Perhaps Mel Brooks put it best when he said,
"Richard Lewis may just be the Franz Kafka of modern day comedy."
Lewis has taken his lifelong therapy fodder and carved it into a
commanding, compelling art form. His early career as a stand-up
brought him to the top of his ranks. Over time and through a variety
of mediums, he broadened his exposure and more and more came on
board to appreciate his brilliantly warped world.
The NY Times said, “This renowned comedian, often considered
to be the heir to Lenny Bruce, is a master of long form storytelling
who turns his endless neurotic energy into brilliant comedy.”
Comedy Central has recognized Mr. Lewis as one of the top 50 stand-up
comedians of all time and he was charted on GQ Magazine's list of
the '20th Century's Most Influential Humorists'. In December of
1989, Lewis achieved a very personal goal...he performed at Carnegie
Hall to a standing room only audience.
Highlights / 2015:
In Production: Lewis has joined the cast of “Blunt Talk,”
a new series from Starz created by Jonathan Ames, executive-produced
by Ames and Seth MacFarlane and produced by Stewart. Lewis is Dr.
Weiss, the network Freudian psychoanalyst to Sir Patrick Stewart’s
character Walter Blunt, talk show host. It has a two-season order
and premieres mid-summer 2015.
In May, is his book “Reflections from Hell: 'Richard Lewis'
Guide on How Not to Live". Lewis is on the shelves. He collaborated
with longtime friend and patron of his, the extraordinary NY artist,
Carl Nicholas Titolo. Titolo puts his genius to Lewis’s wildly
warped and often profound musings, which turned into a dream team
of "poignant craziness." Larry David, Lewis' lifelong
friend and also a patron to the artist, contributed a mind-blowing
His recent 2 DVD package box set (9/14) “A Bundle of Nerves”
put together a montage of this creative cross section spanning 40
years. It includes a vintage comedy special, the dramatic film “Drunks”
in which he starred, a made-for-TV film that he wrote and starred
in that aired in the SNL time slot (1979) and a documentary, “House
of a Lifetime”, where Lewis takes on a tour of his home with
its collection of artifacts and art from generations of those who
have inspired him.
Lewis loved being part of HBO’s "Curb Your Enthusiasm."
The eight season series had SAG nominate Lewis for his work in the
ensemble category for his recurring guest star role, playing true-to-life
as one of Larry David's closest friends in "CYE.” The
show has garnered many awards to include 39 Emmy nominations and
much high praise. Vanity Fair stated, "The supporting cast
of Larry David's Curb Your Enthusiasm is a murderer's row of stand-up
comedians--Jeff Garlin, Susie Essman, Richard Lewis, Cheryl Hines,
Shelley Berman--cutting loose in character roles with killer instinct."
Through the years Richard has received much kudos for his work alongside
his buddy, Larry David. The New York Times commented that, "...not
nearly enough of Richard Lewis, whose job is the hardest of all
because his character must truly suffer and endure in a context
where feelings are as anathema as M&M's in a dentist's office.
Never upsetting the show's distinct tenor of emotional apathy, Mr.
Lewis here showcases his particular genius through a bout with kidney
failure. He needs a new one, and oh, by the way, guess who isn't
donating?" The Los Angeles Times added, ..."But it's comedian
Richard Lewis-- himself famous for an act built on despair--who
memorably sulks his way through a pair of early episodes as one
of the few people in the business who can match David hang-
up for hang-up, neurosis for neurosis...David and Lewis reluctantly
help a blind man move furniture in his new apartment. It's a classic."
Still after all these years, Lewis remains addicted to performing
before live audiences and is on a continuous “Tracks of My
Fears” stand up tour. In live performance he is often compared
to a jazz musician for his wild riffs that fly out into space but
always find a way to float back into rhythm as they splatter recurring
themes against a spiraling, lyrical backdrop. Howard Reich of the
Chicago Tribune recently noted, in a piece comparing comedy and
jazz, “In Lenny Bruce's fantasy, celebrated writers would
say: "This guy is the greatest jazz sound in the world –
he's so hip, his name is Lenny Bruce.' "To this day, Bruce's
foremost heir -- comedian Richard Lewis -- conveys the lightning
energy of a solo by bebop icon Charlie Parker." A N.Y. Post
article noted; "Richard Lewis built the strongest stand-up
comedy career on a blazing trail of neuroses since Woody Allen.”
Another time Reich reflected on his history with Lewis. "Nearly
20 years ago... I headed for Zanies and witnessed the most audacious
comic wordsmith this side of Lenny Bruce: a young neurotic comedian
named Richard Lewis. Ever since that revelatory evening, I've followed
Richard's ascent as perhaps the most gifted comedian of his generation."
Indeed others agree. The Baltimore Jewish Times said, "Lewis
is oftentimes compared to the late Lenny Bruce, the prolific, dissenting
comedic voice of the '60's. And the two share many things in common--
Judaism, an uncommon intelligence and irreverence for topics considered
untouchable. Like Bruce, Mr. Lewis lays his soul bare on the stage,
with fearlessness and many times, recklessness..." City Weekly
of Salt Lake City concurred, "Nowhere will you find an entertainer
so committed to his craft as comedian Richard Lewis.... His ability
to keep people laughing at his self-loathing and dark views on every
aspect of his life is what keeps him one of the greatest comedians
of all time."
At Mort Sahl’s birthday tribute, featuring a who's who of
comic genius, Mark Groubert writing for Crooksandliars.com, commented:
"But this Night at the Opera belonged to none other than Richard
Lewis who has hit his comic stride entering the free form worlds
of both Lenny Bruce and the underappreciated Lord Buckley. Groovin'
high, and dressed in a zippered black suit possibly designed by
the mistress of the Dali Lama, the 'Prince of Pain' came to compete.
Melting the house and forcing grown men to weep openly Richard Lewis
bombarded the crowd from one obtuse comedy angle after another.
If this was the comedy World Series, Lewis was the King in his Court.
For nearly twenty minutes he induced non-stop howling by every living,
breathing thing in the house."
Philadelphia's City Paper says, "Indeed, he is the Jimi Hendrix
of monologists, whose virtuoso free-form riffs on ex-girlfriends,
family and other antagonistic denizens from hell are delivered in
a mesmerizing, stream-of-consciousness frenzy, a piss-yourself-laughing
assault on the senses. Not only is he one of the undisputed masters
of postmodern comedy, but also to incurable, self- loathing neurotics
he is a patron saint who deserves to be canonized".
Vintage Lewis is available in the box set of his “Concerts
from Hell” (The Vintage Years), containing three comedy specials:
HBO originally aired "I'm Exhausted," earning him an ACE
nomination for Best Stand-Up Comedy Special and “I'm Doomed”,
his second for HBO, also earned an Ace nomination. His cable-special
debut, "I'm In Pain" had aired on Showtime. Playboy says,
"Kvetching is elevated to surreal art in these great comedy
performances. The titles say it all. Don't miss."
In 2015 his second book "Reflections from Hell", published
by Powerhouse Books. Here he collaborates with famed NY artist and
longtime friend, Carl Nicholas Titolo, in which Mr. Lewis' darkly
humorous thoughts are shown through the imagery of the brilliant
In 2000, Lewis wrote his memoir, "The Other Great Depression,"
published by the prestigious Perseus/ Public Affairs. It is as brave,
insightful and forthcoming as is his comedy. He deconstructs his
substance abuse and recovery, skewing it his unique way. The book
is a collection of fearless, essay
style riffs featuring Lewis' dark stream-of- consciousness personal
observations. Also, the reissue of "The Other Great Depression"
is on audiobook, read unabridged by the author for Phoenix Audio.
Naked," a documentary following Richard behind the scenes on
his promotional book tour, is also available.
The Huffington Post said this of the book: "Other than Lewis's
paperback catharsis, which probably belongs in the alienated, dyspeptic
Jewish-American canon along with Philip Roth, Henry Roth, Lenny
Bruce, and all the rest, comedians' memoirs tend to be pretty breezy--and
very short--reads...” New York Magazine said, "Lewis's
standard of total honesty has allowed him to unearth neuroses he'd
never even touch onstage--or on the couch." Entertainment Weekly
added, [An] urgent, nervous, heartfelt book . . .Lewis writes with
an addict's jumpy restlessness, staggering from hurt to hurt, from
tensely jokey confession to confession, from twitchy spiritual discovery
to discovery."; --USA Today said it was "Candid and inspirational."
; While the Cleveland Plain Dealer notes, "Lewis” has
narrative gifts few celebrity authors exhibit."
Lewis has been a contributing writer for Playboy Magazine, writing
numerous pieces over the years and has penned many articles for
numerous publications over the years.
He has been featured, mentioned and has contributed to countless
books and most recently, "I'm Dying Up Here," which chronicles
the collective coming of age of the standup comedians who defined
American humor during the past three decades: Letterman, Leno, Robin
Williams, Andy Kaufman, Richard Lewis and Garry Shandling among
others, by author William Knoedelseder.
Lewis has a cameo role in the Bogdanovich film, “She’s
Funny That Way,” starring Jennifer Aniston, Owen Wilson, and
an ensemble cast slated for a 2015 release. His first defining film
role was with his appearance in "Leaving Las Vegas," which
set the stage and led to his first major dramatic role as the lead
character, Jimmy Epstein, an addict fighting for his life in the
indie film, "Drunks," along with a brilliant cast that
includes Dianne Weist, Faye Dunaway and Amanda Plummer. Built around
an AA meeting, he received rave reviews. He also starred in the
multi-generationally beloved “Robin Hood men In Tights.”
With scores of diverse guest acting appearances in TV series and
films, the closest to his heart was his four year run in ABC's critically
acclaimed series "Anything But Love," co-starring with
Jamie Lee Curtis, in "Anything but Love”. "Diary
of a Young Comic," now considered a cult classic film, in which
he had the lead role and co-wrote, first aired on NBC in the "Saturday
Night Live" time slot at its highest ratings period. Late night
TV viewers and media junkies in general are familiar with his frequent
guest appearances. He may hold title to having the most late night
appearances, chalking up well over 100 appearances with Dave, Jay,
Conan, Jon, Stern, Ferguson and Maher.
Regarded by his peers as a 'comic's comic', Lewis' neuroses have
become a part of our vernacular as in the now iconic, "I had
a date from Hell!" He finally got his due when Yale's Book
of Quotations attributed the now-common phrase, "the [blank]
from hell" to Mr. Lewis in 2006.
Richard is especially grateful for being sober for over 20 years.
In Richard’s own words --"I go on a long tour and make
people happy that they're not me and go home.”
Follow Richard on Twitter @TheRichardLewis
Media Contact: Michelle Marx 719.231.2882 firstname.lastname@example.org