Tuesday, March 2, 2010
Hello? Is This Bob Newhart?
"The only difference between Bob Newhart on stage and Bob Newhart offstage – is that there is no stage." ~ David Hyde Pierce
To continue the "March is Irish American History Month" theme we looked up the Wiki page of Irish-American comedians figuring there would be more than a few of the silver-tongued devils to feature here. The one that immediately leapt off the page was 1961 Grammy-award winner for Best Comedy Performance, Best New Artist, and Album of the Year: Bob Newhart.
In case the title to this post didn't strike you as funny we'll do a little history on Bob's humor. (You don't mind if we call you Bob, do you Mr. Newhart? No, no we didn't think so.) He has built a fifty year career on being a straight man... even when there was no one else there for him to be the foil against. They always say that it's really the straight man of the two who is actually the funnier one ("they" includes people like Jerry Lewis talking about Dean Martin). That being said, Bob Newhart is apparently SO funny that the other half of his comedy team is just the absurdity of the world at large. In his early work he played out this "solo straight man" by using the simple prop of a telephone where he would carry on one-sided conversations. You may remember that this style worked its way into both The Bob Newhart Show (1972-78, Emmy-nominated) and Newhart (1982-90, Emmy-nominated), but wasn't as out of context on sitcoms as watching one-sided phone calls being performed by a comedian on a stage.
So what's Bob been up to lately? You might have noticed that he played Will Farrell's adoptive elf father in Elf (2003) and that he's also playing Judson in the Librarian series of TV movies (2004-). Check out the Bob Newhart page at Stuff That Gets Stuck in Our Store.