I Wanna Be Literated #253

I Wanna Be Literated #253

Thursday, 07 April 2022

Comedy Comedy Comedy Drama
by Bob Odenkirk

Look, I can’t help but love Bob Odenkirk, OK? Or “Bob” as I like to call him. Watching him do comedy is almost as interesting as watching his rise into the mainstream. I couldn’t be happier for him and I’ve always thought he was an underappreciated comedic genius. But, I guess most people don’t know him from comedy, but from Breaking Bad/Better Call Saul. Personally, I don’t think his work in BCS is really his strongest work, but anything to pay the bills and allow Bob to do the things he wants to do. He seems to be a comedian at heart and will always have a proclivity to wanting to be in the writer’s room. You gotta admire that.

Of course, everyone nowadays gets a book so Bob gets a book. They all say writing a book is hard to write and that their book is going to be different, and that’s never true… with the possible exception of Robert Evans. It’s all jus a recap of their lives. You can bet on that. What you CAN’T bet on is that they’re good storytellers. What will set each writer apart is just how they reflect on their life and decisions. Is the goal of a book to explain how they got to where they are or is it to grind an axe and elevate themselves to hero-like status?

Bob’s a good writer, and it shows. I’m bummed that this book is so short but I’d rather have a good short book than a long slog. Yes, most people (unfortunately) know Bob as a dramatic actor, and that may be his bread and butter these days, but what Comedy Comedy Comedy Drama makes clear is that there was Comedy Comedy Comedy before all that. CCCD really only focuses on the parts of Bob’s life that have to do with his career and analyzes what motivated those decisions. As he himself makes clear, there’s been a lot of failure in his life, and his success is due equal parts to talent and luck. Refreshingly, Bob admits that he sizes people up when he meets them (like Del Close), but also is good about giving credit to where it’s due (like his cast members or mentors), and owns up to his mistakes. He does what few memoir writers in showbiz do, and that’s think about his relationship to the project’s failure instead of grinding a bitter axe and pointing fingers. You can’t help but root for a guy like that. And yes, he’s still funny as hell.

I really liked this book, and being as thorough as it is, I also learned (and checked out) some lesser-known Bob projects. I don’t think this book is for everyone, but as a big fan of his, it really hit the spot.

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