Bob Odenkirk (Mr. Show/Breaking Bad/tons of stuff) BirthdayBoys (on IFC 10:30 PM Friday Nights!) a sketch group with a sketch show, are here to talk about sketch comedy (NOT "Better Call Saul") and launching a new sketch show on the TV, and writing sketches, and laughing about them, and pestering people to watch more TV. Let's go!

Comments: 1034 • Responses: 17  • Date: 

ZoopSoul154 karma

I have no questions, I just wanted to thank the Birthday Boys for being so funny (it's seriously such a good show), and thank Bob for changing my teen years with Mr. Show. It helped to mold my sense of humor and make me a better person because of it. A sincere thanks.

BobOdenkirk177 karma

You are welcome. I did Mr Show to make myself laugh (David feels the same way...he wanted to make ME laugh). Glad it made you happy, and thanks for checking out the Bday Boys...can you tell that I am a big fan of the show? I am.

BigLipped57 karma

Hey Bob. Is it easier or more difficult going back to sketch comedy following a serious television show and why?

BobOdenkirk84 karma

There is an adjustment. But I have always liked doing a wide variety of jobs; in differing venues, etc. I love the change-ups. One thing feeds the other. Doing The Birthday Boys show was something I enjoyed immensely in the midst of Breaking Bad's final season. I wrote with the guys, directed some, and acted in every episode, so I was very involved and got to do things I do not do in my role on Breaking Bad.

trevdordurden32 karma

What's your dream sketch, given unlimited budget, time, and guest stars?

Sun-Wu-Kong50 karma

Please say Kung-Pow 2

BobOdenkirk129 karma

Kung-Pow 2: Still 'powin'!

petermobeter24 karma

I made an account five minutes ago (mostly just to ask you this question):

As a mentor of sorts to Tim & Eric (or at least, you seem like you are sometimes) do you think their style of comedy (which they didn't necessarily invent but popularized) is basically, the future of comedy? Because it almost seems like it is. There are thousands of people on youtube who do something called "Youtube Poops" that are basically amateurish attempts at this style (by which i mean, humor in glitchy editing and pushing the boundaries of taboo humor with unbridled enthusiasm, as well as other things; not just videos of excrement, which is what it sounds like), and major corporations use T&E-style humor in their advertising. Tim & Eric Humor is even becoming more popular in other countries with stuff like The Peter Serafinowicz show, and even non-humor-related entertainment is starting to genuinely look like the Jim & Derrick episode lately.

To summarize: Are Tim & Eric (and your old show Mr. Show, monty python, etc.) really defining what comedy is going to mostly be like from now on? Or is it just a really, really REALLY awesome fad?

BobOdenkirk39 karma

I think TIMANDERIC'S comedy is a REALLY awesome...well, I wouldn't call it a "fad", but "fresh stream of comicry". THE BIRTHDAY BOYS show is a way more traditional sketch show. Just sketches, with comic logic, played out in the best possible way according to our weak minds. Tim and Eric are influencing a lot of people, but they are really unique and I think most people who try to copy their style do a crap job of it. It's loads of fun, very immediately rewarding (or off-putting - whichever way it strikes you), but it either works for you or it doesn't. The Birthday Boys is not as easy to judge in a flash. But I think if you sample it, you will either get it or it will grow on you once you get used to the pace and non-ironic (mostly) presentation. Enjoy making sense of this answer, and this clip

zappa10315 karma

At what point in your life did you first think "I've made it!"?

BobOdenkirk51 karma

When my son started watching Mr. Show and enjoying it...about two months ago. Not kidding.

DickHeights13 karma

Bob, are you ever upset that you didn't get the role of Michael Scott? Where do you think your career would be now if you did?

BobOdenkirk36 karma

No. Steve Carell kicked ass and I totally get the choice and how it fit the network's instincts. That said, I love doing that kind of improvising performance, it's so much fun. I am not sure where my career would be, but I wouldn't have Breaking Bad and that has opened me up to a great new avenue of performing, and I still have the street cred to get a show like The Birthday Boys up and running. Oh, and I've got to say, whatever residue jealousy I felt over not getting to be Michael Scott dissipated when I got to play a version of the character in the final season - really fun.

andytheg12 karma

What was your favorite part of working with Conan?

BobOdenkirk25 karma

My God Conan made me laugh. He made me laugh til my bodily fluids snorted out my nose. Favorite part of working with Conan was around 2 AM on a Wednesday Morning at SNL, everybody out of their minds with stress and tired as hell, and he went into silly overdrive and I loved it. I have rarely laughed harder than I did at his impersonation of Lou Gossett Jr. as the pregnant alien from the film "Enemy Mine".

TooLazyForAnAccount11 karma

Hey Bob, what do you think the most important aspect of writing a sketch show is?

BobOdenkirk21 karma

I don't think there is a "most important aspect". Every show is different. I know that when we did Mr Show we briefly thought that sketches with similar styles and themes would work well together and we found that the opposite was true. The best episodes were ones where the sketches fluctuated wildly in tone and subject. But the hardest thing is just writing a very simple, clean sketch. THE AUDITION is a great one, from Mr. Show (I did NOT write it - Dino Stamatopoulos and Brent Forrester did), and I think the BirthdayBoys have a few perfectos in the season as well, and a high hit-ratio. Here's one of my favorites:

conradigan9 karma

Hey Bob! a question about festival supreme-- was the show organized so you overlapped with Tim and Eric? or were you surprised and pissed off when they cut out your feed for Adam Sandler/ T&E?

BobOdenkirk13 karma

I think they did a great job on that festival. It was such a challenging thing to put together, I was very happy with how it came off - very few big screw ups, everyone had fun playing it and from what I could tell the audience loved it. I was not surprised of pissed when Adam's video and sound feed got messed up with our presentation. I expected much much worse to happen. Also, I like Adam Sandler, he's an old friend, and I enjoyed watching him perform live WHILE I was performing live at the same time.

fausting7 karma

You are one of my comedy heroes. I've shoehorned the line "I wish I could be everywhere people are doin' art" into conversations an embarrassing number of times. Ass-kissing aside, what's your favorite part about creating comedy? Do you enjoy writing and performing equally?

BobOdenkirk7 karma

Writing when it's going well is really fun, kind of a "high", but also there are a lot of slow, middling, times when you're writing. Acting with a good script is a goldang hoot. Really fun. Like a paid vacation. I have tons of respect for writing, but acting is more fun...but, again, acting with a good script. Acting with a weak script is kinda lame.

SkyIsCrying6 karma

Hey there Bob! Loved Breaking Bad and Mr. Show! How was it to go from a very funny role to a more serious part as an actor?

BobOdenkirk14 karma

It's definitely different. Doing "Breaking Bad" or "The Spectacular Now"(great movie, check it out), you have to be sensitive, take a moment to dial in your performance. Doing Mr Show or THE BIRTHDAY BOYS is wilder and, for me, takes a lot less prep work. Getting to continue writing and performing in The Birthday boys show (IFC, tonight) while doing these dramatic roles, was the best thing ever - I love mixing it up.

Dabee6255 karma

Hi Bob & The Birthday Boys! How is writing your own sketch comedy show different from writing for SNL?

BobOdenkirk14 karma

I CAN answer for me! Saturday Night Live has certain jobs to do every week: number one, use the host...a LOT, two: comment on the pop culture stories of the week: Three, please the live audience who came all the way to New York City, waited in line, and want to see WhatUpWithThat goddamnit! The Birthday Boys get the freedom to just pursue their funniest, favorites, ideas, and try to produce them in the best possible way. Plus, SNL has to get ratings, and the Birthday Boys would LIKE to get ratings.

Rob_Saget5 karma

Hey Bob!

  • Are you still close with T&E? Haven't seen you do something with those guys in awhile!
  • Moment in your career that made you go "Wow, I never would have dreamed I'd get to do this"
  • I host a podcast that has celebrity guests such Brendon Small and Andrew WK on. I was wondering if you'd be interested in being a guest as well?

Thanks again and look forward to your responses.

BobOdenkirk21 karma

Tim and Eric are good friends, I saw Eric just the other day and Tim and his family attended my big ass 51st bday party. TimandEric's company ABSOLUTELY produces THE BIRTHDAY BOYS show! They are very proud of it. 2. Jack Nicholson binge-watched Breaking Bad and his assistant introduced me to him at a NEBRASKA screening, that blew my frickin' mind. 3. No more podcasts. Enough of me!

EricBarbaric3 karma

what's the biggest difference between creating sketches for a live audience versus a recorded tv show?

BobOdenkirk7 karma

Well, a lot of the sketches on Mr Show were pre-taped, either film or video, but we knew we'd be showing them to a live audience and recording the laughs, so we thought about that a lot. The Birthday Boys can do more textural stuff because they don't have that live audience - their show is built for TV and I think it will make you laugh and be fun to re-watch many times over, not that Mr. Show isn't...I guess the ideas are more in front on the Birthday Boys - less performance reliant. Sorry for the convoluted answer, you should never get me started on deconstructing sketch comedy

Zackpassman2 karma

I have described The Birthday Boys as Mr. Show without the cynicism. Would you say that's fair or accurate?

BobOdenkirk6 karma

WOW. You nailed it, man. Now, I know a lot of people LOVE the cynicism of Mr. Show. I do, too. But it's not like I was going to make these guys get cynical before I helped them do a show. They have the writing chops, the great ideas, and great onscreen energy to have a show, and I think these ten episodes prove it. Here, a clip, from me to you:

mcgeeb1 karma

Can we please have more "Tom Goes to the Mayor" episodes?

BobOdenkirk2 karma

It's great, right?? Thank Adult Swim for putting that show on. My son discovered it about a year ago and he and his 14 year old friends went nuts for it. Glad you liked it. My favorite moment...TAWMPY TEARS.'s something