Bob Odenkirk grew up in Naperville, Illinois, the second of seven children. He worked as a DJ for WIDB, his college radio station at Southern Illinois University Carbondale. Three credits shy of graduation, he moved to Chicago. He began work there in local improv workshops. He also did open-mic stand-up comedy for several years. In Chicago, he became friends with Robert Smigel, who would later help him become a writer for "Saturday Night Live" (1975).
In 1987, Bob was hired as a writer for "Saturday Night Live" (1975) and in 1989 he went on to win an Emmy for his writing work. He worked on the show from season 13 to 20 (1987-1995). However, he had trouble getting his work on the air, so he began work as a writer for "Get a Life" (1990) starring Chris Elliott. The show was quickly canceled, but he was soon hired as writer for "The Dennis Miller Show" (1992). On that show he made his acting debut and was noticed by Ben Stiller, who later hired him as a writer and actor for "The Ben Stiller Show" (1992). The show only lasted for 13 episodes, but Bob won another Emmy for his writing.