Rich performances |

Rich performances

Richard Lewis has taken his lifelong therapy fodder and carved it into a commanding, compelling art form.

“I go on a long tour and make people happy that they’re not me and go home,” Lewis said in his biography.

Lewis began with stand-up comedy, and Comedy Central recognized Lewis as one of the top 50 stand-up comedians of all time. He took center age at Mort Sahl’s 80th birthday tribute last summer and continues to entertain audiences on his Misery Loves Company Stand-Up Tour.

Lewis chronicled his years behind the mic with a boxed set of his “Concerts from Hell (The Vintage Years).”

Public Affairs Books is publishing a new edition of his 2000 memoir, “The Other Great Depression,” with a new afterword, due out this year. He also features prominently in two other recent books: “I’m Dying Up Here” chronicles the definitive stand-up comedians of the past three decades; and in the fall of ’06, the Yale Book of Quotations officially attributed the common phrase, “the ____ from hell” to Lewis.

At Harrah’s, Lewis joins another famous actor-comedian with the same first name: Richard Belzer also began as a stand-up comedian in New York City and was the audience warm-up comedian for the premiere season of “Saturday Night Live.” Belzer is the third actor to play the same character in six different prime-time series: His Detective John Munch has appeared in three “Law & Order” variations, “The X Files” and the short-lived “The Beat” since the character’s origin on “Homicide: Life on the Street.”

Belzer frequently incorporates his surviving testicular cancer and his penchant for conspiracy theories into his act.

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