Bob Odenkirk

In the 1990s, Bob Odenkirk established himself as an avatar of the next wave of edgy, ribald American sketch comedy, initially as a cast member of the short-lived but portentous Fox series "The Ben Stiller Show" (1992-1993), then as co-creator and star of the off-the-wall subversive HBO series "Mr. Show With Bob and David" (1995-99). A native of Chicago's suburbs and later product of the Second City comedy fraternity, he followed that talent pipeline to a writing job on NBC's weekend institution "Saturday Night Live" (1975- ). Finding the "SNL" environment suffocating, he landed a cast role on "The Ben Stiller Show." Though the show only lasted a season, it would put Odenkirk in with Hollywood's comedy in-crowd, netting him work on HBO's groundbreaking single-cam "The Larry Sanders Show" (1993-98), writing for fellow "SNL"-alum Conan O'Brien's late-night talk show, and eventually creating his own HBO series alongside former "Stiller" co-writer David Cross, "Mr. Show." (The pair reunited later for a second series, "W/ Bob and David" (Netflix 2015).) He would expand his résumé as a producer-talent spotter of underground, post-structural comedy for online media and Cartoon Network's Adult Swim block, and as director of such offbeat, almost awkwardly silly comedy features as "Let's Go to Prison" (2006) and "The Brothers Solomon" (2008). Maintaining a regimen of comic supporting roles and TV guest-work, Odenkirk in 2009 joined the cast of the Emmy-winning AMC series "Breaking Bad" (2008-2013) as the cheerfully malignant TV lawyer Saul Goodman, a role he deepened and expanded on in the seriocomic prequel "Better Call Saul" (AMC 2015- ). A missionary of ironic over-the-top social satire, Odenkirk made himself a nexus of the edgiest comic circles.