By STEVE LeBLANC
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (AP) — Award-winning actor and bestselling author Bob Odenkirk was feted Thursday as 2023 Man of the Year by Harvard University’s Hasty Pudding Theatricals, which included a roast during which he donned a pink dress over his clothes.
Odenkirk, best known as shady lawyer Saul Goodman on “Breaking Bad” and “Better Call Saul,” received his Pudding Pot award at the celebratory roast ahead of a preview of Hasty Pudding Theatricals’ 174th production, “COSMIC RELIEF!”
“I’m thrilled and surprised and I’m knocked out by what’s happening today,” Odenkirk said following the roast. “It’s been fun meeting all these students. It’s a crazy honor.”
Hasty Pudding Theatricals, which dates to 1844 and calls itself the third-oldest theater group in the world, has handed out a Man of the Year Award since 1967. Last year’s recipient was Jason Bateman, and previous honorees include Bob Hope, Dustin Hoffman and Sean Connery.
The awards are given out to people who have made lasting and impressive contributions to the world of entertainment.
During the 20-minute roast, Odenkirk was asked to don a pink dress over his clothes.
“It fits. It’s nice. It makes me look sharp,” he said. “And I like the little bears.”
The student presenters also referenced many of his past roles, including going back to his early years writing for Saturday Night Live. They also repeatedly poked fun at his thinning hair.
“I’ve tried everything. Supplements. Plugs. Devil worship,” he quipped during a sketch in which he read cue cards held up by students on stage.
He also read a comedically disjointed acceptance speech.
“As I’ve stated repeatedly throughout this speech, comedy and acting go hand in hand like a pendulum swinging up and down like a clock that’s broken but appears to work,” he said.
At the end of the event, he was asked to press his hands into a tray of butter — ala The Hollywood Walk of Fame — as part of new ad campaign “Butter Call Saul.” Odenkirk complied and was handed his pudding pot.
During a news conference after the event, Odenkirk said he was looking forward to more comedic roles in the future.
“I love doing sketch comedy so much,” he said.
Actress Jennifer Coolidge has been named Hasty Pudding Theatricals’ 2023 Woman of the Year. She will be honored at a separate event on Saturday.
Odenkirk reprised his “Breaking Bad” role of Saul Goodman, aka Jimmy McGill, in “Better Call Saul,” which earned him three Critics Choice TV awards and multiple Emmy, Golden Globe, and SAG Award nominations.
He is also the star and executive producer of “Lucky Hank,” adapted from the novel “Straight Man” by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Richard Russo, which is scheduled to premier on AMC and AMC+ on March 19.
Other acting credits include “Nobody,” “Mr. Show with Bob and David” and “Girlfriend’s Day.”
He received two Emmy Awards for his comedic writing for “Saturday Night Live” in 1989 and for “The Ben Stiller Show” in 1993.
In 2013 Odenkirk co-wrote The New York Times bestseller “Hollywood Said No!,” a collection of unproduced screenplays, and his third book released in March 2022, a memoir entitled “Comedy Comedy Comedy Drama,” went to No. 2 on The New York Times bestseller list.
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