“No, Buddy, I have to do this.”

When I was young, I never envisioned stand-up as a way to make a living. I was always the guy on the edge of the crowd saying things to people next to me and they’d laugh. I couldn’t help myself. Stand-up was something I had to do. […]

I probably got my first laugh at home. When someone laughed at something I said, I liked how laughter sounded. I also wanted to hear that sound more. I still like hearing that sound. […]

I stammered as a kid. You can hear it in my routines. But it was never a problem. I found that people finish your sentences when you start to stammer. They try to help you out, so you wind up off the hook.

I attended Loyola University and majored in business management and minored in accounting. I always had a head for numbers. Then I went into the Army during the Korean War. When I was discharged, I went to law school under the GI Bill. Then I left to work as an accountant.But accounting was painfully dullThat’s when I convinced myself to try to make a living at comedy as a solo act. But it was a slow process, and I took part-time jobs to make ends meet. In the late 1950s, I worked behind the counter at the Illinois unemployment office. I was paid $65 a week, but the claimants got checks for $55 and they only had to come in one day a week. So I left. […]

As my stand-up career evolved, I became known for keeping a straight face and for a slight, endearing stammer. The stammer is real. As for the straight face, that’s just my delivery.

Ginnie and I met in 1963 through comedian Buddy Hackett. When Buddy and I were first introduced, we started talking and I told him I had an accounting degree.

He said, “You mean you don’t have to do this?” I laughed and said, “No, Buddy, I have to do this.”

~ Bob Newhart, excerpts from Bob Newhart’s Ridiculous Road to Comedy (WSJ · by Aug. 29, 2017)

Bob Newhart, 87, is a stand-up comedian and actor who won three Grammy Awards in 1961 for his first comedy albums. He starred in two successful TV sitcoms, “The Bob Newhart Show” in the 1970s and “Newhart” in the ’80s, as well as in films such as “Catch-22.” He spoke with Marc Myers in this interview.


More famous lines from Bob Newhart:

  • “The first time I got up in front of an audience was terror, abject terror, which continued for another four or five years. There still is, a little bit.”
  • “I’ve been told to speed up my delivery when I perform. But if I lose the stammer, I’m just another slightly amusing accountant.”

Comments

  1. He’s a legend. I love him even more now!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. i have always loved him. i used to listen to/watch him with my father when i was little and never stopped .

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Smiling…I’d say the stammering is a gift that made his timing, perfect…Love his voice, his straight face and his smile and of course his material…

    Liked by 1 person

  4. gouparchery says:

    good post ..

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Great post and so well written. Stand up comedy is not an easy cake walk and it really takes all what you have got. Great. Thanks for the share and such a lovely smiling picture of Bob.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I have some of his routines on my iPod…he reach did have to do this…

    Liked by 1 person

  7. He’s a classic, and there is still so much light in those eyes !

    Liked by 1 person

  8. He is one of my favourite sitcom actors. I love when he is on the Big Bang Theory.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Being an eighty-something person I appreciate your being clever and funny and yes, still on the planet. How are you spending you days, who do you love, what are your joys?

    Liked by 1 person

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