Bob Odenkirk’s Advice to His 2 Sons: ‘Be kind. You’ll see everyone again’

Shortly after the first episode of “Lucky Hank” a new AMC series, haunting English teacher Hank Devereaux, Jr. (Bob Odenkirk), complains about it 80 percent of adulthood can be summed up in a single word.


“Who isn’t miserable, huh?” Hank asks his wife, Lily (Mireille Enos).

Turns out Lily isn’t as miserable as her husband. Odenkirk says it’s their relationship that concerns him the most about the new AMC series, which premieres March 19.

“It’s the deepest thing on the show, but you won’t see that for a while,” he tells in a sit-down interview after his appearance on the show. “But if you watch all eight episodes, you’ll see how much it’s about that relationship.”

Based on book “Straight Man” by Richard Russo, “Lucky Hank” is a drama centered on Hank, a moody college professor in the middle of a midlife crisis.

Fed up with the English department he chairs at Railton (a fictional college that Hank refers to disparagingly as the “capitol of mediocrity”), he goes through the motions of his life unsatisfied, relying on Lily to provide him with his only spark of joy.

“She helps him balance out his crazy, cranky energy and it’s great,” Odenkirk says. “(But you it shouldn’t be so dependent to someone else, even your wife.”

“We’ll see what happens,” he adds cryptically.

Directed by Peter Farrelly (“Something About Mary” and “Two very silly fools”), Odenkirk says that ultimately “Lucky Hank” is a journey and that “unlike a lot of TV shows, there’s probably more growth or alteration and change than you’re used to seeing in the characters.”

Saul Goodman vs. Hank Devereaux

the new AMC series it’s the first since “Better Call Saul” ended in 2022, another AMC show that earned Odenkirk a string of Emmy nominations for his portrayal of unscrupulous lawyer Jimmy McGill, best known for as in Saul Goodman.

After 10 seasons playing Goodman (including “Breaking Bad”), Odenkirk says the chance to play someone new was “very refreshing.”

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“I don’t understand anyone who goes into show business to play the same character their whole life,” says the actor. “We all want to play with so many different people.”

And, according to Odenkirk, Hank Devereaux and Saul Goodman they are “fundamentally different” people, with Hank being the more relatable and arguably funnier character of the two.

Bob Odenkirk as Hank

“Saul was funny, but I didn’t know he was doing it,” Odenkirk explains. “You’re laughing at him mostly.”

“When I was Saul,” he continues, “the most difficult thing was his lack of self-awareness. He was so aware of others, he was so good at sizing up other people, but he couldn’t avoid his own bulls… -t until the end of the show. He found out who he really was, but it took him a long time.”

Odenkirk also appreciates that, unlike other TV shows, “there are no guns, drugs, zombiescartels” in “Lucky Hank,” but instead “human beings trying to do their jobs and be nice to each other and not mess around too much.

“It’s very different from Saul and that’s what I wanted to do,” he continues.

Living in a van by the river

Saturday Night Live (NBC)

Saturday Night Live (NBC)

Like his on-screen counterpart, Odenkirk is also a writer with a tenure that dates back to the 1980s when he began writing and performing at Chicago’s The Second City Mainstage before landing a steady gig on Saturday Night Live.

Unlike Hank, who despises mediocrity, Odenkirk says he believes mediocrity is an important part of the writing process, calling it the “step you have to take before you get to greatness.”

“You don’t sit down and write something and it’s perfect, unless you get very lucky every once in a while,” he says. “I’ve probably written thousands of comedy sketches and I can name five that I wrote that were exactly what I wanted when I sat down and wrote it.”

Top of the list? The classic “Motivational Speaker” skit, or as most people know it, “Living in a van by the river.”

“That was a scene I wrote exactly as you see it,” he says.

Long before the sketch aired on SNL in 1993, Odenkirk and the late comedian Chris Farley they performed the sketch together in Chicago. Odenkirk says it was one of the best moments he’s ever had in show business, and that Farley as Matt Foley made the material “sing.”

“Doing that sketch with Chris Farley in Second City was the most fun you could ever have in your life, because he made it a joy every time,” says Odenkirk.

“I love Chris so much and I’m so proud to have been a part of this.”

The advice he gives his children about life

Actor Bob Odenkirk, wife Naomi Yomtov and their children (Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic)

Actor Bob Odenkirk, wife Naomi Yomtov and their children (Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic)

Married to wife Naomi Yomtov since 1997, Odenkirk has two children, Nate, 24, and Erin, 22.

In addition to “Lucky Hank,” Odenkirk is also collaborating with daughter Erin, an artist, on a new book called “Zilot & Other Important Rhymes,” a children’s book due out in October.

Calling the project “the most important thing in the world to me” during an interview with Hoda Kotb on TODAY, Odenkirk says the book is a mash-up of poems he and his children wrote together when they were young. After sitting on a shelf for years. , reworked the poems during the pandemic, added illustrations and turned it into a book.

Now that his children are adults, what advice does the seasoned actor give them?

“Be nice, you’re going to see everybody again. Whether you go up or down, you’re going to be able to see everybody again and again and again … hopefully,” says Odenkirk.

“You don’t know what they’ve done today, what they’re going through, you know, you still have to stand up for yourself, but try to have some empathy for people. You don’t really know their story.”

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