Bob Newhart to Clint Eastwood: Call me, I can offer comedy tips

Bob Newhart as Papa Elf in the 2003 movie "Elf."
Bob Newhart as Papa Elf in the 2003 movie “Elf.”
(Alan Markfield/New Line Productions )

“I heard that Clint Eastwood is channeling me at the RNC. My lawyers and I are drafting our lawsuit.” @bobnewhart

During Thursday’s telecast of the Republican National Convention, legendary comedian Bob Newhart, 82, got a call from his daughter Jennifer, who runs his Twitter account, @bobnewhart.

His account was going through the roof during Eastwood’s rambling “stand-up” routine, during in which he pretended to have a conversation with an imaginary President Obama sitting in a chair next to him.

INTERACTIVE: Republican National Convention speeches


The routine called to mind Newhart’s classic comedy bits where he would pretend to be talking on the phone with someone who was often in a panic, like a young security guard seeking help from his boss when King Kong starts climbing the Empire State building.

“She said [twitter followers] are saying, ‘He’s doing you,’” Newhart said by phone Friday afternoon. “We need a quote of some kind.”

Newhart had the RNC on the television waiting to catch Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney make his acceptance speech but wasn’t paying attention to Eastwood’s remarks until his daughter called.

“I just caught the tail end of Clint,” said Newhart, who has met Eastwood and found him to be a “very nice man.”


PHOTOS: Celebrities stumping for Barack and Mitt

“I don’t know how long he had been on, but the chair was there,” he said. “I kept watching it and watching it. I want to say to Clint -- it’s not as easy as it looks, is it?”

Newhart quipped that he thought Eastwood’s unique speech, which lighted up social media sites as soon as the Oscar-winning director-actor hit the stage in Tampa, Fla., was “a nice break” from the rest of the proceedings.

“Both of the conventions are like four-day infomercials. The only thing missing is [someone saying] ‘wait, we’ll give you two Romneys for the price of one.’”


The comic is apolitical these days. “I was very political when JFK ran,” the 82-year-old Newhart said. “I campaigned for JFK because he’s Catholic and I’m Catholic and they never said it, but you knew you were going to hell if you didn’t campaign for him.”

PHOTOS: Lessons from the campaign trail on film

But he doesn’t feel it is his place to publicly support any candidate. “I just felt people shouldn’t vote because I like somebody. I would hate to influence someone.”

Since his tweet Thursday evening, Newhart said he’s gotten 4,000 new followers and is inching toward 27,000.


“This was a bolt out of the blue,” Newhart said. “It was totally unexpected. It shows you today how this social media is so immediate.”

And he is more than willing to help Eastwood hone his stand-up comedy style. “I would be more than glad to help Clint out,” Newhart said. “I am waiting for a phone call. So far, I haven’t gotten it.”