The best advice I was probably given and the best advice I could give someone who is trying to get into the comedy field is to take advantage of every opportunity you have to work to hone your skills.
One time I happened to use the word 'denigrate' onstage, and it didn't get any reaction. So as I continued my act, the left side of my brain was fast-forwarding to see if I had any other big words coming up.
Probably the best advice I ever got in my life was from the head of the accounting department, Mr. Hutchinson, I believe at the Glidden Company in Chicago, and he told me, 'You really aren't cut out for accounting.'
I found the most difficult thing when you became successful - when I had the record album, it won Album of the Year - that you were cut off from the source of your material. Your material was everyday people, and you were kind of cut off from that, and you had to work at it.
I think the thing about it is when you grow up in Chicago there's such a thing as putting on airs, you know? And you just learn not to put on airs. Don't act like, 'Oh boy, I'm somebody.' They'll slap you down.
Richard Pryor introduced me to the world of the inner city, and the urban world, and did it hysterically. My favorite comedian, even though we work 180 degrees differently, but funny is funny is funny.
I always stayed away from political commentary. First of all, I didn't feel entitled. What I may feel about a candidate, I'm a comedian. I mean, if people like my comedy, that doesn't mean they should vote for the person I like. That's why I always kind of stayed away from endorsements.
I am one of the great wasters of time. I have made it an art form. I can get up at 8 o'clock in the morning, be out of the house by 8:30 and back by 5 P.M., and I'll be going all day long and accomplish absolutely nothing. It's an amazing talent.
Well, if you're a native Chicagoan, you know how dumb he [Dr. Robert Hartley] is. He gets on the Ravenswood El, he goes past his stop on Sheridan Road, he gets off in Evanston, where the El is on the ground, and then he walks back 55 blocks to his apartment. Now, would you want to have that man as a psychologist? A man who misses his stop every day?
Don Rickles and I are best friends. I know that might seem strange to those who know Don only by reputation, but somebody has to be his friend. Just to make sure I don't forget, Don gave me a doormat that sits just outside the front door of my house. It reads: 'The Newharts: The Rickleses Best Friends.'