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The Most Fun Bob Odenkirk Had In His Career Led To SNL's Matt Foley Sketch

Before he served as Walter White's legal counsel Saul Goodman on "Breaking Bad" and "Better Call Saul," Bob Odenkirk wrote and played a key part with the legendary Chicago improv company Second City, also operating as a key element of the writing staff on "Saturday Night Live" from 1987 until 1995. 

During his tenure at "SNL," Odenkirk was responsible for helping introduce viewers to motivational speaker Matt Foley (Chris Farley), who famously resided in a van down by the river. In their time together at Second City,  Farley and Odenkirk had created the character as an anti-drug counselor who speaks to teenagers and Odenkirk — who originally played the part of the father who hires Foley — told fellow "SNL" alum Conan O'Brien that he penned the now-famous "Saturday Night Live" sketch for Farley three years after the character made a smashing debut on the Second City stage. 

"My daughter asked me once, 'What was the most fun you ever had doing what you do?'," Odenkirk recalled. "I told her, I still believe it would be eight shows a week with Chris doing the motivational speaker. I've never seen anything hit so hard, every time. And Chris wouldn't leave the stage until he had made all the performers laugh — he was driven to make you laugh when he did the sketch, every single night — so he'd be throwing in different things, he'd come right in your face, pushing his glasses up." 

"It was the greatest," he added. "It was pure awesomeness."

Robert Smigel added the memorable bit of physical comedy at the end of the original SNL sketch

In Matt Foley's first "Saturday Night Live" appearance (on May 8, 1993), the sketch had dad Phil Hartman and mom Julia Sweeney calling their kids (David Spade and Christina Applegate) to a family meeting; the "teens" are told that the family's housekeeper had found a bag of marijuana while cleaning the house. 

Hartman calls in over-caffeinated motivational speaker Foley, who comes up from the basement to talk some sense into the kids. Introducing himself, Foley delivers the line about his unique living quarters, which would become one of the most oft-repeated pop culture quotes of the '90s.

In that first "SNL" appearance, both Spade and Applegate clearly had a hard time keeping it together as Farley delivered his speech; the pair squirm as Farley gesticulates wildly and yells mere inches from their faces. In a classic "SNL" moment, he then falls into the family's coffee table, shattering it.

"I [had] sat down with a legal pad and wrote up that sketch exactly the way it [was] done," Odenkirk said of the near-seamless transition from Second City to "SNL." "Although Robert Smigel added him smashing the table ... at Second City, he'd march out the door, and everybody ran for the exits so they wouldn't be there when he got back."

Before his death in 1997, Farley would reprise the role multiple times on "SNL." In ensuing episodes, Foley could be seen speaking to a group of Halloween pranksters, scaring kids straight in prison, and even visiting some at-risk teens in Venezuela.