Bob Odenkirk is so well known now as Saul Goodman in the Breaking Bad universe (and even as an action star in the John Wick-like Nobody) that his work for four years as a writer on SNL is now fourth or fifth on the list of things that we associate with Odenkirk (also behind Mr. Show and even The Ben Stiller Show).
Odenkirk, however, was on the same writing staff with Conan O’Brien, and in fact, Conan was with Odenkirk when he came up with the famous Tom Hanks sketch, “Girl Watchers.” Odenkirk also believes that writing Chris Farley’s “Matt Foley: Motivational Speaker” is the best thing he’s ever done in his career, although that actually originated with Chris Farley at Second City.
Odenkirk, however, has another fond memory from SNL of something he isn’t particularly proud of, namely a monologue for SNL host Jeremy Irons that Odenkirk wrote with Rob Schneider. It’s a March 1991 episode that takes place two nights before the Oscars, for which host Jeremy Irons was nominated. The skit is not particularly successful, and it’s about Irons’ obsession with winning an Oscar. In the monologue, Irons talks about how he’s been trying to take his mind off of the Oscar race with some woodworking (shows a wooden Oscar he made); candle-making (shows a wax Oscar he made); painting (a portrait with an Oscar); fashion design (shows a coat he’s wearing with an Oscar on the back); and playing the piano (sings a song about winning the Oscar).
The good news is, Irons actually won the Oscar two nights later for his role in Reversal of Fortune. The bad news is, he hated the monologue, and he let Bob Odenkirk know it, as Odenkirk explained to Howard Stern this week. “You know who really yelled at me,” Odenkirk asked? “Jeremy Irons.”
“Rob Schneider and I had written this monologue, and it wasn’t great,” Odenkirk continued telling Stern while laughing. “He was really mad. He was so mad.”
Irons told Odenkirk, “I can’t do this. I can sing. I can dance. I can juggle. I am a Shakespearean-trained actor. And you have me doing this!” Hilariously, however, Odenkirk secretly taped the scolding. “I had a little recorder, and I taped it because I loved it so much. I played it for many people. I don’t know where it is now. It’s at the bottom of a bin somewhere.”
“And he was right, God bless him. It wasn’t a great monologue. But he’s a trooper.” Thankfully, I’m sure, after winning the Oscar, Irons never thought about that monologue again.
It wasn’t the only time Odenkirk was yelled at by a host. Odenkirk and Conan O’Brien were also yelled at by former New York Yankees’ owner George Steinbrenner, although that would put Odenkirk is good company.
Odenkirk, meanwhile, can be seen in theaters in Nobody, and he is currently in New Mexico taping the final season of Better Call Saul.