Richard Lewis

Nobody pisses off Larry David like his longtime BFF Richard Lewis. The two met as 12-year-olds at a New York summer camp. Today, on Curb Your Enthusiasm, Lewis plays “Richard Lewis” as an aging, neurotic, black-clad, recovering alcoholic. He gets to trade insults back and forth with David, accusing the Seinfeld creator of everything from stealing his outgoing voicemail greeting to ruining countless romantic relationships (always with much younger women). “What are you eating, a lot of grains and nuts?” Lewis asks David in one episode, ribbing him about his frequent bathroom visits. “What are you, a Jewish squirrel?” Of course, Curb is only the latest milestone in Lewis’ nearly 40-year career, which began in the New York comedy boom of the ’70s and made him a staple of the Letterman and Carson shows and HBO specials. Despairing, oversharing, overwrought, convinced he’s dying and unable to love—his stage persona as a tortured Jew is both familiar and a mask. Only after flaming out in the ’90s on drugs and booze did he sober up, write a highly confessional memoir (The Other Great Depression), and—with David’s help—begin a second chapter in his career. And more good news: Next year the resurgent performer will be filming Curb’s eighth season with his old friend. ERIN K. THOMPSON

Fri., Sept. 24, 7:30 & 10 p.m.; Sat., Sept. 25, 7:30 & 10 p.m., 2010

 
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