Making the Grades
One of the questions most frequently asked of this Golden Globe winner, after the success of his first TV series was: Did you do anything before The Bob Newhart Show? In this recorded-for-TV Button Down Concert from 1995, the actor/comedian explains, yes-- and sets out to share with the viewers some of his best stand-up routines--the ones that made him a legend in the industry.
Straight-faced, and sometimes with a bit of a stutter, Newhart humorously explores what makes bus drivers delight in leaving potential customers panting on the sidewalk, how a novice security guard would handle an intrusion from King Kong, and why the captain of a submarine would have an open door policy.
Many of these old sketches will be familiar to his fans -- in fact Newhart makes a joke about people in the audience reciting his lines along with him! My favorite, which I remember hearing many years ago, is the experiences of a driver instructor -- but perhaps that's just because I operate a vehicle much like his student.
Most of his material is friendly enough to share with family members, with the exception of a mildly suggestive bit about a ski-mask wearing flasher, who has to be identified in a police line-up. Unfortunately, the only part of him to be seen by his female victims is the part exposed when he opened his raincoat. There are also a couple of references to drunkenness (including an inebriated employee who is loosed-lipped during his retirement speech), and a few mild expletives.
Famous for delivering one-sided conversations (often on a telephone), Newhart's clever quips gently poke fun at the marketing of politicians, the ridiculousness of smoking tobacco, and the complexities of baseball. And while his comments about economy airlines may make you afraid to fly, there is little doubt you'll be willing to get onboard this soaring concert tour again and again.
Discussion Ideas After The Movie
Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about Bob Newhart Button Down Concert.
Included on the disc is an interview with Bob Newhart. Why does he look so different in the documentary setting than he does during his stage performance?
Newhart claims his routines are so appealing because the audience becomes engaged trying to guess what was said during the unheard portion of the conversation. Do you think he is right? How can you tell if you have guessed correctly? How does the comedian build clues into the dialogue of the routine?