Bob Newhart cracks up Dean Martin

Actor and singer Dean Martin, early in his career, was part of a comedy duo with Jerry Lewis, where he played the straight man to the more antic Lewis. Later he hosted a live variety TV show. Bob Newhart was a great comedian, known for his hesitant manner and his deadpan delivery. On one occasion, he was a guest on Martin’s show and they did a sketch together. Legend has it that Martin never rehearsed for his show but simply read his lines from the off-screen cue cards, sometimes seeing them for the first time while on live TV.

On this occasion, he clearly did not anticipate how funny Newhart could be and you can see the result.


  1. Oggie: Mathom says

    Bob Newhart’s comedy has been at the top of my list for as long as I have been aware of comedy. His deadpan delivery of innocuous absurdity has never been topped.

  2. says

    Not only is Bob Newhart a talented comedian, he was able to have two very successful sitcoms by being a straight man in the middle of a crowd of funny characters. Being willing to let others get the laughs was very good to his television career.

  3. jenorafeuer says

    And, of course, trying to get the ‘straight man’ to crack up is a time-honoured tradition. See also Tim Conway doing his level best to get Harvey Korman laughing on the Carol Burnett Show. (Though Korman was this combination of straight man or comic depending on who he was working off of.)

  4. jrkrideau says


    @ 2 Tabby Lavalamp
    I don’t usually like sitcoms and my first intro to Newhart was in one. Meh. Probably not as bad as Lucile Ball but not much better.
    Then I discovered some of his monologues. The man was brilliant.

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