Stand Up Comedian Bob Newhart
George Robert "Bob" Newhart (born September 5, 1929 in Oak Park, Illinois) is an American stand-up comedian and actor who is best known for playing psychologist Dr. Robert "Bob" Hartley on the 1970s sitcom The Bob Newhart Show and as innkeeper Dick Loudon on the 1980s sitcom Newhart.
Newhart also appeared in film roles such as Major Major in Catch-22, and Papa Elf in Elf. He provided the voice of Bernard in the Walt Disney animated films The Rescuers and The Rescuers Down Under. One of his most recent roles is the library head Judson in The Librarian Franchise.
Stand-up comedy albums
The auditions led to his break-through recording contract. A disc jockey at the radio station -- Dan Sorkin, who later became the announcer-sidekick on his NBC series -- introduced Newhart to the head of talent at Warner Bros. Records, which signed him only a year after the label was formed, based solely on those recordings. He expanded his material into a stand-up routine which he began to perform at nightclubs.
Newhart became famous mostly on the strength of his audio releases, in which he became the world's first solo "straight man." This is a seeming contradiction in terms--by definition, a straight man is the counterpart of a more loony comedic partner. Newhart's routine, however, was simply to portray one end of a phone call, playing the straightest of comedic straight men and implying what he was hearing on the other end of the phone.
Newhart told a 2005 interviewer for PBS's American Experience that his favorite standup routine is "Abe Lincoln vs. Madison Avenue," in which a slick promoter has to deal with the reluctance of the eccentric President to agree to efforts to boost his image. The routine was suggested to Newhart by a Chicago TV director and future comedian -- Bill Daily, who would be Newhart's castmate on the 1970s Bob Newhart Show for CBS.
Newhart was known for using an intentional stammer, in service of his unique combination of politeness and disbelief at what he was supposedly hearing.
His 1960 comedy album, The Button-Down Mind of Bob Newhart, went straight to number one on the charts, beating Elvis Presley and the cast album of The Sound of Music. Button Down Mind received the 1961 Grammy Award for Album of the Year. Newhart also won Best New Artist, and his quickly-released follow-on album, The Button-Down Mind Strikes Back, won Best Comedy Performance - Spoken Word that same year.
Subsequent comedy albums include Behind the Button-Down Mind of Bob Newhart (1961), The Button-Down Mind on TV (1962), Bob Newhart Faces Bob Newhart (1964), The Windmills Are Weakening (1965), This Is It (1967), Best of Bob Newhart (1971), and Very Funny Bob Newhart (1973).
Years later he released Bob Newhart Off the Record (1992), The Button-Down Concert (1997) and Something Like This (2001), an anthology of his 1960s Warner Bros. albums.
Newhart's success in stand-up led to his own NBC variety show in 1961, The Bob Newhart Show. The show lasted a single season, yet earned Newhart an Emmy Award nomination and a Peabody Award. The Peabody Board cited him as:
a person whose gentle satire and wry and irreverent wit waft a breath of fresh and bracing air through the stale and stuffy electronic corridors. A merry marauder, who looks less like St. George than a choirboy, Newhart has wounded, if not slain, many of the dragons that stalk our society. In a troubled and apprehensive world, Newhart has proved once again that laughter is the best medicine.
In the mid-1960s, Newhart appeared on The Dean Martin Show 24 times, and The Ed Sullivan Show eight times. He appeared in a 1963 episode of The Alfred Hitchcock Hour.
Newhart guest hosted The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson 87 times, and hosted Saturday Night Live twice, in 1980 and again in 1995.
Posted on Wednesday, October 24, 2007
In: Bob Newhart, Famous Male Comedians, American Comedians
Rate it! Current rating: Total votes: 23
Comments about Bob Newhart
I have a PHD in this show. There is one friend of mine with whom we always end our phone coversations with "I'm afraid our time is up", just like Bob Hartley.
posted @ Friday, December 4, 2009 8:08 PM by Scott Pasch
Leave a comment
Only registered users may post comments.