OnlyOnAOL: Bob Odenkirk has something in common with Snooki

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BY DONNA FREYDKIN

Bob Odenkirk is more shocked than anyone by the success of his series "Better Call Saul," the AMC spinoff prequel to the beloved "Breaking Bad." He plays small-time attorney Jimmy McGill in the years before he winds up as sleazebag Saul Goodman on "Bad."

"Because I'd been in the business so long and I'd made so many projects and so many of them disappeared, there was a part of me that didn't confront the fact that people would watch the show," says Odenkirk, a comedic trailblazer who previously worked as a writer for "Saturday Night Live," "Late Night with Conan O'Brien," and "The Dennis Miller Show." In the '90s, he created the beloved sketch comedy series "Mr. Show" with David Cross.

So color him pleasantly surprised by the response to his show.

"Then it occurred to me that people are poised to hate us because they liked 'Breaking Bad' so much. But they gave us a chance because 'Breaking Bad' ended before everyone got tired of it. They sampled it and gave it a chance to grow. When you're in Hollywood for a long time, you can get really cynical about audiences. I was more surprised by week three than week one," says Odenkirk.

Odenkirk loves the writing on the show and the character development. But he has an even zestier connection to the series, which airs Mondays. "A lot of great crab dip. It was crab dip from Whole Foods. Watch eating scenes in movies and TV. Watch the actor sort of pretend to eat but not really. It's a real tricky little talent. That s—t was so good, that I ate a pound of crab dip. I couldn't eat anything the rest of the day," he says.

In all seriousness, though, Odenkirk couldn't imagine embodying Saul for years on end, so Jimmy is a palate cleanser. Saul didn't have much depth to him, to say the least. "Saul was fun to play, for sure. He was a selfish and self-interested character who was sleazy but very purposefully shallow," he says. "Playing (Jimmy), a character who has a great desire to connect with people, is wonderful. I like him and that's great. 'Breaking Bad' was a midlife crisis guy trying to save his family. The pressures were understandable. 'Better Call Saul' started as this quirky, offbeat, unique tale with a very different vibe and energy."


A few of Odenkirk's current small-screen favorites: "Last Man on Earth," starring Will Forte, and Zach Galifianakis' "Baskets." But he has also tasted a few of TV's more low-brow offerings.

"What was it, 'Snooki & Jwoww,' I watched two minutes of that the other day. Well, that's the show," he says. "Part of the reason is, to be, is that it's all the same. I can see the attraction of watching it for five or ten minutes."

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OnlyOnAOL: Bob Odenkirk has something in common with Snooki
Anna Gunn at AOL Build. 
Anna Gunn at AOL Build on July 28. 
Gunn at the premiere of 'Equity.' 
Gunn promotes 'Equity' at the Tribeca Film Festival. 
Aaron Paul, Anna Gunn and Bryan Cranston at the 66th Emmy Awards Governors Ball in 2014. 
Gunn and Cranston in 2014. 
FILE - This image released by AMC shows Bob Odenkirk in a scene from the final season of "Breaking Bad." AMC and Sony Pictures Television confirmed that Odenkirk, who plays Saul Goodman, will star in a one-hour prequel tentatively titled "Better Call Saul." (AP Photo/AMC, Ursula Coyote, file)
Betsy Brandt, left, and Bryan Cranston, cast members in "Breaking Bad," pose together at the 30th Annual Television Critics Association Awards Show at the Beverly Hilton on Saturday, July 19, 2014 in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)
Bryan Cranston, left, star of the television series "Breaking Bad," accepts the Program of the Year award as the show's creator and executive producer Vince Gilligan, center, and cast member Aaron Paul look on at the 30th Annual Television Critics Association Awards Show at the Beverly Hilton on Saturday, July 19, 2014 in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)
Actors Bryan Cranston, from left, Betsy Brandt and RJ Mitte from the television show "Breaking Bad" attend the 73rd Annual George Foster Peabody Awards at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel on Monday, May 19, 2014, in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)
Aaron Paul with the International Award for Breaking Bad at the Arqiva BAFTA Television Awards at The Theatre Royal in London on Sunday, May 18, 2014. (Photo by Jon Furniss/Invision /AP Images)
FILE - In this Jan. 12, 2014 file photo, Bryan Cranston poses in the press room with the award for best TV series - drama for "Breaking Bad" and best actor in a TV series - drama for "Breaking Bad" at the 71st annual Golden Globe Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, in Beverly Hills, Calif. The award-winning actor, known for his role as Walter White in “Breaking Bad,” has a deal with Scribner for what is described as a “deeply candid” memoir. Scribner announced Thursday, April 3, 2014, the book is due out in the fall of 2015. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP, file)
From Left, Steven Michael Quezada, Bryan Cranston and Dean Norris pose in the press room with their awards for outstanding performance by an ensemble in a drama series for "Breaking Bad" at the 20th annual Screen Actors Guild Awards at the Shrine Auditorium on Saturday, Jan. 18, 2014, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Matt Sayles/Invision/AP)
From left, Lavell Crawford, show creator and executive producer Vince Gilligan, Bryan Cranston, Dean Norris, RJ Mitte, and Bob Odenkirk are seen at the U.S. premiere of the revealing new feature-length documentary NO HALF MEASURES: CREATING THE FINAL SEASON OF BREAKING BAD, on Monday, Nov. 25, 2013 at the Pacific Theatre at the Grove in Los Angeles. The event celebrated two releases from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment: the Blu-ray™ of Breaking Bad: The Complete Series and the Blu-ray/DVD of Breaking Bad: The Final Season. The documentary is exclusive to the Complete Series. Q & A followed the screening, after which stars signed Blu-ray and DVD copies at nearby Barnes & Noble. (Photo by John Shearer/Invision for Sony Pictures Entertainment Television/AP Images)
From left, Bryan Cranston, show creator and executive producer Vince Giligan, and Dean Norris arrive at the U.S. premiere of the revealing new feature-length documentary NO HALF MEASURES: CREATING THE FINAL SEASON OF BREAKING BAD, on Monday, Nov. 25, 2013 at the Pacific Theatre at the Grove in Los Angeles. The event celebrated two releases from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment: the Blu-ray™ of Breaking Bad: The Complete Series and the Blu-ray/DVD of Breaking Bad: The Final Season. The documentary is exclusive to the Complete Series. Q & A followed the screening, after which stars signed Blu-ray and DVD copies at nearby Barnes & Noble. (Photo by John Shearer/Invision for Sony Pictures Entertainment Television/AP Images)
Bryan Cranston, left, and Dean Norris arrive at the U.S. premiere of the revealing new feature-length documentary NO HALF MEASURES: CREATING THE FINAL SEASON OF BREAKING BAD, on Monday, Nov. 25, 2013 at the Pacific Theatre at the Grove in Los Angeles. The event celebrated two releases from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment: the Blu-ray™ of Breaking Bad: The Complete Series and the Blu-ray/DVD of Breaking Bad: The Final Season. The documentary is exclusive to the Complete Series. Q & A followed the screening, after which stars signed Blu-ray and DVD copies at nearby Barnes & Noble. (Photo by John Shearer/Invision for Sony Pictures Entertainment Television/AP Images)
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