Tuesday, October 26, 2010

A Button Down Mind Review

This weeks review is a way back play back for all you hip cats...

The Button-Down Mind Strikes Back!
Bob Newhart
Originally Released  January 1st, 1960

    Lasting appeal is a term that will undoubtedly play a major role in the careers of some of today's "hottest" comedians. Comedians like Dane Cook, Russell Peters and Margaret Cho instantly come to mind. While they have been performing stand-up for years and have found a following not only in "underground" circles but mainstream pop culture I often wonder how their material is going to sound sixty years from now. Which leads me to Bob Newhart. Bob Newhart has lasting appeal. His material is timeless, his delivery unique and his appeal consistent.

    Bob has had a career few people could ever dream about. His debut album "The Button-Down Mind of Bob Newhart" unseated an Elvis Presley record at the time for the number one spot on Billboards Pop Album Chart. He has had two hit shows in his lifetime, numerous Grammy Award nominations(and wins) and most recently seems to have re-invented himself in roles for a new generation(Papa Elf in Elf starring Will Ferrell and The Door Man in Legally Blonde 2). He's a best selling author("I Shouldn't Even Be Doing This" - I will review one day) and one of a select few who has received the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor. 
    "The Button-Down Mind Strikes Back!" was follow-up to the aforementioned album above and held up well against his initial success. Bob's style has been called "one side of a conversation" where we only learn what the other people in the room are saying based upon the way Bob reacts. I think this is fair but the word that kept running through my mind was "monologue". I felt like Bob was performing a series of short, well crafted, monologues. 

Regardless of what one would call it, it's funny and with a running time of approximately 45min it's really easy to make time for. Some of the humor will be lost on the "youtube" generation(a griper in the Washington's Army for example) but then there are bits that are just as funny today as they were sixty years ago(Bus Drivers School and Ledge Psychology are fantastic!)

Comedy has evolved over the years and it will continue to evolve but it is nice to revisit a classic album like this because you can never really know where you're going unless you know where you've been.

What You Really Want To Know
Is This Safe To Listen To In Public?:
I think the average listener should be fine to put this on their iPod and listen on their way to or from work but don't be surprised if you catch yourself giggling.

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