In a continued celebration of my 50th birthday 7-22-15, I’m writing 50 thank you notes in 50 weeks. Here’s number seven--to Bob Newhart for all the laughs he's given me over the years.
A little background first for those of you who may not be familiar with Bob Newhart. First of all, he has a distinct comedic style. He delivers lines with deadpan expression, often with a slight stammer, usually acting as the straight man (even, amazingly, in his one-man shows). Newhart's first album sky-rocketed up the billboard charts in 1960, becoming the first comedy album to reach the number one spot. His famous skit, "Abe Lincoln vs. Madison Avenue," opens the album. This bit is a classic Newhart schtick in which we, the audience, overhear one side of a telephone conversation. It is with a nod to that signature Newhart style that I offer this thank you note.
Hi Mr. Newhart? It's Aileen Lawrimore, from--excuse me?
Oh. No. We haven't met. I'm just a fan from North Carolina.
No, no, I'm not selling fans. I am--
No! I'm not selling anything; I'm a FAN. Of your comedy.
Nice to talk to you too sir, a privilege.
Well, no, I didn't buy your records, mainly because they came out before I was born. I've listened to them, though. Of course now, they're not really records; they're MP files.
Uh, no sir not empty files, MP files--you know, digital files for the computer.
Hard to believe, I know. In fact they actually sound . . . well . . . they sound better than the old LPs.
You are absolutely right, Mr. Newhart, your LP's did do just fine. Better than fine, I'd say. Number one on the billboard charts back in 1960.
Yes, I had heard that you beat Elvis Pressley for that top spot. Impressive.
How much did I pay for your albums? Oh, I . . . um . . . I didn't actually buy the MP files. I listened to them online. There are several sites that have them availab--
No sir, I wouldn't . . . um . . . I wouldn't know about the royalties--
Well, right. I . . . I do know that I didn't, you know, pay anything for them. That's true.
But hey, how about your sitcoms! Those were the best!
I certainly did, sir. I watched your first show, The Bob Newhart Show, when I was in college. It was in reruns by then of course. But my friends and I loved it!
The game "Hi Bob?" When people would watch your show as a drinking game--taking a drink every time a character said "Hi Bob?" Yes, I've . . . I've heard of that.
Well, I went to a baptist college . . . you see . . . in a dry town. So umm . . .
Oh really? That's where the game was most popular, was it? How 'bout that . . . .
Yeah, so anyway, I loved your second show, Newhart, too. I thought Larry, and his brother Darryl and his other brother Darryl were hilarious. And oh my goodness Julia Duffy! Such a funny character; Duffy had such great comedic timing. Great stuff!
What's that? Oh! Of course I thought you were good in--
I agree with you sir, you were definitely the genius behind the--
You're right. It was your name in the title of the show not theirs; That's why I'm writing to--
No, I don't know if any of them have become authors in the last 10 years, but I read your book sir and it was terrific!
I sure did! Well, actually I listened to the audio version of it. Checked it out from the library.
Umm I guess so, sir. I suppose that does mean you didn't make any royalties off of me--
Right. AGAIN. Sorry about that.
But really, Mr. Newhart, I want to thank you. You've given me so much laughter throughout my life. Thanks for sharing your phenomenal sense of humor. The world is better because you did.
No sir, really. Thank YOU!