Today marks the birthdays of two of my favorite people. Both were indeed born on September 5, both in the Chicago area and I find both incredible amusing, but for completely different reasons.
These two people are, of course, comedy legend Bob Newhart and my brother Pat.
George Robert "Bob" Newhart, who turns seventy-eight today, is possibly my favorite stand-up comedian of all time. Starting with The Button-Down Mind of Bob Newhart in 1960, Bob captured the American imagination with his dry and witty one-man conversation routines. That album shot to the top of the Billboard charts, beating Elvis and the cast album of The Sound of Music, became the first "spoken word" album to do this, and earned Newhart three Grammy Awards.
The rest of his career was no less lustrous. Starring in The Bob Newhart Show from 1972 to 1977 and Newhart from 1982 to 1990 (which for my money still has the best final episode of any TV show ever), he also starred in films, other TV projects and kept right on performing live. Read more about Bob here, here and here.
His manner and material were, and are, something great. He is the definition of the "sane man in an insane world," affecting his trademark stutter of incredulity at much of what goes on around him. In his classic stand-up routines, his one-sided conversations show some of the best comedic timing since Jack Benny and never seem to show their age too much. His act typifies the put-upon everyman that we can all identify with at some level. From Abe Lincoln's PR man to the pilot on the Grace L. Ferguson Airline and Storm Door Company, from Dr. Bob Hartley to Dick Loudon, he is an American comedic icon and someone who never fails to make me laugh.
Another funny guy, not as well known and beloved of the American people, is my brother Pat. Patrick Michael Shannon, who turns twenty -seven today, is one of the funniest people that I personally know. What makes him funny? Well, his consistently off-the-wall perspective on any given situation, the complete unpredictability of what he will say next and one of the quickest come-back men I have ever seen.
Actually, an interaction between Bob Newhart and my brother would be interesting...Pat represents the insane world in which Newhart's characters often find themselves.
There is not much "Pat content" on the web, but you can visit his bands here and here and his employer here.
Apart from that, Pat is good to people around him, generous to a fault and a person who, when he asks you how you are doing, is actually interested in the answer.
Oh, and he is one of the people I will never challenge to a drinking contest. Ever. There would be no winners, only losers on their way to get their stomachs pumped.
So, on this September 5th, raise a glass and have a laugh for these two favorite comedic sons of the Windy City.
"Same to you, fella!"
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