Richard Lewis, famend comic and ‘Prince of Pain,’ dies at 76 – National


Richard Lewis, an acclaimed comic recognized for exploring his neuroses in frantic, stream-of-consciousness diatribes whereas wearing all-black, resulting in his nickname “The Prince of Pain,” has died. He was 76.

Lewis, who revealed he had been identified with Parkinson’s illness in 2023, died at his residence in Los Angeles on Tuesday night time after struggling a coronary heart assault, in accordance with his publicist Jeff Abraham.

An everyday performer in golf equipment and on late-night TV for many years, Lewis additionally performed Marty Gold, the romantic co-lead reverse Jamie Lee Curtis, within the ABC sequence Anything But Love and the reliably neurotic Prince John in Mel Brooks’ Robin Hood: Men In Tights. He re-introduced himself to a brand new technology reverse Larry David in HBO’s Curb Your Enthusiasm, kvetching frequently.

“I’m paranoid about everything in my life. Even at home. On my stationary bike, I have a rear-view mirror, which I’m not thrilled about,” he as soon as joked onstage. To Jimmy Kimmel he mentioned: “This morning, I tried to go to bed. I couldn’t sleep. I counted sheep but I only had six of them and they all had hip replacements.”

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Comedy Central named Lewis one of many high 50 stand-up comedians of all time and he earned a berth in GQ journal’s record of the “20th Century’s Most Influential Humorists.” He lent his humour for charity causes, together with Comic Relief and Comedy Gives Back.

“Watching his stand-up is like sitting in on a very funny and often dark therapy session,” the Los Angeles Times mentioned in 2014. The Philadelphia’s City Paper known as him “the Jimi Hendrix of monologists.” Mel Brooks as soon as mentioned he “may just be the Franz Kafka of modern-day comedy.”

Following his commencement from The Ohio State University in 1969, the New York-born Lewis started a stand-up profession, honing his craft on the circuit with different contemporaries additionally simply beginning out like Jay Leno, Freddie Prinze and Billy Crystal.

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He recalled Rodney Dangerfield hiring him for $75 to fill in at his New York membership, Dangerfield’s. “I had a lot of great friends early on who believed in me, and I met pretty iconic people who really helped me, told me to keep working on my material. And I never looked back,” he instructed The Gazette of Colorado Springs, Colorado, in 2010.

Unlike modern Robin Williams, Lewis allowed audiences into his world and melancholy, pouring his torment and ache onto the stage. Fans favourably in contrast him to the ground-breaking comic Lenny Bruce.

“I take great pains not to be mean-spirited,” Lewis instructed The Palm Beach Post in 2007. “I don’t like to take real handicaps that people have to overcome with no hope in sight. I steer clear of that. That’s not funny to me. Tragedy is funny to other humourists, but it’s not to me, unless you can make a point that’s helpful.”

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Singer Billy Joel has mentioned he was referring to Lewis when he sang in My Life of an outdated pal who “bought a ticket to the West Coast/Now he gives them a stand-up routine in L.A.”

In 1989 at Carnegie Hall, he appeared with six toes of yellow authorized sheets full of materials and taped collectively for a 2½-hour set that led to 2 standing ovations. The night time was “the highlight of my career,” he instructed The Washington Post in 2020.

Lewis instructed GQ his signature look got here by the way, saying his obsession with dressing in black got here from watching the tv Western Have Gun – Will Travel, with a cowboy in all-black, when he was a child. He additionally popularized the time period “from hell” — as in “the date from hell” or “the job from hell.”

“That just came out of my brain one day and I kept repeating it a lot for some reason. Same thing with the black clothes. I just felt really comfortable from the early ’80s on and I never wore anything else. I never looked back.”

After getting sober from medicine and alcohol in 1994, Lewis put out his 2008 memoir, The Other Great Depression — a set of fearless, essay type riffs on his life — and Reflections From Hell.

Lewis was the youngest of three siblings — his brother was older than him by six years, and his sister by 9. His father died younger and his mom had emotional issues. “She didn’t get me at all. I owe my career to my mother. I should have given her my agent’s commission,” he instructed The Washington Post in 2020.

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“Looking back on it now, as a full-blown, middle-aged, functioning anxiety collector, I can admit without cringing that my parents had their fair share of tremendous qualities, yet, being human much of the day, had more than just a handful of flaws as well,” he wrote in his memoir.

Lewis rapidly discovered a brand new household acting at New York’s Improv. “I was 23, and all sorts of people were coming in and out and watching me, like Steve Allen and Bette Midler. David Brenner certainly took me under his wing. To drive home to my little dump in New Jersey often knowing that Steve Allen said, ‘You got it,’ that validation kept me going in a big, big way.”

He had a cameo in Leaving Las Vegas, which led to his first main dramatic function as Jimmy Epstein, an addict preventing for his life within the indie movie, Drunks. He performed Don Rickles’ son on one season of Daddy Dearest and a rabbi on seventh Heaven.

Lewis’s recurring function on Curb Your Enthusiasm may be credited on to his friendship with fellow comic, producer and sequence star Larry David. Both native Brooklynites — born in the identical Brooklyn hospital — they first met and have become buddies as rivals whereas attending the identical summer time camp at age 13. He was solid from the start, bickering with David on unpaid payments and customary courtesies.

He is survived by his spouse, Joyce Lapinsky.


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