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Angst-ridden and neurotic, Richard Lewis turned his private pain into a comic persona that served him as a standup comedian and versatile actor, adding author to his credits when he penned a memoir of struggling with sobriety.
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He has also racked up an array of accolades and awards, and a tight-knit group of comic buddies including David Brenner, Robert Klein, Richard Belzer and Albert Brooks.
high-speed comedic riffs have earned him comparisons to jazz musicians. A Chicago Tribune article noted: "Audiences who have seen Lewis on HBO's Curb Your Enthusiasm or in clubs for the past 40-odd years understandably view him as a human quip machine and a maniacal monologist, but there's music deep inside his work, as well. If you listen closely, it's clear that Lewis, like Lenny Bruce before him, brings to the art of comedy the impetuousness and element of surprise that are at the heart of jazz."
Richard Lewis married his "soulmate," Joyce Lapinsky, whom he nicknamed "Gina Lolamatzobrei," in January 2005, but they had been together for many years. He had taken her to meet his therapist after they had been dating for seven years, confessing he had "no confidence in my ability to select a mate." His therapist basically threw cold water in his face.
But that wasn't the only sobering experience he had. In 2000, Lewis published The OTHER Great Depression, his memoir about his misery and the drug and alcohol addiction that had developed out of that. In the book, he chronicles his struggles with stopping drinking and the journey of sobriety: "... as full of tears and obsessions as I am, the one thing I'm most proud of is that I am no longer ruled by alcohol." And he's still funny.
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