WEEK OF June 3-9
ARTS FESTIVAL '88
Southfield Civic Center, 26000
Evergreen, Southfield, 60 artists
plus other activities, Saturday
2593 Woodward, Berkley, Bob
Saget Saturday, Mitchell
Walters, Tuesday through June
11, admission. 542-9900.
COMEDY CASTLE AT
29900 Van Dyke, Warren, Alan
Havey Saturday, admission.
Special to The Jewish News
ichard Lewis could easily be
called the King of Kvetches.
Here's a man so ag-
gravated by anguish, so
torn by torment, and so
fraught with fears and phobias, that
he has been said to make Woody
Allen look like Gandhi.
But that's entirely appropriate
since Lewis, 38, has built his entire
comedic career making fun of worry-
ing, a condition with which most of us
can surely identify.
"I worry about my future," he says
during a telephone interview from his
home in California. "I'm afraid that
if things go too well for me I might
have to pack it all in and become a
"I worry that I might have driven
myself to the brink of happiness. Now
that really scares me!"
Have no fear. Lewis is just kid-
ding. In fact, his career is going so
well that he has no intention of aban-
doning it now Underneath the frac-
tured facade, Lewis is really a happy,
if not altogether carefree, soul.
"I feel that what I do on stage as
a stand-up comic is not that in-
credibly down or negative," he ex-
plains. "Most people who come up to
me after a show — fans or whatever
you want to call them — seem to be
quite ecstatic that someone is ex-
pressing their feelings. I'm like the
emotional wreck they can't but would
like to be. I would describe myself as
cautiously optimistic, relatively hap-
py — and definitely in my own world
most of the time."
Born and "lowered" in New
Jersey, the son of a Jewish caterer,
Lewis was graduated from Ohio State
University with a degree in
marketing, joined an advertising
agency, then began writing jokes for
some Borscht Belt comedians in the
"Ah, what a life it was," he laments.
"My old Jewish grandparents had a
bumper sticker that summed it all up
beautifully. It said, 'I'd rather be
GOING PLACES I
Richard Lewis wrote jokes for Borscht Belt comedians before taking the stage himself.
Comedian Richard Lewis is making
a career out of fears and phobias
It all seems like a really horrific
bore to me now;' he continues, "those
post-college days, working three jobs,
struggling, in and out of some unfor-
tunate relationships and starting to
write comedy for other people. I was
getting frustrated realizing I was fun-
nier than they were but feeling I was
light years away from ever being able
to get up on stage and do that."
Tragically, the catalyst for Lewis
putting down his fears and frustra-
tions was his father's untimely death.
"It left such a void in me that it
catapulted me on stage within two
months. I ultimately would have gone
that route, but never that fast?'
Lewis, who blames — and/or
credits — his Jewish upbringing and
multi-faceted guilt trips with supply-
ing much of the background for his
own humorous outlets, enjoys his
work today. For the most part.
However, he is quick to point out, "my
blood type is still very negative?'
And he is especially grateful to
David Letterman, on whose show he's
appeared umpteen times. It was Let-
terman who gave Lewis national ex-
posure in 1982.
"It turned my career around;'
Lewis says appreciatively. "He's made
my dues paying worthwhile. He gave
me an audience, and for that reason
211 S. Woodward, Birmingham,
"Girl Crazy?' now through June
19, admission, 644-3533.
"You Never Can Tell," and
"Dangerous Corner," now
through Oct. 15, "Hit the Deck,"
now through Oct. 16, "War and
Peace," now through July 31,
"Peter Pan:' now through Oct.
16, admission. 416-468-2172.
Masonic Temple Auditorium, "La
Boheme," Saturday, admission.
"Invictus," performance to
benefit Interim House, Sunday,
Henry Ford Museum Theater,
Dearborn, "Two Blind Mice,"
Fridays and Saturdays, now
through July 16, plus June 19,
205 W Long Lake, Troy, "Wizard
of Oz," today through Sunday
and June 10-11, admission.
ON STAGE RESTAURANT
48 W. Adams, Detroit, "Le
Miracle de Piaf," Wednesdays
and Thursdays through June,
Midland Center for the Arts,
today, Wharton Center for
Performing Arts, East Lansing,
THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS