Bob Odenkirk says the Chris Farley ‘van down by the river’ ‘SNL’ sketch is his favorite thing he’s ever done


Bob Odenkirk sat down with NBC’s Hota Kotb on Tuesday morning to plug his new memoir, Comedy Comedy Comedy Drama. The title, of course, refers to the 59-year-old’s decades-spanning comedy career, before an accidental pivot in two of the most critically acclaimed drama series of all time, Breaking Bad and Never Call Saul, to his own action-thriller vehicle with 2021’s Nobody.

In other words, Odenkirk has a lot to be proud of. But when it comes to one of his all-time career highlights, the Mr. Show co-creator points to his humble beginnings as a writer.

As Kotb brought up, Odenkirk was the brains behind the infamous Chris Farley motivational speaker sketch, in which his character, Matt Foley, warns hip teens of a lifestyle that could eventually lead to “living in a van down by the river” as an adult. He wrote the sketch for Second City during a summer hiatus from Saturday Night Live, where he was a writer from 1987 through 1991, and of course, brought it back to Studio 8H with him.

“It’s one of my favorite things I’ve ever done in show business,” Odenkirk enthusiastically told Kotb. “My daughter asked me once, ‘What’s your favorite thing you’ve done,’ and I said, ‘It was doing this sketch at Second City every night the summer that I was there.”

“I wrote it for Chris. He wouldn’t quit until he made every performer laugh,” he continued, pointing to the clip that was rolling. “You can see him making Christina Applegate and David Spade laugh. He wouldn’t quit, he would just keep doing the character right in your face until you broke up.”

Odenkirk also opened up about his scary, on-set “heart incident” that derailed the filming of his AMC series, and nearly took his life.

“We were shooting a great scene. Me and Rhea Seehorn and Patrick Fabian, and some other people,” he explained. “And we had gone off to our waiting area and luckily I stayed in the area with the other actors because if I’d gone to my trailer I wouldn’t be here right now.”

It goes without saying that we’re all grateful that Odenkirk didn’t go to his trailer. The sixth and final season of Better Call Saul premieres on April 18, 2022.