Richard Lewis Talks Ted Williams, Curb Your Enthusiasm
Between his nearly five decades in stand-up and a slew of high-profile roles in series such as Curb Your Enthusiasm, Richard Lewis has built a legendary comedy career. The actor and comedian, who performs this weekend in Boston, hasn’t lost any love for the art form or for his longtime friend and collaborator Larry David. “We were born in the same hospital three days apart, and he was a moron and a nutcase then, but a genius,” Lewis says. “I love the guy and we’re the same offstage as on.” Here are a few more things we learned about the star after a lengthy conversation with Lewis ahead of his gig in Boston.
1. He learned how to hit his comedy ‘sweet spot’ thanks to a book by Ted Williams.
When I was a kid—I was actually a decent athlete—I read this book on hitting by Ted Williams. A cheap reference to Boston, but it was true. He had a great book for where he owned where he would hit it, his sweet spot. He was arguably the greatest hitter. The thing is, my sweet spot [with comedy] has been things that plagued me.
2. Stand-up is still worth it to him because it’s his only avenue for sharing his deepest thoughts and issues.
Things that are swirling around in my head, I don’t feel that comfortable sharing them with almost anybody but strangers. When an audience laughs, I feel like I’m making a connection. I resigned from psychotherapy after a long battle, but there are some things that are just so personal that you don’t want to even tell your wife or your best friend or your shrink. But I have no problem telling a stranger because what are they going to do? Write me a letter? As long as they laugh at my troubles, I’m happy.
3. He once hung out backstage with the Rolling Stones, but his wife was only impressed when they bumped into Johnny Depp at the concert.
Here we are 90 minutes with the Stones and we walk out and I see Johnny and he says, “Hey man.” My wife immediately picks up her phone and [tells her friend], “He’s six feet away!” I go, “We were with the Stones for 90 minutes, give me some credit.”
4. He gave up bugging Larry David about the story arcs for Curb Your Enthusiasm.
I used to bug him about it. Now I don’t care. I just don’t care anymore. I’ll show up, “What do you want Larry?” I come home, my wife goes, “How did it go?” Don’t ask me that. He’s him. I’m me. We had a fight like two days ago at Johnny’s restaurant. I’ll be in the other room taking a shower and get my makeup off. I go, “Don’t ask me, I’m playing me.” It’s one of the most surreal gigs ever.
5. He’s remained good friends with Larry, despite their opposite personality types.
I say everything that’s on my mind. He’s almost the reverse. To find out what’s going on with him, it’s like a coal miner. You need to dig down. You need a stethoscope to hear what’s going on.
Richard Lewis performs at Laugh Boston on Thursday through Saturday, September 29 through October 1.