‘The Cranky Conservative Jackass Was Right!’: Bob Odenkirk Says He Ignored His Right-Wing Doctor’s Warnings Leading Up to His Heart Attack
In an increasingly divided America, the one point that both sides can agree upon is this: Bob Odenkirk better start taking his goddamn statins.
When the sketch comedy legend suffered a heart attack on the set of Better Call Saul in 2021, it sent shockwaves across the humor community as admirers and collaborators alike sent their support to the ailing and underappreciated icon. As expected, Odenkirk has refused to take his health care seriously during interviews with concerned colleagues, once quipping on The Tonight Show, “It was a classic heart attack. I said, ‘Gimme the top — the best one.’” Ever industrious, Odenkirk was back on his feet and on set within weeks of the ordeal and has not stopped his prodigious pace since.
Unlike Odenkirk himself, one person in his camp has been taking warning signs seriously since long before the hospitalization put him temporarily out of order — his crabby, cranky, conservative cardiologist was preaching preventative measures leading up to the attack, but Odenkirk ignored them for the simple reason that his right-leaningness was incredibly irritating. So is dying in your 50s, Bob.
"My doctor was a conservative. He got crankier and crankier the older he got," Odenkirk explained on a recent episode of Tig Notaro’s podcast Don’t Ask Tig. “When I was 50, I went in — he was a heart doctor, Cedar-Sinai — and he had signs up all around his office at this point that said, ‘We do not accept Obamacare,’ and I hated this side of him that I only learned over time."
As a mainstay of snarky liberal alt-comedy in the late 1990s and early 2000s, Odenkirk’s distaste for his doctor’s politics complicated the relationship between him and his healthcare provider and apparently caused him to ignore important medical advice. “I’d been with him for 20 years, and he said, 'You need to start taking statins right now,’” said Odenkirk. “And I said, ‘Well, I don’t know. I don’t have heart disease in my family.’ He goes, ‘Just take ‘em.’”
Odenkirk went out and got a second opinion, and his less politically unpleasant back-up told him that heart medication wasn’t necessary at that stage in his life. A couple years later, Odenkirk collapsed on set, and he quickly came to the conclusion that, “The cranky conservative jackass was right, because he was a goddamn good doctor!”
“His political point of view doesn’t have anything to do with his ability to judge your health and your health choices and needs," Odenkirk admitted. But honestly, I’d vote for Ben Carson if he promised to keep Bob alive.