James Leroy Wilson's blog

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Bob Newhart Rules

Just saw the PBS "American Masters" profile of Bob Newhart. Funded by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. {Sarcasm Mode ON} So I repent and recant. Government is good, because such a tribute could NEVER have been made in a free market. Of course not! Not in a million years!{Sarcasm Mode OFF}

Anyway, it was a very entertaining show. I see his deadpan and awkward pauses were not forms of comedic stand-up, of delivering funny lines with effect, but were rather forms of acting. Newhart is an actor and writer. Television is his canvass.

I didn't know that he never delivered a live stand-up act at any time before the night he recorded his first album, which won a Grammy for Album of the Year. I didn't know that that album launched Warner's Record division AND the genre of comedy albums. I didn't know Newhart had a show in the early 60's that won an Emmy and Peabody and was cancelled after one season. Or that he had another variety show with Carol Burnett and others that was also cancelled. I didn't know that the transition from stand-up to star of a sit-com began with him. And he did it, successfully, twice.

Rather, I vaguely remember the Bob Newhart Show and being a fan of Newhart in the 1980's. I attribute him, the Murray Slaughter character played by Gavin Mcleod from the Mary Tyler Moore Show, David Letterman (who I don't watch anymore), Warner Bros. cartoons, and the Peanuts comic strip for developing my own sense of humor in my youth.

Which you don't often see here. But my family and friends should vouch for it. When the abortion lobby comes with a message of "a woman's right to choose" and "vote Democrat" and not recognize the irony, and the Religious Right comes to falsely claim it respects the Constitution, I am more inclined to throw rhetorical grenades at both sides, shoot to kill, and fix bayonets. But I'm still a funny guy, a "ha ha" funny guy. Serious.

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