At a time when many comedians would hang up their hat and call it a career, actor and comedian Richard Lewis is charging full speed ahead.
The 40-year industry veteran has navigated the Hollywood vortex paved with false promises and alluring addictions to come out on top at the ripe age of 63. The man in black has shaped a successful career of late, with a reoccurring role on the television show “Curb Your Enthusiasm” and fresh off the movie set of VAMPS, a film starring Alicia Silverstone and Sigourney Weaver.
Lewis also has found his way back on stage for his “Misery Loves Company Stand-Up Tour” coming to the Parlor Live Comedy Club this weekend.
“Right now things are cooler than ever,” Lewis said. “I just wrapped up a movie and I’m working on a huge sitcom with one of my oldest friends in life,” he explained, in reference to Curb Your Enthusiasm’s creator, Larry David. “I’m better than I’ve ever been. I always thought of myself as short of a catastrophe, but now I’m in a good place. I am a young 63 and I have never felt stronger.”
With 17 years of sobriety in his pocket and a laundry list of career making achievements, Lewis is returning to the comedy scene with a new freshness and vitality that he credits to lessons learned. In 2000, Lewis wrote a memoir depicting his struggle with his substance abuse and recovery titled, “The Other Great Depression.” The book, said Lewis, is a working piece of therapy and a wide-open look into the hardships he has faced over the course of his long career.
“One of the things about my stand up is that I want it to be as real and truthful as possible,” he said, adding, “In a nutshell, I’m a nut. I lived a crazy two decades and I somehow came out on the other side a better person for having gone through it. I’m really happy that I stuck out the lean years and if I can get on stage and share my experiences with an audience – and make them laugh – then I’m better for it.”
Lewis continues to approach stand up from an unconventional manner, what he refers to as a ball of swirling dysfunctional comedy.
“My head never turns off very much and I don’t really have an act, just a continuous stream of random thoughts that I jot down as I go,” he said. “Honestly, I have a pad with me and I write down anything that strikes me funny. I perform to make a connection and to get big laughs.”
Lewis hopes his comedic style of therapeutic honesty mixed with raw humor resonates with the Bellevue audience.
“I don’t think I’ve ever performed in Bellevue before, but then again I wasn’t very sober for a couple decades, so who really knows,” he joked, adding he’s always excited to perform at a new venue and in front of a fresh audience.
Lewis will be hitting the stage in Bellevue tonight and tomorrow night for a total of four shows, sober and adorned in his signature, all black.
“As an actor, if the role calls, I’ll wear anything or nothing if I have to. On stage, I wear all black,” he said, explaining, “When I started my comedy career in the early ’80s during Letterman, I started really getting down and dirty with my own life and I felt more comfortable wearing black. I was a shadow until I got into the spotlight. I felt it fit the mood of my act. After a while I visually dug it. Why change a good thing?”
Lindsay Larin can be reached at 425-453-4602.
Richard Lewis will perform at the Parlor Live Comedy Club tonight at 7:30 p.m. & 10 p.m. and on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and 10 p.m. To purchase tickets, visit www.parlorlive.com.