Reversing the career path spelled out by the title of his new autobiography Comedy Comedy Comedy Drama, Bob Odenkirk got the dramatic stuff out the way first on Monday’s Late Show. Having just wrapped on the final ever scene of Better Call Saul, Odenkirk told a rapt Colbert about the day he nearly died on set, when, in July of last year, the now 59-year-old actor and comedy legend collapsed after suffering a heart attack.
“Well, when you come back from the grave, you get applause,” joked Odenkirk about the rapturous and relieved applause that greeted his entrance. So there was a little comedy—it is Bob, after all. But after that, Odenkirk reiterated how grateful he was seeing the outpouring of well-wishes that greeted the happy news that the Mr. Show star was going to be okay. “For the rest of my life, I’ll be thinking about the warmth that was sent my way when I went through that,” noted Odenkirk earnestly, before incorrectly claiming that he didn’t deserve such a wave of online love.
Underscoring just how close we came to losing him, Odenkirk told fellow Second City star Colbert that he simply doesn’t have any memory of the day some insidious arterial plaque tried to straight-up murder him—or the entire week afterward. He also praised Better Call Saul’s health safety supervisor Rosa Estrada and assistant director Angie Meyer for immediately working to keep him alive until paramedics arrived, a sentiment we can all get behind. Odenkirk told Colbert’s crowd that CPR certification is a thing we all might look into, should we wish to keep our loved ones (or the multifaceted star of one of the best dramas in recent TV history) from dying.
Then it was time for the comedy, as Odenkirk brought along a film clip—from his recent memoir. Or, rather, the long and lonely process of writing a memoir, which, in Odenkirk’s case, involves cabin full of harried hired writers, giant buckets of mashed potatoes, and a year’s worth of scotch (for him, not those writer punks). In full mogul mode, author Odenkirk is seen berating his assembled ghost writers for not making his life interesting/salacious enough, and for using big words like “inconsolable.” “This is an actor’s memoir,” roared Odenkirk, “Dumb it down!”
Look, as Odenkirk explained to Colbert, writing is a tough business, and sometimes you’re going to have to order your team of sycophantic college boys and girls to go stand in the corner facing the lamp until they get it right, dammit. “That doesn’t make me look good. That makes me look like a monster,” author Odenkirk furiously complained to one nervous writer while swilling his decanter of booze through a straw, “Humanize me, dammit! Humanize me!!” He also punished one writer for suggesting he had a cocaine problem, sneering, “Do I look like I’m 90? That’s 1970s crap.” Off to the corner she goes.
For his efforts, Odenkirk was presented with a plaque by Colbert, awarding him the esteemed, first-ever Bob Odenkirk Award For The Most Yelling In A Short Film. And while Odenkirk’s many tirades in the short didn’t include him even once saying “GODDAMMIT!,” nobody can say the Nobody star doesn’t deserve all the plaques in the world.
Better Call Saul’s final, 13-episode season premieres on April 18 on AMC. His memoir, Comedy Comedy Comedy Drama, is for sale now.