My friendship with Richard Lewis goes back to the 80’s. I don’t remember exactly how we met or exactly when, but I remember going to see him perform in a very big venue, … maybe Westbury, and I was with my ex-wife which means it had to be in the 80’s.

In 1995 he was starring in the movie Drunks. it was premiering in a theater in Manhattan. I remember discussing it with people but don’t remember how I got invited. All I know is that I got there a little late. I had written up some jokes because one of my dreams as a comedy writer was to write for Richard. I had already written for a lot of big names and REALLY wanted to write for Richard. The only problem was that he openly stated he never worked with writers or used anyone else’s jokes.

But I felt like I knew him so well, … actually too well, … as we seemed to share the same neuroses. I believe they came from growing up Jewish! (LOL) So I was determined to write for him and came up with the title of a tour that I felt fit him, .. “Born To Be Nervous.”

I always said if I had a tattoo that’s what it would say. Some guys have tattoos rhat say “Born To Be Wild.”. … mine would say ” Born To Be Nervous.”

For whatever reason I showed up a little late to the theater. I had the jokes with me and my plan was to get there early, find Richard and give him the jokes. But my nervousness and self-sabotage of which I am an expert, got me there a little late, and there was already a long line of people waiting to get in.

I decided to go to the Men’s Room first and as I was walking down the stairs, who was coming up the stairs but Richard Lewis. That can’t even happen but it’s been happening to me all my life. He sees me and says ” What are YOU doing here?” I’m like “I’m here to support you, and I brought you these jokes.”

The jokes were in a folder. He was like, “You know I don’t use anyone else’s jokes.” And I said, “Just read them and see what you think.” He took the folder, went into the theater and I went to the Men’s Room, and afterwards took my seat and watched the movie. It was great and he did a fantastic job. I don’t recall if I saw him afterwards. At that point he was sober about 2 or 3 years. And he would not mind me saying that! He was very proud of his sobriety.

Later that very same day, around 9:30 P.M., I got a voicemail message from him on my answering machine, if any of you remember what that is, because I don’t think they exist anymore. But in those days answering machines were a good way for you to test out your sense of humor by leaving bizarre messages for people who called you. One of my daughters kept every one of my messages and because she wouldn’t delete them she had to get a new machine because she ran out of memory. This is the message I have kept all these years and still treasure, as he kept using the word “Hilarious” to describe my material.

A few years back I was producing a gala in honor of Susie Essman the great comedian, a dear friend, and a star of Curb Your Enthusiasm. I wanted to create a tribute video and needed to get video quotes from three of Susie’s close friends, Richard, Mario Cantone, and D.L. Hughley. Richard and I had lunch at The Friars Club where we were both longtime members. After lunch I was ready to shoot the video tribute. I asked him where he wanted to do it. He said that for Susie it would be appropriate for us to shoot it in the Men’s Room, so we did.

The photos below are of us having lunch at The Friars, us in the Men’s Room with him reading an article about me in The Friars Epistle, their glossy magazine,and the conceit was that I as an investigative reporter who lets nothing stand in his way of getting a story even follows his subject into the stall of the Men’s Room, which explains the third photo! (LOL) In the video below, Richard wants people to know that it was HIS idea to shoot the video in the Men’s Room, … not mine! (LOL)

Richard got a kick out of the fact that sometimes people would come over to me and think I was him. In 2022 I went to the premiere of DeNiro’s film Savage Salvation and two different people came over to me to tell me they loved me in “Curb.” They thought I was Richard! It’s happened before and I’m sure it’s the hair! (LOL) I wrote to him about it as I often did in long e-mails and he wrote back a short e-mail, … as HE usually did, that just said “Haaa, I love you!” He often wrote me and just said ” I love you.” It meant so much to me!

A few months ago, when he made his Parkinson’s diagnosis public, I asked him about doing a podcast with him like he did with Elayne Boosler. He wrote me back one of his longest emails ever, which I copied below in bold. It’s interesting to see how he wrote with the spacing and just a  few words on each line. Maybe like something a poet like Bob Dylan would write! (LOL) This is exactly how it looked, spacing and all!

I’m flattered 

This isn’t a podcast 
IT’s to keep me busy 
There are tons of podcasts that your 2000000 episodic life that merits your tale… not my bullshit

Is the Friars dead?

I admire you

I’ll see how things go 
You should’ve been on Gilbert’s 


He told me he was fighting to stay alive. I’m sure he fought as hard as he could. R.I.P. Richard. I’ll miss you my friend!

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