Bob Odenkirk: ‘Better Call Saul’ Emmy Noms Prove You Can ‘Ask a Lot’ From Viewers

Odenkirk says writers sometimes think the audience “can’t possibly be as smart as you. It’s just a mistake”

better call saul

Bob Odenkirk spent years as a writer before he became an Emmy nominee for his acting on “Better Call Saul,” so it’s no surprise that he credits the show’s writers for his acting success.

But he also gives props to the audience — those mysterious people he spent all those years trying to please by typing words on a page.

“I really am surprised by the nomination,” he told TheWrap. “I think it’s because I’ve been in Hollywood a long time, you do start to underestimate the audience and people’s willingness to watch something with texture and sensitivity. I think you have to feel the same way I do, a little bit. You have to go through the same process that creatives go through, which is you start to talk about the audience like they’re this other thing that can’t possibly be as smart as you. It’s just a mistake.”

“And every once in a while, a project comes along that proves that people aren’t as clumsy — and that they’re capable of watching something done quietly and with sensitivity. And I think ‘Better Call Saul’ is one of those things that’s here to remind us all that you can ask a lot of people.”

“Better Call Saul” received seven Emmy nominations Thursday, including for Outstanding Drama Series.

The “Breaking Bad” spinoff traces the life of attorney Jimmy McGill as he becomes Saul Goodman — Walter White’s criminal attorney — and then past the “Breaking Bad” years. We catch glimpses of him managing a Nebraska Cinnabon after fleeing Albuquerque.

Odenkirk’s writing career included time on “Saturday Night Live” — he wrote the Chris Farley “Matt Foley, Motivational Speaker” sketch that Rolling Stone declared the best “SNL” skit ever — and he also co-created and starred in HBO’s influential “Mr. Show With Bob & David” alongside David Cross.

For several years after “Mr. Show,” he focused largely on directing and fostering other talents, including the duo Tim & Eric.

“Breaking Bad” and “Saul” are the rare projects in which he acts instead of writing. Oddly enough, they may also be his biggest success.

“It’s a bit mind-blowing,” Odenkirk said. “After 25 years of waking up every morning and trying to sit my ass in a chair and write comedy, to really try to take on the fact that I have other endeavors to devote myself to that are really, really worthy — it takes some time to make that shift. I’m re-configuring myself all the time trying to adjust to this scenario.”