James Burrows knows funny. The famed director got his start on TV in 1974 and he has has worked on multiple hits in every decade ever since, becoming one of the hottest sitcom directors in history. In the 1970s alone he did episodes of The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Phyllis, Laverne and Shirley, Lou Grant, and Rhoda. But it was his work helming eleven episodes of The Bob Newhart Show that led him to a 40-year friendship with the beloved comic.
In case those TV shows don’t impress you enough, Burrows went on to work on Cheers, Dear John, Taxi, and The Hogan Family in the '80s. In the '90s he followed up those series with Wings, Frasier, NewsRadio, Will & Grace, and Dharma & Greg. And he has spent the past ten years on a few small shows like Two and a Half Men, The Big Bang Theory, and Back to You... just to name a few.
Burrows recently attended a tribute to Bob Newhart, celebrating his 50 years in show business. We spoke with him in this interview for the Archive of American Television and asked him why he thinks Bob is still so popular.