Doing what? Reviewing a book by a comedian I never really watched on television. Why? I don’t know. When I ran across I Shouldn’t Even Be Doing This: and Other Things that Strike Me as Funny, I thought it might be a worthwhile read.
This is a memoir that only Bob Newhart could have written. Not necessarily in chronological order, he talks about his life growing up in Chicago and his experiences in stand-up comedy, television, and movies. He provides a few of his stand-up routines and explains how he put together his various comedy albums. He shares his opinions on psychology, religion, death, and other topics. I would tell you that Bob Newhart did a great job reading this book, but I downloaded the recording from the National Library Service’s Braille and Audio Reading Download site, and the narrator here does a pretty good job. I won’t be surprised, though, if Audible has a recording of Newhart reading the book.
According to Wikipedia, Bob Newhart was born on September 5, 1929 in Oak Park, Illinois. He became prominent in the 1960’s when his comedy album, The Button-Down Mind of Bob Newhart, became a best-seller and moved to #1 on the Billboard popular music charts. It’s still the twentieth best-selling comedy album in history. His follow-up album, The Button-Down Mind Strikes Back, was also a huge success, and both records held the #1 and #2 positions on the Billboard charts simultaneously.
He later starred in two long-running and prize-winning television situation comedies: first as psychologist Dr. Bob Hartley on The Bob Newhart Show in the 1970’s, then as innkeeper Dick Loudon on Newhart in the 1980’s. He was also in a third short-lived television situation comedy, Bob, in the 1990’s.
He appeared in such movies as Catch-22 and Elf. He was the voice of Bernard in the Walt Disney films, The Rescuers and The Rescuers Down Under. One of his most recent roles was in The Librarian. In 2011, he made a cameo in the movie Horrible Bosses.
In the 1970’s, my mother watched Bob Newhart and Mary Tyler Moore back to back on television every week, but for some reason, I never took an interest in him. However, I got several good laughs out of I shouldn’t Even Be Doing This: and Other Things That Strike Me As Funny. It was a great source of comic relief after reading a downer like The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry.