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Richard Philip Lewis (born June 29, 1947) is an American comedian and actor.

Early life

Lewis was born in Brooklyn, New Yorkmarker and was raised in Englewood, New Jerseymarker, the son of Blanche, an actress, and William Lewis, a caterer. He graduated from Dwight Morrow High Schoolmarker and received a degree from Ohio State Universitymarker, where he was a member of the Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity. As a teenager, Lewis appeared on the Candid Camera television show.


Lewis began performing stand-up comedy in the 1970s. He worked as a copywriter for an ad agency by day, while honing his stand-up act at night. The ad agency was named Contemporary Graphics (no longer exists) and was located above Lovey's pizzeria in Hasbrouck Heights, New Jersey. Lewis gained popularity in the 1980s with numerous appearances on Late Night with David Letterman and his own television specials on HBO. He has starred in the ABC sitcom Anything But Love which ran for four seasons. He co-starred with Don Rickles on the short-lived Daddy Dearest. He had a recurring role on Showtime series Rude Awakening and as a rabbi on the dramatic series 7th Heaven. Lewis has written comic articles for magazines such as Playboy, and endorsed the popular early-1990s beverage, Boku, as well as Snapple and Certs breath mints. In 2007 he made a cameo appearance as Phillip, the school counselor of Max's school, in the T.V Series George Lopez. Recently he also made cameos in Everybody Hates Chris as an old man in the hospital bed next to Cris Rock's and as Charlie Sheen's accountant in Two and a Half Men.

Lewis has also achieved moderate success in films, appearing as Prince John in Robin Hood: Men in Tights, as a frontier doctor in Wagons East!. He played the lead role of Jimmy Epstein in the dramatic film Drunks and appeared in Leaving Las Vegas. He made his acting debut in the 1977 TV movie mockumentary Diary of a Young Comic. Billy Joel has said Lewis is the "old friend who bought a ticket to the West Coast and gives them a stand-up routine in L.A." in his song "My Life".

On January 9, 2001, Lewis visited the Howard Stern Show to promote his book The Other Great Depression, which described his recovery from alcoholism.

He currently has a frequent recurring role as himself on Larry David's critically acclaimed Curb Your Enthusiasm on HBO. Lewis and David met at summer camp in Cornwall-on-Hudson, New Yorkmarker when they were twelve.

"The ______ from hell"

Lewis claims to be the originator of the phrase "The ______ from hell" as in "the date from hell" or "the roommate from hell". This theory is expounded in the Curb Your Enthusiasm episode "The Nanny from Hell". Lewis has petitioned the editors of Bartlett's to be given credit for the coinage, but the editors claim that the phrase was a common idiom prior to Lewis's use of it. However, the Yale Book of Quotations does attribute the phrase to Lewis.


During his routines, Lewis commonly places his right hand on his forehead, then stretches it outward as he expresses his point.


  1. Richard Lewis Biography (1947?-)
  2. Flamm, Matthew. Between the Lines. 60 Minutes. 11-01-2002. Retrieved on December 28, 2006
  3. Yale Press Log: Yale Gives Richard Lewis Hell, 2006-10-11. Retrieved on 2008-04-13.
  4. Zwicky, Arnold. Language Log: Yet Another Snowclone Omnibus, 2007-08-11. Retrieved on 2008-04-13.

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