The Dramatic Comedy of Bob Odenkirk

With his show Better Call Saul about to enter its third season, Bob Odenkirk recently gave an interview to actress Anna Faris for her Unqualified podcast in promotion of both his television show and a new film he released to Netflix, Girlfriend’s Day. While the latter mostly dominated the conversation, Odenkirk touched on the upcoming season of Saul and revealed that he’s not a huge fan of being asked to define himself into one of two broad terms: comedy actor or drama actor.

Beginning his career in Chicago writing and performing improvisational comedy in the city’s thriving comedic sector, Odenkirk began writing for Saturday Night Live in 1987 and continued there until 1991 before leaving to pursue performing in his own right. Later writing for The Ben Stiller Show and Late Night with Conan O’Brien, Odenkirk and David Cross created the sketch series Mr. Show which aired for four seasons on HBO in the late 1990s, earning him four Primetime Emmy Award nominations. From there, Odenkirk went on to act and write in television and film before landing the role of Saul Goodman in Breaking Bawhich remains, arguably, his best known work. For his role as Saul/Jimmy in the Breaking Bad prequel Better Call Saul, Odenkirk has received critical acclaim as well as two further Primetime Emmy Award nominations for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series, adding fuel to the fire for the question that he ever so dislikes.

The thing is, according to Mr. Odenkirk, the answer is never that simple, and the typecasting, sometimes, can be quite difficult–still, Odenkirk doesn’t think it should be. Every year, he noted, a comedic actor receives rave reviews for their performance in a drama (I thought about Steve Carrel’s Oscar-nominated turn in Foxcatcher, as well as Sarah Silverman in I Smile Back), but acting is acting. Although comedy and drama both have their distinctions, Odenkirk says that acting comes naturally, and brining different talents to the table is not only a good thing, but a necessary thing for someone to make their way up the acting pantheon. Odenkirk is often hilarious as Jimmy McGill/Saul Goodmanyet his performance is also great enough to compete in the dramatic categories among heavyweights like Kevin Spacey and Rami Malek.

Better Call Saul season two arrives on Netflix on March 27, while the third season of the show will premiere April 10 on AMC.


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