‘Better Call Saul’ Star Bob Odenkirk Recalls Inspiration for Classic ‘SNL’ Sketch He Wrote for Chris Farley

by Matthew Memrick

Former ‘SNL’ star Chris Farley and his van down by the river skit came from “Better Call Saul” star Bob Odenkirk’s stoner memories.

The Chicago Tribune recently interviewed the Chicago-area native who wrote for Saturday Night Live in the 1990s before making it big. Odenkirk grew up in Naperville, and the DuPage river flowed through the town.

The actor recalled the Chicago suburb’s bridge. He told Time Out Chicago that he hated growing up in the town because “it felt like a dead end, like Nowheresville.” 

He added he couldn’t wait to leave and move to a city with exciting things.  

“It was a bridge for stoners when I was a kid,” the 59-year-old Odenkirk said. “Stoner kids hung out there. So this guy parking his van by a river — yes, that was the image I had.”

He conjured the image of Farley’s Matt Foley character working as a motivational coach to dissuade teenagers from going down the wrong path.

The character first appeared on a May 8, 1993, episode. Then, seven more following shows. Sadly, Farley died of a drug overdose in 1997.

And the rest is history. In a 2015 Chicago Tribune interview, Bob Odenkirk revealed that a Matt Foley movie was in the works, but plans ended after Farley’s death. The “Better Call Saul” actor said that was Farley’s part, and no one else could do it. Chicago native Melissa McCarthy played a homage to the character and the actor in the SNL 40th Anniversary episode in 2015.

Mending Odenkirk’s ‘Better Call Saul’ Wrapped Up

With filming wrapped up and COVID delays, the show’s final season airs this year, starting on April 18. The show will have 13 episodes for the AMC Network

That final season filming was a doozy for Bob Odenkirk. In July, he had to go to a New Mexico hospital after suffering a heart attack. He resumed filming in early September

He told the Tribune that he’s better now, telling the newspaper about having two stents put in after the health scare.

“I am taking the medicine I was given. I have a great workout.” Odenkirk said.

The star finished his thoughts saying he doesn’t have to slow down. He added he did, but he’s “past that now.”

Bob Odenkirk’s Hard Work Paying Off

Many saw Bob Odenkirk as an angry kid with a chip on his shoulder early in his career. Some may have felt the star was unapproachable. But since the heart attack, the star said he’d gotten a lot of goodwill from people. The actor chalked that up to the comedian mindset, where many start angry and motivated.

But now, it seems like all the hard work has paid off.

But recently, Odenkirk got some great news. The actor recently got recognized for his work when he earned a Primetime Emmy Award. His character got an Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series recognition for four of the series’ five seasons.