In the sixth annual Paley Honors for achievements in television, Conan O’Brien introduced Newhart, who shared stories of his attempted careers in accounting, unemployment offices and retail before getting into comedy.
As a petty cash clerk for traveling salesmen, Newhart lamented that he could never quite balance their receipts with his cash total. Rather than spend hours trying to reconcile an extra $1.75, he said he just paid the difference out of his own pocket.
“I swear to you, if I had gone with Enron, they would still be in business,” Newhart joked. “So naturally, what do you do when you leave accounting? Obviously you become a stand-up comedian.”
In the early years, Newhart still took day jobs.