Old School Americana & Nostalgia


Bob Newhart’s ‘Stop It,’ A Look Back at the Actor’s Hilarious MADtv Sketch

Bob Newhart’s ‘Stop It,’ A Look Back at the Actor’s Hilarious MADtv Sketch

Comedian Bob Newhart puts on quite a show when, as a psychiatrist, he tells a new patient to “Stop It” with her fears. Newhart appeared in this sketch with Mo Collins, who plays Catherine the patient, on the old Fox comedy variety show MADtv. Viewers who saw this sketch probably remembered Newhart from his earlier psychiatrist role, too.

For those who didn’t know, Newhart played Dr. Bob Hartley in The Bob Newhart Show on CBS. Newhart plays Dr. Switzer here. Still, the character itself was a comfortable one for Newhart to play.

As the sketch opens, Catherine enters the office. Dr. Switzer is washing his hands, but the studio audience doesn’t know it is Newhart yet. Anyway, he comes out and the crowd applauds.

Catherine asks if she should lie down on the couch. No, Switzer says, go ahead and take a seat, which she does. Once that happens, Switzer explains his office rules, if you will. Catherine learns that the appointment will last no longer than five minutes. He charges $5 for five minutes. She either pays by cash or check. There is no change available.

Bob Newhart’s ‘Stop It!’ Keeps Things Real

Once she agrees to these conditions, Switzer starts the appointment. He asks her to tell him about an issue she’s having. Catherine says that she has a fear of being buried alive in a box. When asked to elaborate, she said that she just has this fear going on.

Switzer says to her that it sounds like you’re claustrophobic. She hesitantly agrees to that being pointed out.

Now, Switzer tells Catherine that he’s going to say two words that she can take with her out of the office. She says OK. Switzer makes sure that she’s ready, then makes his point.

“STOP IT!” he yells. She looks at him with a kind of blank face and says, “I’m sorry. Stop it?”

Newhart then yells back, “S-T-O-P. New word, I-T.”

Catherine looks at him and says, “So, what are you saying?” Switzer says, “You know, I say two simple words and I cannot tell you the amount of people who say exactly the same thing you are saying.” He tells Catherine that he’s not speaking in Yiddish.

Catherine then says that she’s had this fear of being buried in a box since she was a young kid. “No, no, we don’t go there,” he said. Eventually, Switzer gets up, looks down at his watch, and tells Catherine that it’s only been three minutes. He tells her that it will be $3. “But I only have a 5,” she said.

After he reminds her that he does not do change, Catherine takes her full five minutes. Switzer encourages her to get more things that bug her off her chest. Once she starts again, he’s right there with, “Stop it!” Another issue comes up, and yet again, he says, “Stop it!” “I’m bulimic.” “Stop it!”

‘MADtv’ Does Its Best For Viewers

Eventually, Switzer is on the receiving end of a “Stop it!” from Catherine. And then, she comes up with one more complaint. Now, Switzer looks at her and says he’s going to give her 10 words that will help you.

Ready? “Stop it or I’ll bury you alive in a box!”

MADtv ran for 14 seasons on Fox, doing its best to go up against Saturday Night Live. Reportedly, the show didn’t get a lot of support from the network. Complaints also came in about sketches from viewers and even celebrities, too.

In hindsight, some critics are offering better critiques of MADtv now than in its original run. Still, this sketch with a veteran comedian like Newhart in the middle of it remains popular. MADtv lasted 14 seasons, created by David Salzman and music legend Quincy Jones. When they bought the Mad magazine rights, they wanted this TV show to loosely mirror the magazine’s humor.

Collins was part of the show from 1998 through 2004. Other comedians who were part of the show’s cast at times included Artie Lange, Alex Borstein, Simon Hedberg, and Taran Killam. Borstein went on to be the voice of Lois Griffin on Family Guy, while Hedberg was a star in The Big Bang Theory. Killam spent a few seasons on Saturday Night Live. Lange is a stand-up comedian who spent time working with Howard Stern.