‘We Don’t Get to Carry on Forever. We Just Don’t’: Bob Odenkirk on His Heart Attack and Hospitalization
It’s been 17 months since Better Call Saul star and comedy legend Bob Odenkirk collapsed on the set of the lauded Breaking Bad prequel series. In that time, he has finished the masterfully made Saul Goodman spinoff, he’s been sinfully snubbed at every awards show, and he’s started a new series at AMC called Lucky Hank, a “workplace comedy ruled by intellectual snobbery,” which is slated to premiere this March.
Speaking at a Television Critics Association press conference in Pasadena, California this past Tuesday, Odenkirk had some ruminations on the cardiac event that led to his hospitalization and five-week absence from the production of Better Call Saul. In a style befitting his diverse legacy in the field of television, Odenkirk opened up about his harrowing health scare with a balance of silly and somber contemplations.
Odenkirk joked to the crowd of critics that, following his recovery from a heart attack in July, 2021, his return to work made him feel like a “weird little baby bird at the age of 59, like, 'Hey everybody! What are we doing today?'” Despite everything Odenkirk has accomplished since the health scare, he still feels as if he is still reeling from the event almost a year and a half later. Said Odenkirk of his recovery, "I'm still in the middle of it."
"Literally, I couldn't remember any of it and even had a hard time making memories for a couple of weeks afterward," Odenkirk said of his return to work in 2021. "Some people say it was like a mechanism, like a self-protective thing that your body does, but I don't know. Everyone has different experiences with those kinds of things.”
Odenkirk believes that his work ethic was a contributing factor to the heart attack, and he explained that his effort to balance his ambitions with his health needs is an ongoing process, saying, “That's a very serious subject to me right now, is trying to balance work-life balance. Because I don't think I've figured it out yet, and I didn't figure it out at the time. And I have to do a better job because we don't get to carry on forever. We just don't."
Despite this conflict between dedication to his work and managing his health, Odenkirk has wasted no time at all moving on from the acclaimed finale of Better Call Saul to begin the production of his new AMC show Lucky Hank. Odenkirk is thankful for the support the channel has had for him through the process and for the enthusiasm with which they began his new project, and he ended the session with a comment that is either a macabre joke about his own mortality, a quip about the AMC slate, or both, saying "I could've been a zombie. I could be any kind of zombie you want me to be."