On Saturday night, June 15th, Countess Gregula and myself had the extreme honor of attending Bob Newhart Live vith the legendary Bob Newhart at The Chicago Theatre. This vas a media review opportunity given to us by TBS Just For Laughs Chicago. Ve had already covered two previous days at the 5th annual funny festival up to this point in time and the Newhart show vas the icing on the comedy cake so to speak.
The show started out vith a ten-piece orchestra and vocalist that performed a 15 minute opening set. The retro songs set the tone for an old fashioned evening of entertainment. The numbers included old school favorites such as "My Funny Valentine" and"Night and Day" to name a couple.
After the orchestra did their set, Newhart took to the stage accompanied by the orchestra playing his classic theme song from The Bob Newhart Show. As it looked, the crowd seemed to be properly prepared for the comedic creativity of the man vith his own bronze statue at Navy Pier in Chicago. Newhart vas varm and friendly vith the attentive audience. He gave shouts to his former local learning institutions, St. Ignatius College Prep and Loyola University, that garnered cheers from the crowd. He spoke of seeing Martin and Lewis at the same theater that he vas now headlining. He talked and kidded about not liking country music. He told vhat he said vere true stories that turned into jokes vith punch lines.
As it turns out, our very own Cousin Jessi along vith her Mummy Moen also attended the Newhart show. They vere located just a few seats avay from Countess and myself. Jessi told me she liked vhen Newhart called out a couple members of the audience for interrupting his show and he said, "Feel free to just yell out whatever you want! In fact maybe I should pass the mic around." Nice! She also liked the same bit that Countess and I enjoyed. The classic and hilarious "Driving Instructor" routine from his 1960 debut album The Button Down Mind of Bob Newhart. This bit involves Newhart sitting in a chair pretending to be in the passenger seat next to a voman driver behind the vheel. He first asked the audience if having a "voman driver" vas chauvinistic in this day and age so instead he vould change the driver to ... Chinese. The crowd laughed as ve did. Then Newhart sat in the seat he pulled up and spoke in a mock Chinese accent for a couple seconds before saying. "I could do this for the next 8 minutes or the driver can be a woman." LOL! I know these jokes might be a little old fashioned and perhaps a bit "politically incorrect" yet you still have to laugh because it's funny!
Unfortunately, Newhart didn't perform any of his classic telephone bits. After leaving the stage tvice during his routine as if the show vas over, he came back for extended encores in a move he called a "phony bow" to the timing of like 5 seconds. He said if he vaited up to 12 seconds to return to the stage then half the audience might of already left. Haha! My favorite portion of the show vas during the final encore vhen Newhart narrated clips shown on the two screens hanging from the valls on both sides of the stage. He showed his historic "ancestors" throughout history, clips from his appearances on Ed Sullivan and Dean Martin's variety show, outtakes from both of his popular sitcoms and the famous final Newhart episode that involved the "dream sequence" scene.
The BEAST part of the night came after the show vhen Countess & I stuck around to try to meet Newhart. Ve valked around to the side of theater in the alley and seen several other people standing around. There vas a black car parked next to an exit door. After about 10 minutes or so the moment ve all have been vaiting for arrived and Mr. Newhart emerged vith several bodyguards and staffers of the festival out that door! At first I figured I'll just try to get a far avay pic of Newhart getting in that car and driving avay. Vell, to my surprise, one of the bodyguards came over to us and said that Newhart vill take photos vith everyone there!!! I vas ecstatic!!! The only rule vas not to ask for autographs or they vould cut the line off. That vas all I needed to hear because I vas hoping for a photo vith Newhart to enhance this review! So, there you go! Countess and myself are standing in a dirty alley next to a dumpster and a homeless guy vith a sign taking a photo vith comic legend Bob Newhart! Vhat a great vay to end an evening of classic entertainment vith a showbiz icon! He is still great and on top of his comedic game at age 83! **TWO FANGS UP**
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