From the Archives: Unmasked with Bob Newhart


On working through your fear: I pace before every show. A comedian, it’s kind of like being a hooker. The first time you do it for money, and then you’re a pro. I got paid for doing comedy in 1957 and to this day, I still do 20 stand up dates a year, and I start pacing, and say, “is this going to work?”  If I wasn’t nervous– I’d be nervous. It’s like a friend. Mr. Fear, he’s always there.  

I learned from every good comedian I ever saw on the Sullivan show. I’d ask myself why he chose that word, or did something that way…Gleason and all of them. When you first start, you’re hiding behind someone and you just begin to peek out and see if that works…


As part of our podcast sharing select archival episodes of ’s epic interview series Unmasked, this week we are going back to season one– 2008-  to share an unbelievable hour with a master of stand up and comedic performance: Unmasked with

The Unmasked series which began in 2008 with a brilliant hour with Patrice O’Neal, has taped nearly 200 episodes since, documenting the careers of the most interesting comedy writers, directors, filmmakers, actors, screenwriters, satirists, political comedians, comedic musicians and of course, stand up comedians in the business. It is a veritable archive of the greatest comedy of our time. Past Unmasked guests have included ,  , Dan Aykroyd, Simon Pegg, , Jim Jefferies, Gilbert Gottfried, Bobcat Goldthwait, Louis C.K., David Brenner, , and over 150 more comedy greats.

Bob Newhart is a living legend. He has influenced more comedic performances than virtually anyone else alive today through his stand up performances, his recorded albums, and his iconic television roles. This a man who recorded an entire album his very first time on stage, and that’s just the beginning of a long list of accomplishments that only Newhart can claim. He also had a follow-up album go to #2 in the country while the prior album was still at #1. Unreal. This hour represents a rare opportunity to hear Newhart talk about getting his start in stand up,  and why comedians love to talk about dying on stage and so much more. The stories he tells are incredible, from an unbelievable story about headlining a private party with George Burns, Danny Kaye and Jack Benny in attendance, multiple stories about his times on the Tonight Show starring Johnny Carson and stories about his friend Don Rickles.  And yes, he talks about Newhart, the television show too.

 

If you’re looking to learn from a master, Newhart has plenty of advice for any working comedian- including working through your fear, dying on stage, using signposts to judge the audience, how to develop a voice and how to keep success from going to your head.

 

This is truly one of the greatest and most fascinating hour interviews you’ll ever listen to. Share it with anyone who loves comedy.

Recorded in April, 2008 in New York City in front of a wall-to-wall packed house at Comix Comedy Club in New York City, this is Unmasked, from the Archives, with Bob Newhart and .

Don’t use iTunes? Download the episode here.

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