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To heck with the hecklers

Bob Newhart: 50 Years in Showbiz

You’d think that in a long career that has made him one of America’s most beloved entertainers, Bob Newhart would have a memory of bests to look back on, including the surprise runaway success of his first album, “The Button-Down Mind of Bob Newhart,” which remains the second-best seller in the history of Billboard charts.

Or being the only comic to win a Grammy for new artist. Or fitting in with the hippest show of its time, “Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In,” where he first became aware of the American public’s ADD, and shaped his act accordingly.

But the nervous fastidiousness of his delivery is a reflection of the man. Asked about his most memorable moment as a comedian, he offers the following:

“I had a habit of checking out a room before I went on. In Vegas one night, I looked out to see where there might be a table that could be trouble, or where there was a drunk who might turn out to be a heckler. I wanted to know in advance what I’d have to deal with. I did that everywhere.

“But on this night, the Bob music came up, and I realized I’d forgotten to check the audience. Normally I might panic a bit. But I just said, ‘Know what? You’ll deal with it.’ That was my biggest moment.”

Bob Newhart: 50 Years in Showbiz
No halt in this delivery | To heck with the hecklers | TV dreams live on | Friends through schtick and thin

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