Thursday, April 23, 2015

RR Richard Lewis - Live From Hell

Time for another stand-up comedy review!

Let's have a look at another classic favorite of mine, the great Richard Lewis!

More Stand-up Comedy reviewed below:

Title: Live From Hell: Before And After ("I'm in Pain")
Comedian Richard Lewis 
Release date 2001
Genre Stand-up Comedy 2-CD set

Richard Lewis is a fantastic popular Jewish comedian. Influenced b the likes of Buster Keaton or even Woody Allen, he has that same nervous frantic energy and has been performing stand-up comedy since the 1970s.

He specially became a lot more popular in the 1980s thanks to numerous appearances on Late Night with David Letterman. He was also brought back into the spotlight thanks to a great recurring "character" based on himself on Larry David's Curb Your Enthusiasm on HBO.

He's also known as the person who coined the expression "The ___ from Hell", according to the Yale Book of Quotations at least. His appearance on Curb actually played with this fact.

This 2001 comedy album CD set is his only release to date. And that's reason enough to make it a little more special than your fairly standard comedy albums.

It's actually the first release of a HBO special, "I'm in Pain". A performance recorded live at The Improv in 1985. It's a 2CD-set. The first disc covers the entire special for about 30 tracks worth of material.

Richard Lewis is a pretty neurotic and nervous comedian. His delivery is pretty fast-paced, he jumps all over the place, there's no real thread through his act. Quickly moving from one subject to the next.

He covers pretty varied topics, the man is able to start with the usual material revolving around the family and ends up covering cops, US Mail, a Dry Cleaning conspiracy, his mother, a Gig From Hell, stuff being different deep South, Nashville, TV, Porn, foreign films, an experience with a Cat From Hell, sex and many more subjects! Nothing's too far off topic and always expect the unexpected. In the middle of this expect to jump from a dog's suicide to the story of a caesarian.

His style is definitively non-sequential. He puts so much energy into his act, his unique tone he's famous for. In a way Lewis has a pretty similar delivery style to Robin Williams.

The second "bonus CD" is an entirely different beast on itself. It's more like an extended interview Richard Lewis did with journalist Bill Zehme. From a studio recording at the Christian Science Monitor in Boston, more like a Q&A. The radio host Brian Zehme ask him all kinds of stuff, which means he isn't allowed to go as much off topic here, they cover more personal questions and whatnot. They dialogue back and forth, riffing on the different subject.

Lewis discusses all kinds of themes here like medication, bad audiences, women, Parenting From Hell, hypochondria and being the Comedian From Hell! They recorded hours worth of improvised material, which they only kept part of it on this disc. It's pretty interesting to listen to, it's more of a podcast-like experience. Where Lewis looks at all kinds of things he don't necessary openly talk on stage like politics, his alcohol problem or the fact this famous Jewish comedian is being interviewed at a radio owned by a Christian religious group that doesn't believe medicine (said Christian Science Monitor here).

Overall, Richard Lewis - Live From Hell is a great comedy album, well worth listening to. For a Mature Audience only, due to his explicit content.

Lewis is such a great smart funny comedian, he doesn't necessary tell tales like more traditional humorists. But he has a great act that feels improvised and natural. He looks into his own drinking problem and all this guilt he feels in his everyday life. Such a fun introspective comedian , with a great neurotic nervous delivery filled with paranoia.

He's probably one of the funniest men out there. His humor style is very much anchored in the 1980s, which reminds me of all these legendary comedians. Great style. Pretty cool laidback comedy album.

A Must for comedy fans. A great unique 2-disc combo with two very different products. Richard Lewis is a great funny man - thankfully we're not him, at least we get to listen to him instead.

I give it:

2.5 / 3 Urkels!

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