40 Funny & Inspirational Richard Lewis Quotes

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Which are your favorite Richard Lewis quotes?

Richard Lewis is an American stand-up comedian and actor. He is best known for being one of the trailblazers of self-deprecating humor trends in the 1980s. Lewis has also successfully ventured into acting.

A few of the widely celebrated TV projects he made appearances in are the comedy series ‘Anything but Love’ and ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’.

Lewis gained mainstream popularity only after he started appearing on the popular late-night talk show ‘Late Night with David Letterman’.

Throughout his career in the entertainment industry, Lewis notably was included on the list of ‘100 Greatest Standups of All Time’ and earned several nominations of prestigious awards, including the ‘CableACE Award’ and the ‘Screen Actors Guild Award’.

Here’s a collection of the most inspirational Richard Lewis quotes:


40 Funny & Inspirational Richard Lewis Quotes

1. “I have to say Richard Pryor was arguably the greatest stand-up ever, and Lenny Bruce was maybe the most important, but Jonathan Winters is so explosively spontaneous.” – Richard Lewis

2. “I didn’t ever feel close to my real family. I didn’t feel validated; I never felt right because I was always wrong.” – Richard Lewis

3. “I never gave much thought to anything since I was 22 years old, when I got into the arts, so when Larry David came to my house in 2000, I didn’t even think about it – I just thought about showing up on the set.” – Richard Lewis

4. “If you want to devote yourself to the arts, you’d better do it strictly from passion, because there are zero guarantees that you’ll get anywhere. The hardest thing is dealing with business people who have nothing to do with your art. They could care less that you’re up at 4:30 in the morning writing a joke. Don’t expect any sympathy from anybody.” – Richard Lewis

5. “I quit therapy because my analyst was trying to help me behind my back.” – Richard Lewis

6. “Well, I don’t think I ever called myself the Prince of Pain. I think it might have been written that way and then it stuck-it was in magazine articles. I don’t come out and say, “Hi, I’m the Prince of Pain.” But the truth of the matter is that whatever gift I have as a comedian, most of it was in the phrase “from hell,” which is now in The Yale Book of Quotations.” – Richard Lewis

7. “I read somewhere that when I go on stage, people realize that they’re not me and they feel better. When I walk off the stage, people know who I really am. I’m not saying it’s great comedy, cool comedy or better comedy – but that’s what I do, and I do it first for myself.” – Richard Lewis

8. “In the last decade, unbeknownst to me, I found out that Phyllis Diller was a huge fan of mine. She wrote me a letter and then we became great friends.” – Richard Lewis

9. “My wife’s hip, beautiful and independent and never jealous.” – Richard Lewis


10th of 40 Richard Lewis Quotes

10. “I was way more comfortable in front of strangers than I was in front of relatives. So when they would laugh at my dysfunctions or my anxiety, I felt less alone, and I still do it for the same reason.” – Richard Lewis


11. “I’m psyched-up when I do radio. I can reach hundreds of thousands of people in a market. And way psyched up when I’m on television. For people not to take it seriously is foolish.” – Richard Lewis

12. “When I started. I’m not sure how it happened, but when I was young and my dad died, I had no money, so a friend of mine who was a hospital administrator got me into therapy for a dollar an hour.” – Richard Lewis

13. “When you’re in love it’s the most glorious two and a half days of your life.” – Richard Lewis

14. “I’m obsessive-compulsive. For example, I can watch John Cassavetes’s films over and over again.” – Richard Lewis

15. “My father died before I was a comedian and my mother and I didn’t get along-she didn’t understand my work, although I think she was sometimes proud behind my back.” – Richard Lewis

16. “I was 23, and all sorts of people were coming in and out and watching me, like Steve Allen and Bette Midler. David Brenner certainly took me under his wing. To drive home to my little dump in New Jersey often knowing that Steve Allen said, ‘You got it’ – that validation kept me going in a big, big way.” – Richard Lewis

17. “It sounds clichéd, but I had such a horrific relationship with my mother . . . My shrink once said that I was an affection junkie more than a sex addict, that I needed to be loved by as many different women as possible to fill up the hole.” – Richard Lewis

18. “I know what my sweet spot has been. It’s personal stuff, dysfunction, fear of intimacy, family stuff, psychology stuff. I eviscerate myself onstage.” – Richard Lewis

19. “So at the festival, I basically saw all of Keaton’s work. I fell so in love with him.” – Richard Lewis


20th of 40 Richard Lewis Quotes

20. “My act is always a work in progress. I pray I have a bad day before a show.” – Richard Lewis


21. “My performance level has risen – and my anxiety-level has sky-rocketed.” – Richard Lewis

22. “Eleanor must have been in her early twenties when Buster married her. She was a gorgeous, young actress-dancer and he was an alcoholic. But with Eleanor, Buster was okay with it. She helped him live a great last 20-something year of his life.” – Richard Lewis

23. “I’m a New Yorker, born in Brooklyn, raised in Jersey. But as much as I might taunt Los Angeles, I’m in heaven living near Charlie Chaplin’s studio, and where Keaton shot his films, and Laurel Canyon, where everybody lived in the ’60s.” – Richard Lewis

24. “I’m 70; I’m just glad I’m on top of the ground. Honest to God.” – Richard Lewis

25. “I certainly wouldn’t be a dental hygienist – they should get the Medal of Honor just to look at people’s gums.” – Richard Lewis

26. “When you do something in the moment, it may just be for that stage, that audience, that headspace that you’re in.” – Richard Lewis

27. “My grandmother was a Jewish juggler: she used to worry about six things at once.” – Richard Lewis

28. “Most comedians who have lasted have a rhythm.” – Richard Lewis

29. “My humor is channeling everything through my brain. For example, when I talk about something, it’s how Richard Lewis feels about it. I’m a storyteller. I do a lot of free association.” – Richard Lewis


30th of 40 Richard Lewis Quotes

30. “I never wanted to do observational humor because I never wanted to tell people what they were seeing.” – Richard Lewis


31. “I love being famous. It validates that I have something to say.” – Richard Lewis

32. “When I started out, I struggled, and I was broke a lot. But I’m glad I struggled, and I’m glad I was broke a lot.” – Richard Lewis

33. “I was in London in ’69 for about 14 days, and I stumbled onto a Buster Keaton festival. They had found all of these lost Buster Keaton films in the shed of James Mason’s house in Beverly Hills [which had previously been owned by Keaton], and this wonderful guy had gotten them all remastered.” – Richard Lewis

34. “Hendrix, obviously, wasn’t a comedian, but if someone could hit a note like he could, so down deep, I thought, Whatever I do in life, I’m going to try to go for that note. That’s how I felt when I heard John Lennon’s first solo album. I just felt like this guy was opening up his guts in a way that I had never heard before.” – Richard Lewis

35. “Most Texans think Hanukkah is some sort of duck call.” – Richard Lewis

36. “I met David Brenner when I was in my twenties. He was already a star—he’d played Vegas, done The Tonight Show. But we hit it off immediately. I wasn’t that close to my family, so David became like an older brother to me instantaneously.” – Richard Lewis

37. “There’s a thin line between narcissism, even if it’s a healthy narcissism and entertainment.” – Richard Lewis

38. “When I was younger, I listened to the greats: Winters, Mel, and Carl, Nichols and May, Pryor, Carlin, Klein, Berman, and lots of Lenny Bruce albums. But once I started doing fairly well, I didn’t want to hear anybody’s jokes or premises.” – Richard Lewis

39. “My family – it wasn’t an abusive family – they meant well, but they were in their own world.” – Richard Lewis

40. “I like dark films. There’s a French film called The Mother and the Whore [1973]. It came out about a year after Last Tango in Paris [1972], which blew my mind and frightened me because it’s all about fear of intimacy.” – Richard Lewis



Thanks for checking out this collection of quotes from Richard Lewis! Don’t forget to share them on social media with your friends and family.

Which are your favorite Richard Lewis quotes? Leave a comment below.

Zisilia Alvsa
Zisilia Alvsa
Zisilia Alvsa is a writer for Wealthy Gorilla. Friends often call her Zii. She is a girl from Jakarta, Indonesia who currently lives in Bali. Zii loves photography and travelling.


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