Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Comedy Comedy Comedy Drama by Bob Odenkirk

Comedy Comedy Comedy Drama by Bob Odenkirk
My rating: 3 of 5 stars


If you're interested in the trajectory of how actors/comedians/writers slog away for years before finally making it, you'll probably enjoy this glimpse into Bob Odenkirk's professional life. If you're a huge fan of his, you'll LOVE this inside look.

I mainly know him as a dramatic actor with great comic chops as well from Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul. I'd heard of Mr. Show, but forgot he was part of it and never watched. The descriptions of sketches from it reminded me why; it doesn't sound like my thing. I'm going to watch a few he mentioned, anyway, in case it's something I might love after all. 

It's a well-written book about a fascinating journey through the business of show over several decades. It's also a very white, male journey. This isn't a criticism or complaint, it's just what it is.

Odenkirk would get a great opportunity, basically fail to shine (aka flop), then would succeed in a small way with a cult hit that never became mainstream (nor, I imagine, generated the income of a mainstream hit), then have more projects that didn't quite meet expectations. Yet he kept getting chances and more chances, and more people willing to put money into hiring him or backing his projects. He's not responsible for the system that kept giving him another shot, and he definitely worked hard and possessed all kinds of writing, acting and comic talent to justify giving him a chance.

But. It struck me that he got a hell of a lot of chances for someone who frequently, well, failed. I don't blame him for taking those opportunities; why wouldn't he take them? Especially when he was working hard to find them or create his own. He had the goods, even if it took time to find the right projects and his groove. I'm just noting a trend that stood out — so. many. opportunities. despite. failures. And also talented, famous people willing to get on board and work with him when he made his own opportunities as well, faith in him up to the brim despite no big win to show on his resume. What must all of that feel like? A lot of them were probably fans of Mr. Show, and maybe that feeling of being an insider to a cult classic fueled some goodwill.

All of that is just a lengthy aside, really. If you like Odenkirk's work or simply take an interest in comedy, give this a shot. You'll get much more out of it if you're a fan of Mr. Show, I suspect.

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