Wednesday, February 15, 2006
SACRAMENTO, Calif. - Comedian Bob Newhart documented his career in a lecture punctuated by video clips at the Memorial Auditorium Wednesday night.
The lecture was the fourth of seven in the inaugural season of the Sacramento Speaker Series which hosts speakers “that represent a wide variety of subjects ranging from world affairs, politics, business & economics to the arts, entertainment and the environment,” according to the series’ web site.
Newhart chronicled his career starting with his departure from accounting to try his hand at stand-up comedy.
“I figured I’d give it a year, and if it didn’t work out I could say that I gave it my best try,” Newhart said. “A year turned in to two, then three, then four.”
He received his first big break when a friend in his native Chicago who was a local DJ persuaded Newhart to send a tape to some Warner Brother’s producers he knew.
Newhart entertained the series subscribers with anecdotes and memories combined with clips from his television appearances including his two hit TV series and one of his many appearances on the "Ed Sullivan Show."
Following the lecture was a question and answer period featuring the audience’s written questions for Newhart as presented by KFBK radio afternoon news anchor Kitty O’Neil.
“Comics say funny things, comedians say things that are funny,” Newhart said when asked about the difference.
When asked whom he thought was the most influential comedian of our time, Newhart responded without hesitation: Richard Pryor.
“If you can get past the language to the substance,” Newhart said, “he was a comedic genius.”
Although Newhart has no intention of retiring, he did say that another TV series would not be part of his future. “I had my time,” he said.
The Sacramento Speaker Series continues on March 15 with Jean-Michel Cousteau followed by Leslie Stahl, co-editor of the CBS news magazine 60 Minutes on April 12.
Subscriptions for the remainder of the lectures are available on the Sacramento Speaker Series web site, www.sacramentospeakers.com.