–2013Breaking BadSaul Goodman43 episodes
Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series (2014)
Nominated – Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series (2012, 2013)
2009American Dad!Third Worker / TV Host (voices)2 episodes
2009The Goode FamilyBrian Kennedy (voice)Episode: "Pleatherheads"
2009Glenn Martin DDSVince the Circus Owner (voice)Episode: "The Grossest Show on Earth"
2010The Life & Times of TimThe Interventionist / Bathroom Attendant (voices)2 episodes
2010Check It Out! with Dr. Steve BruleWriter
2010EntourageKen Austin3 episodes
2010Team SpitzPrincipal KerseyPilot
2010Funny or Die PresentsScott & BehrEpisode: "112"
2011Let's Do This!CalPilot
Creator, Director, Writer, Executive Producer
2011Jon Benjamin Has a VanRev. Rocco JansonEpisode: "Smoking"
2012NTSF:SD:SUV::Aaron SampsonEpisode: "Robot Town"
2012Bob's BurgersChase (voice)Episode: "Tina-Rannosaurus Wrecks"
2012The LeagueMiles MillerEpisode: "A Krampus Carol"
2012–2014Comedy Bang BangVarious Roles4 Episodes
2013The OfficeMarkEpisode: "Moving On"
2013Drunk HistoryRichard Nixon / The Guy2 episodes
2013Late Night with Jimmy FallonSaul GoodmanEpisode: "5.191"
2013–presentThe Birthday BoysVarious RolesDirector, Writer, Executive Producer
2014FargoChief Bill Oswalt9 episodes
2014TripTankHot Sauce Worker (voice)Episode: "Crossing the Line"
2014Tim & Eric's Bedtime StoriesDr. StorkEpisode: "Toes"
2015Better Call SaulSaul Goodman


2006Channel 101Terry WulhulherherSegment: "Your Magic Touched Me: Nights"
2007Derek & SimonVance HammerslyCo-Creator, Writer, Director, Executive Producer
2008Face to BushCo-Creator, Writer, Director, Executive Producer
2009American ContestantHimselfFunny or Die sketches
2013Ghost GhirlsFrank van StettenEpisode: "Ghost Writer"



  1. ^ a b Hubbard, Brodie F. (February 2004). "Bob Odenkirk Interview". Modest Proposal: Comedy for Our Target Demographic. Retrieved 16 November 2013. 
  2. ^ a b c "Overview for Bob Odenkirk - Biography". TCM (Turner Classic Movies). Retrieved 16 November 2013. 
  3. ^ a b c Parsi, Novid (March 17, 2010). "Bad boy". Time Out Chicago. Retrieved March 17, 2010. 
  4. ^ a b Pfefferman, Naomi (November 15, 2013). "Bob Odenkirk on ‘Nebraska’ and ‘Breaking Bad’". Jewish Journal. Tribe Media Corp. Retrieved 16 November 2013. 
  5. ^ a b c d Sacks, Mike (July 2, 2009). "How I Made It in Comedy: Bob Odenkirk". Chicago Reader. News + Features: Sun-Times Media, LLC. Retrieved 16 November 2013. 
  6. ^ a b "Bob Odenkirk Interview". By the way: In conversation with Jeff Garlin. #20 Bob Odenkirk. October 3, 2013. Retrieved 18 March 2014. 
  7. ^ Full cast and crew for Saturday Night Live: Joe Mantegna/Vanilla Ice (1991) at IMDb
  8. ^ a b c d e f IMDB page: "Bob Odenkirk filmography.
  9. ^ Bob Odenkirk at the Internet Movie Database
  10. ^ 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 16 November 2013. 
  11. ^ Net Worth at the Internet Movie Database
  12. ^ Carter, Bill (May 1, 2013). "One Last Cringe for ‘The Office’ Finale". The New York Times. Retrieved May 4, 2013. 
  13. ^ Snierson, Dan (September 11, 2013). "AMC moving forward with 'Breaking Bad' spin-off featuring Saul Goodman". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved September 12, 2013. 
  14. ^ 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 16 November 2013. 
  15. ^ Bibel, Sara (August 13, 2013). "IFC's New Sketch Comedy, 'The Birthday Boys' to Premiere Friday, October 18". Zap2it. Retrieved August 13, 2013. 
  16. ^ Snierson, Dan (2014-09-25). "Bob Odenkirk Prepares To Cut Off Gillian Jacobs' Toes on 'Tim and Eric's Bedtime Stories'". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 2014-09-25. 
  17. ^ "Let's Go To Prison". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2014-04-23. 
  18. ^
  19. ^ Bob Odenkirk at Rotten Tomatoes
  20. ^ "2013 Sundance Film Festival Announces Feature Film Awards". January 26, 2013. Retrieved July 17, 2013. 
  21. ^ "2013 Official Selection". Cannes. 18 April 2013. Retrieved 18 April 2013. 
  22. ^ "Re: Who Directed what Skits?". IMDb. 

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External links[edit]