Reprinted from The Indepndent Weekly

Raleigh
Richard Lewis
Goodnight’s—By the time Richard Lewis begins his latest gig at Charlie Goodnight’s on Thursday, the United States should have a new president. The tone and content of the comedian’s stand-up act hinges on the winner: “This is sort of a wild gig,” says the lifelong Democrat. “I’m going to be on fire either way. If Obama wins, I’m going to be in an extraordinary mood. If he loses … honestly, it might be a better show. I’m curious to see how I might be feeling: elated or absolutely distraught.”

Lewis has become one of the best-known stand-up comedians in America for his neurotic, cynical stage persona, though, as even he admits, there is little difference between who he is on stage and who he is in real life. Over the course of our conversation, he apologized at least four times for rambling, changing the subject or saying things he felt were uninteresting. His performance at Goodnight’s will be drawn, he says, from roughly four or five hours of material he has on his computer, plus what’s on his mind: “It’s like a bad MapQuest, my show. But hopefully, I’ll get to the destination, and make some comedic points.”

Goodnight’s promises to be a “relaxing gig” for Lewis, who adds that it’s a welcome change of pace from his recent gigs, which have included multiple town halls and TV appearances (he had done three in the week before the interview). He’s gained new fans from his TV work, ranging from a guest role on the family drama 7th Heaven (“Kids come up to me and go ‘You’re that rabbi!'”) and his long-running role as a version of himself on HBO’s Curb Your Enthusiasm, which was recently renewed for a seventh season. For Lewis, playing himself is a strange experience. “You do so much improvising, you have no idea what [Curb creator and star Larry David is] going to use in an episode,” Lewis says. “It’s the oddest sensation. I have no idea if I’m acting.” Considering how far being himself has taken him, it’s obviously a formula that works. —Zack Smith

Richard Lewis performs through Nov. 9 at Goodnight’s. Visit www.ticketbiscuit.com/goodnightscomedy for more information.

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