Entire generations, including the generation attending Washington State University, probably know Bob Newhart best as a TV sit-com star. This guy has been in more sit-coms than Jerry Van Dyke.
But long before that, back in the button-down days of the early ‘60s, Bob Newhart was the hottest standup comic on earth.
In fact, his stats are mind-boggling, or should we say button-down-mindboggling.
His album, “The Button Down Mind of Bob Newhart,” was the number one album in the nation for 14 straight weeks in 1960. That makes it the No. 8 album of that decade, right behind “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.”
In fact, that makes it the No. 25 album of the entire modern era (1955 to the present) according to Billboard magazine.
Let’s put this in perspective. The Beatles’ “Abbey Road” is the No. 42 album of modern era. “Elvis Presley” is the No. 49 album of the modern era. Newhart’s album swamps them both.
If that’s not enough, Newhart’s album won a 1960 Grammy, and we’re not talking about merely the best comedy record Grammy. We’re talking about the Album of the Year Grammy.
No comedian, not even Bill Cosby in his heyday, can approach this kind of popularity.
Saturday night in Pullman, the Mom’s Weekend crowd can discover Newhart the stand-up comic all over again.
No word yet on whether he will include his invented telephone conversations, but since these have always been the staple of his act, you can probably count on it.
By the way, Newhart must have plenty of time to do standup comedy these days. His latest sit-com, where he played a greeting card writer, disappeared without a trace.
Opening the Saturday show will be Dee Daniels, an outstanding jazz singer familiar to audiences at the Lionel Hampton/Chevron Jazz Festivals in Moscow.
MEMO: This sidebar appeared with the story: Bob Newhart Location and time: Beasley Coliseum, Saturday, 9 p.m. Tickets: $19 at the Coliseum box office, 335-1514, or G&B;