Book Review: Bob Odenkirk Memoir Depicts Shift from Comedy to Drama

Bob Odenkirk as Jimmy McGill in AMC's 'Better Call Saul'
Bob Odenkirk as Jimmy McGill in AMC's 'Better Call Saul' (Image credit: Greg Lewis/AMC/Sony Pictures Television)

Bob Odenkirk’s Comedy Comedy Comedy Drama details the performer growing up obsessed with sketch comedy, and making a name for himself in that world before shifting to the more serious realm of drama. 

He writes about coming up in the Chicago comedy scene, including Second City: “There was no obvious route to fame, or even a ‘career’ … Every day was just, write something funny today, then see what happens.”

Comedy Comedy Drama Drama by Bob Odenkirk

(Image credit: Hodder & Stoughton General Division)

Odenkirk made his way to New York for Saturday Night Live. His time in the writers’ room was not particularly happy, but he does offer intriguing looks at Lorne Michaels, Chris Farley and other key comedy figures. Adam Sandler, he said, “made me see the show, and comedy, in a new and better way, because Adam was having a good time.”

Odenkirk then headed to Los Angeles, where he worked on The Ben Stiller Show and Mr. Show. He also describes what he calls “development heck” — loads of projects and few seeing the light of day. When The Office was being cast, the Michael Scott role was between Odenkirk and Steve Carell. Development heck continued. 

Breaking Bad is not mentioned until page 200, but Odenkirk offers entertaining and enlightening details about it and spinoff Better Call Saul, which saw him master his dramatic chops in playing Saul Goodman. 

Comedy Comedy Comedy Drama is a lively narrative. There are quips on every page, many of them quite funny.

Michael Malone

Michael Malone is content director at B+C and Multichannel News. He joined B+C in 2005 and has covered network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television, including writing the "Local News Close-Up" market profiles. He also hosted the podcasts "Busted Pilot" and "Series Business." His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The L.A. Times, The Boston Globe and New York magazine.