People who can make me laugh are my absolute favorite. Obviously, if laughing wasn’t my thing, I wouldn’t be at Dallas Comedy House learning improv. It’s through said learning, though, that is making it more evident to me just how talented, and multi-faceted, comedians are. And maybe most importantly, I’m learning that it’s not always just about the joke or the laugh.
I love Better Call Saul. I really love Better Call Saul. Maybe it’s a bit obsessive how much I love it, but I have a tendency to become a smidge obsessed with things like TV shows, films, music, podcasts – all of it. Via social media, I communicate primarily in gifs from my favorite aspects of pop culture due to said obsessions, if that helps you paint a more accurate picture of my infatuation with all things arts and entertainment.
The second season of the AMC show just started on February 15 and follows everyone’s favorite “morally-flexible” lawyer, Saul Goodman’s, transformation from Slippin’ Jimmy to his character in the wildly successful and beloved Breaking Bad. But, if I’m being honest, I love Better Call Saul because of Bob Odenkirk.
Comedy fans will know Bob from Mr. Show, a sketch show also featuring David Cross that aired on HBO in the mid to late 1990s. Odenkirk also served as a writer on Saturday Night Live (SNL) for many years following his time at The Second City Chicago, writing sketches for Chris Farley (Matt Foley, Motivational Speaker, anyone?) and working alongside Conan O’Brien and Robert Smigel. In more recent years, Bob and David released a four-episode sketch show for Netflix, W/ Bob & David, that followed a similar structure as Mr. Show but, as both comedians suggest, is completely different.
With such a background in comedy, it’s impressive to watch Odenkirk in Better Call Saul because it’s such a dramatic role featuring such a complex character. I’m not by any means suggesting that comedic characters can’t also be complex but Jimmy McGill, as well as many of the other Saul characters, really dives headfirst into the deep end. Sure, Better Call Saul will make you laugh but I don’t think the show can exactly be classified a comedy.
While it was mentioned following the first episode of the season during Talking Saul (Yes, like, Talking Dead but about Better Call Saul, also hosted by Chris Hardwick), watching Better Call Saul really makes me think about how many comedians are able to step into very dramatic roles and completely nail it. Maybe this doesn’t quite seem out of the ordinary but how many dramatic actors are able to be really, really funny? A few, but not as many.
Comedians make the jump often and they make it memorable. Bill Murray, a household name in comedy, known for roles in classics like Caddyshack, multiple Wes Anderson films, and my personal favorite since I was a kid (I have no idea why), What About Bob? It was with Lost in Translation that we really got to see Murray’s versatility and ability to do something, and be someone, completely different. Kristen Wiig, another SNL favorite who, thank goddess, brought us Bridesmaids, shines in Welcome to Me and The Skeleton Twins. You can Google this very topic and find list after list of comedians who kill sans jokes, but I can’t bear to leave out Jim Carrey in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Robin Williams in Good Will Hunting, Steve Carell in, well, take your pick, Foxcatcher, The Big Short, just to name a few.
It’s undeniably exciting to watch a person, a person who inspires you yourself to be funny, no matter who that may be, a person who makes you laugh and is, at times, ridiculously silly, make you also angry, cry, cry happy tears or even be afraid, for them or of them. Or, at least, it’s exciting to me.
So, if anyone needs me for the next several Monday evenings, you can find me glued to my TV, rooting for Jimmy and Kim, watching him become Saul, drinking wine, and unintelligibly live-tweeting Better Call Saul like, “Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh #BetterCallSaul!!! 39 minutes in and I'm already losing my sh*t. So good. @mrbobodenkirk is the best.”*
*Actual (censored) tweet from my actual (uncensored) Twitter account.
Megan Radke is currently a Level 3 student at DCH. She is a copywriter and social media manager by day and an essayist and mediocre musician by night. She is a constant consumer of books, music, film, and all things comedy. She is also great at racking up copious amounts of credit card debt with spur-of-the-moment travel.