Bob Odenkirk as Saul Goodman

Bob Odenkirk

Robert John “Bob” Odenkirk plays the role of Saul Goodman, Walter White’s sleazy lawyer, on Breaking Bad and its spin-off series Better Call Saul. He is an actor, comedian, writer, director and producer, also known for being the co-creator and co-star of the HBO Emmy-winning sketch comedy series Mr. Show with Bob and David, which ran from the mid-1990s for four seasons and ultimately became a cult success.

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 early 2000s, he 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).

Bob Odenkirk is of half Irish descent and half German descent. He was born on October 22, 1962, in Berwyn, Illinois, and raised in nearby Naperville. He is one of the seven children of Barbara and Walter Odenkirk, who was employed in the printing business. His parents divorced and his father’s battle with alcoholism would influence Bob’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».

Odenkirk went to Naperville North High School and attended Marquette University in Milwaukee, WI, then transferred to Southern Illinois in Carbondale, IL, 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 radio comedy hour, sometimes an hour and a half, called “The Prime Time Special” with many recurring characters.

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 Bob to Saturday Night Live.

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. Comedy writer Bill Odenkirk is his brother.


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