• The Bossy Bookworm

Review of Comedy Comedy Comedy Drama: A Memoir by Bob Odenkirk

Bob Odenkirk's memoir digs into fascinating elements of process, creativity, and collaboration, and he shares his own missteps, joys, and his unexpected satisfaction in playing dramatic roles after a long career in fringe and mainstream comedy.

You might know Odenkirk from his role as the sleazy lawyer with a heart in the show Breaking Bad, or from his lead role in the spinoff series I love, Better Call Saul. Or you might know him from his older work as a Saturday Night Live writer (he wrote the iconic "Motivational Speaker" skit for Chris Farley), as a writer and star of Mr. Show with his frequent writing partner David Cross, or from his work on The Ben Stiller Show.

Comedy Comedy Comedy Drama takes a fascinating deep dive into the craft of comedy writing and performing, and into Odenkirk's particular journey through comedy to his later, unanticipated and significant success in dramatic roles, and I found it fascinating.

This a conversational foray into Odenkirk's zigzagging route to creative success. Comedy Comedy Comedy Drama shares the gradual unfolding of the author's circuitous path through fringe comedy, his moves to more well-known avenues where he shared and experiment with his ideas, to his more recent projects and the unexpected satisfaction he has discovered through taking on deeper dramatic roles--and, in a surprise twist, action roles as well.

Odenkirk shares intriguing details about what he has experienced professionally (with a little personal journey thrown in) and what he's learned along the way about himself, his way of thinking about humor and characters, and his intense love for an ensemble that works dedicatedly together and thrives on collaboration and challenge.

He digs into details about process; many of his own (sometimes hard-won) revelations; his navigation of the pitfalls of--and discovery of the incredible creativity possible through--either dogged teamwork or the following of individual instincts to the exclusion of collaboration; and he doesn't pull punches as he uses hindsight to unpack what he sees as his own fallibility or missteps in certain professional situations.

I was particularly interested in Odenkirk's candid introspection and reflections as related to his particular creative leanings and talents, in how he feels they have variously meshed beautifully with, boosted, or never quite gelled with various situations and opportunities, and the effect on the projects' final results.

The incomplete sentences and lightning-fast topic shifts took some getting used to, but they add to the feel that you're sitting next to Odenkirk and he's filling your ear with gems from his odd and interesting life, sometimes-corny jokes included. The book seems to lend itself to an audiobook format because of Odenkirk's strong voice and manner of speaking.

I received a prepublication digital copy of this recent book courtesy of NetGalley and Random House.

Do you have any Bossy thoughts about this book?

If you like memoirs, you might want to check out this Greedy Reading List, Six More Fascinating Memoirs to Explore--which links to six more memoir lists for you to dig into! (That's forty-two Bossy memoir suggestions for those of you as obsessed with memoirs as I apparently am.)