Bob Odenkirk might’ve spoken too soon in denouncing monarchs.
Host Henry Louis Gates Jr. reveals on the show that Odenkirk’s sixth great-grandfather was Germany’s Duke of Plön, who was related to the royal families of Europe. But the actor is quick to assert that he’s “not a monarchist.”
“I’m an American,” Odenkirk says in a teaser clip. “I don’t believe in, uh, that. You know, I feel like it’s a little twisted.”
He adds: “I understand why society built itself around monarchs and leaders. ... But I think that we’ve gotten to a better place with democracy, and we should keep going down that road.”
It’s at that moment that an excited Gates primes Odenkirk for a follow-up revelation, saying, “You and King Charles III are 11th cousins.”
The actor is initially at a complete loss for words before guffawing — and cheekily reassessing his stance.
“Well, maybe I’ll change my mind on that,” quips Odenkirk. “Oh, that is crazy!”
Gates’ team of genealogical researchers went back generations to trace Odenkirk’s lineage to a fifth great-grandfather named Friedrich Carl Steinholz, who was born out of wedlock in 1755 and fathered by the Duke of Plön.
Royal families commonly intermarried to maintain political alliances, which helps explain how Odenkirk is distantly connected to the British crown.
When Gates asks how Odenkirk feels about “all of this,” the actor appears grateful.
“Like I’m part of history that I didn’t think I was any part of,” he answers.
Gates, who also heads the Hutchins Center for African & African American Research at Harvard University, has previously surprised other celebrities with unexpected family connections — like drag performer RuPaul and Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) being cousins.
Odenkirk’s episode of “Finding Your Roots,” which is currently in its 10th season, airs Tuesday on PBS at 8 p.m. Eastern time.