Bob Odenkirk on ‘Better Call Saul’: “I like… playing the moment, without a sense of where it’s going to go next”

Prior to Breaking Bad, Bob Odenkirk was probably best known for appearing in the cult favorite sketch comedy series Mr. Show. However, he was already one of the most respected comedy writers in the industry, having worked on Saturday Night Live, Late Night with Conan O’Brien, and The Dennis Miller Show, among others. Speaking with Deadline about his role on the AMC series follow-up to Breaking Bad, Better Call Saul, Odenkirk reveals whether he sees himself as an actor or a writer.

Though Odenkirk came up through comedy, he has developed a deep respect for dramatic television writing. He says, “I really respect the long-form TV storytelling, balancing the story progression and the arcs, discovering motivations for the characters that weren’t there initially, and making everything play honestly and organically.”

Despite Odenkirk’s background as a writer, he admits he stays as far away from the writing room as possible on the series. He explains, “I like the fact that I don’t know where we’re headed. I like playing the person, and playing the moment, without a sense of where it’s going to go next.”

Nonetheless, though audiences now recognize Odenkirk from playing Saul Goodman on two television series, he still doesn’t think of himself as an actor. He admits, “Look, I take it all very seriously, but still—just as a fallback in my own mind—the way I see myself is very much as a writer. Maybe I’m wrong. Just maybe I’m wrong.”