Comedian Bob Newhart makes surprise visit to Loyola

Loyola Professor Beth Konrad, Bob Newhart, center, and student Nathan Lurz.

By Ashton Mitchell

“Go for your passion, fall on your face, and keep going. “ actor/comedian Bob Newhart told a class of  Loyola University Chicago students Thursday afternoon at the university’s School of Communication.

Newhart, a 1952 Loyola graduate, stopped by his alma mater while town to perform at the Chicago Theatre.

“We’ve been trying to do this for a while, but there’s never been enough time,”  Newhart said.

Students and reporters convened in the School of Communication’s convergence studio to listen to the interview.

“He definitely seemed like he had a really good view on life, he’s been a veteran of the comedy industry, and he lot of good advice encouraging students to follow their passion even if it doesn’t seem viable at all,” 20-year-old journalism major Karis Hustad said.

Newhart spoke about his experience starting out in the comedy industry after choosing to leave Loyola University Chicago School of Law after only a year.

“People kept telling me, ‘You’re very funny,’ so I figured I’d take a year off and see,”  Newhart said. “At the time I thought I had made a very big mistake. My friends were getting married and buying houses and I was taking part-time jobs.”

Newhart’s determination paid off when he won album of the year in 1960 beating out Elvis Presley, The Sound of Music, and Frank Sinatra. “Ya Frank wasn’t too happy about that,” joked Newhart about how a comedy album beat out the famous crooner. He later went on to star in two hit television comedies, The Bob Newhart Show and Bob.

Newhart has gone on to have an incredibly successful career in acting and comedy. He has been inducted into the Television Hall of Fame and his comedic routines have been noted as significant cultural events.

“I didn’t know I had that type of determination. I didn’t know I could make a living out of comedy. It’s really wonderful making people laugh,”  Newhart said.

Meredith Garrison, 22, Communication Studies major, enjoyed listening to Newhart. “I liked him addressing the students, he gave out really good advice to follow our passions. He had a very natural affinity for talking to people and put humor into his message. He made us all laugh which he really enjoyed.”

“I’d urge anyone to follow their passion. It’s a different world today I think I had more opportunities back in my day, but whatever your passion is go for it.”

Newhart will be will be inducted into the Broadcast Hall of Fame tomorrow and perform at the Chicago Theatre at 8 p.m. Saturday.

– Photo by Ashton Mitchell


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