Posts tagged: LA

In Which I Meet Bob Newhart

By , January 13, 2009

Yesterday I was walking about Westwood in search of a place to sit and read. As I walked past a dry cleaner’s shop, out walked Bob Newhart, clean shirts in hand. I did a double-take, and stared for a moment. He had a “yeah, it’s me,” look on his face.

I didn’t know what to say, so I said, “you’re Bob Newhart.”

“Yes, I am,” was his reply. At which point he offered his hand. And I shook it.

I shook Bob Newhart’s hand!

After that, I wasn’t sure where else things could go, so I quickly informed him that I’ve only recently moved to Los Angeles, and he is the first celebrity I’ve truly met, and walked away. I had a huge smile on my face for at least five minutes.

I didn’t mention my encounter with Tim Roth, during which I pretended to mistake him for a store clerk, or the time I randomly sat next to Alia Shawkat (Maebe Funke on Arrested Development) and Ellen Page (Juno in Juno) (who knew they were friends?) at a midnight showing of Harold and Maude, because I didn’t really meet those folks.

Naturally, I texted all my friends immediately afterwards. The few replies I received were either “who is Bob Newhart?” or “isn’t he dead?” So sad. True, he’s before my time, and I only know him because he was one of my mother’s favorite comedians, but come on. He’s an icon! Recently, he played the daddy Elf in Elf, but in the ’60s he was huge. His album of comedy won the 1961 Grammy for album of the year. That’s some Michael Jackson / U2 type action there.

Which makes me realize– no matter how famous you get, you can eventually be forgotten. I bet if I asked random passerby who Rutherford B. Hayes or Zack Taylor were, many of them wouldn’t even know, and they are former leaders of the free world.

That’s it. I’m starting up the Franklin Pierce Fan Club for reals.

Also, Bob Newhart is magical. I have some sort of infection in my right ear, and for a week now it has been swollen shut, but a moment after shaking Bob’s hand, the ear popped open and stayed open for about an hour. It closed back up, but clearly the handshake did more for me than the drops my doctor gave me. I’m going to have to stake out that dry cleaner and hope Bob’s a messy eater.

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