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A sentence in the product description of this novel says this memoir could only have been written by Bob Newhart and that is an absolutely true statement. If you appreciate the humor style of this man, you will like this book because it is absolutely like sitting and having a conversation with him. I was more familiar with the Bob Newhart of his two longest running television series so it was very interesting to read about his stand-up comedy performances, his records, and his film career. There is also fascinating material about the famous people he came in contact with throughout his career. The biggest surprise to me was finding out who the Newhart's as a couple consider their best friends. Proof positive that opposites truly do attract.

I thoroughly enjoyed my time spent reading this memoir and now feel I know a lot more about what was going on behind the scenes of this man's career. I laughed out loud at some points, but for the most part this is more the kind of book you read with a smile on your face.
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on July 30, 2015
This book is an easy, enjoyable read which is often very funny as Newhart includes a lot of his routines and excerpts of funny routines he likes. I wish he had had more about his co-stars and filming of The Bob Newhart Show but he does explain in detail how the show came about, the casting of Emily, the opening credits, and includes a few of his favorite scenes from some episodes. He includes far, far less about The Newhart Show beyond how it was created the famous final scene of homemaking up in bed with Emily from his first show. Most of the books focuses on his starting out, his gravitating into comedy, developing some of his famous comedy routines and the first two hugely successful comedy albums. He really didn't feel successful until his second The Bob Newhart Show (the first one was made in the early sixties and short-lived) went into syndication. Bob Newhart comes across as being a very nice, likeable person who really enjoys his work and life, and appreciates the success he's had, which I found refreshing. He says that the character of Bob Hartley was 85% Bob Newhart! However I think Newhart is less modest than his alter-ego as he does enjoy doing some name dropping of the famous actors and comedians he's met or worked with, but he does so in a clearly admiring and respectful way. He writes about a lot of the feature films he's been in. I wish the book had been a bit longer and come with some personal photos, but overall I really liked it and frequently laughed while reading it.
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VINE VOICEon December 18, 2012
"I Shouldn't Even Be Doing This!: And Other Things That Strike Me as Funny" by Bob Newhart is a pleasant stroll through the moderately interesting life of a very funny man. Newhart is truly one of the most successful comic personalities of the last 50 years and it is wonderful to see that happen to someone who is so laid back about everything. I think that is what makes him so funny. Like Jeff Bridges in "The Big Lebowski," Bob Newhart is an original "Dude". He abides.

As I mentioned earlier, the book is very casual. Newhart never seemed to have a problem with achieving fame and then dealing with it. Just like his TV persona, Newhart is almost a secondary character to the things that happen around him. His first and second album spent time simultaneously as #1 & #2 on Billboard's Top 100 list. His first two television shows were long running hits which were allowed to end themselves, which is rare. For all these accomplishments, which have destroyed lesser men, Newhart remains effortlessly casual.

Sticking with the tried and true formula of Bob as a secondary character, the book is strongest when Newhart talks about his relationships with other people, most notably his fellow comedians and TV co-stars. He also spends a good deal of the text going over some of his classic gags, like the "Bus Driver School" and "The Driving Instructor." These are particularly interesting because he talks about how he came up with these classic jokes.

Bob Newhart belongs to the often overlooked school of casual, subtle comedians. These comedians include his heroes Bob & Ray and Jack Benny. I would be curious as time moves forward to see who the comedians pointing to Bob Newhart as their influence are going to be.
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I love Bob Newhart. His stand up routines and his iconic sitcoms have entertained me for years. His deadpan delivery has hit my funny spot for as long as I can remember, so I was very happy to get to read his own story.

How's the book?

Well, I liked it, but I didn't love it. It was interesting to read his account of his life and his career. But as memoirs go, this one seemed a little superficial. By that I mean that I couldn't help but feel like I was only being told part of the story--the part that Newhart was willing to share. That's OK; I'm a private guy and I really don't need to know salacious details. The private stuff really isn't any of my concern anyway. My only point is that I felt like there was a lack of candor to the story. I could be completely off base though. That's just how the account came off.

Putting that impression aside, this was an interesting read and I had a hard time putting it down. I loved hearing about Newhart's relationship with Don Rickles.

The bottom line is, Bob Newhart has brought immeasurable amounts of laughter to my life. So what if his memoir was a little dull? It was still interesting and I'm still glad I read it. It was fun to reminisce. I wish Newhart and his family all the best and I appreciate him sharing some of his stories with us.
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on August 7, 2013
Let me start by saying that I recommend this book. It's fun. That said, it's not a GREAT book, but it is a good one. I read the whole thing in one sitting, it was entertaining and funny. I'm giving it three stars because, to me, it reads like it should be a memoir for friends and family more than a biography for the masses. I say this because the read felt fractured in places. There were a few places the timelines in the storytelling were not consistent. If you were a close friend or family member none of these inconsistencies would affect the reading in the least. But as an outside observer, ready for the story set-up, it can cause some small amount of confusion when: reading about Mr. Newhart's youth, something was mentioned about the family car no one drove because gas was too expensive. A few more details follow but before the idea concludes, 'pencil brakes' are applied and we are interrupted out of our last scene because Mr. Newhart, now fully grown and a member of several country clubs, starts talking (for a page or two) about meeting a buddy at a club for golf and do or don't they use caddies on the course. (NOTE: the two scenes I wrote were in the book in some way but they were not written the way I suggested. That was for dramatic effect and point-making only.)
There was also quite a lot of name dropping, which is another reason I felt that this book would be more at home with family and close friends. To me, the I-know-famous-people,-here-are-their-names took up the space where more "funny" should have been. Humor from Mr. Newhart's observations of life after age 50, 60, 70, etc.. from this Always Real Comedian would be great wealth indeed! Now THAT would be a book for the masses.
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I normally have no interest in celebrities or their ghost-written "memoirs." I figured I could count on Newhart to produce a worthwhile book and I wasn't disappointed. His intelligence and gentle humor are endlessly appealing. I can't imagine anyone not loving this book.
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on January 22, 2013
This book will be enjoyed mostly by people who followed Newhart's career from the stand up appearances on the variety shows of the 1950's and 1960's through the situation comedies in later years. I remember when I was in high school in the late 1950's, we would get together before school and try to remember all the Newhart jokes we'd heard the night before on the Sullivan show or a similar variety show. This book is an easy and pleasant read. I used it as a break between murder mysteries. A number of things surprised me. I thought once you made it to several appearances on Ed Sullivan's show, you had made it to the Top. But that was not completely true. in Bob's case. It may have been because his humor was a little complex or cerebral. He told about ordinary events except he focused on things that were very funny if you looked at them a certain way. He would find that way of looking and bring it to your attention. Newhart studied the guys who did dead-pan comedy the best - Jack Benny, George Burns, etc. But he did not create a special persona to be a comedian. He did his presentation in a very natural way. Yet one of his best friends has been Don Nichols who has always shown his special super-grouch type of character.

Bob has lived a very complete life, all while performing regularly as a comedian. He started out single, performing at night shows while going to school to become an accountant and then working day jobs as an accountant, then doing more comedy and less accounting work. Then he married the daughter of an actor. They had kids and raised them while he worked regularly in Las Vegas and did two long-running TV shows. Now he enjoys life spoiling his grandchildren. A very pleasant book about a very pleasant guy - just what I needed to get away from those murders.
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VINE VOICEon January 4, 2013
If you are a big Bob Newhart fan you will enjoy this book. Bob covers most of his life from those early days as an accountant to his entry into the world of entertainment. It was quite a journey and you will find a lot about him you never read about in the media. His brand of comedy was unique to him and he had his own way of projecting humor that most of us could easily relate to. In his book, he spells out those old routines like the Bus Driver, Sir Walter and the tobacco thing, the Driving Instructor and so many others. The only thing in reading these is they are not nearly as funny as when you heard him do them personally. The book also covers much of his personal life with his marriage and kids and parents. Some of this is a bit boring but nonetheless gives a picture of who the guy really is. He also covers a lot of his relationships with other performers and those who became life long friends. He had a remarkable life as an entertainer in so many different venues...records, nightclubs, movies and TV. There are few in this day who can match him. If you like what he did, you will enjoy this book.
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on December 14, 2012
Bob Newhart is one of my favorite comedians. He could literally make me laugh reading from a phone book - though who uses a phone book anymore. Newhart's comedy really comes from his personality and mannerism, and not really his jokes or material.

He has experienced incredible success in stand-up, television, and film, making him a rarity among comedians. His albums The Button-Down Mind of Bob Newhart and The Button-Down Mind Strikes Back! reached the top two spots on the Billboard charts at the same time, the only entertainer to achieve such a feat until 1991.

Bob Newhart is probably the most normal comedian I have read about, however he is able to find the insanity that lies within our perceptions of normalcy.

I enjoyed Newhart's short memoir. He throws in plenty of his classic routines in the book, which are only funny in written form because I read them like Newhart performs them. But to be honest, I found Don Rickles' memoir to be better. I mention this only because Newhart and Rickles are close friends and their stories slightly intertwined.
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on May 11, 2017
A witty and entertaining book. It's full of Bob's low key humor and a delight to read.
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