Richard Lewis, one of the most prominent stand-up comedians of his generation, has announced he is “finished with stand-up” after being diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.
The 75-year-old comic, also known for playing a fictionalized version of himself on the HBO sitcom Curb Your Enthusiasm, made the announcement on social media yesterday.
He says that he has had a “rocky time” over the past three-and-a-half years, and fans have wondered why he has stopped touring as a stand-up comedian. In the video he reveals “what really happened.”
“Three and a half years ago, I was in the middle of a tour, and then I finally ended it with a show,” Lewis said. “I said, you know, I’m at the top of my game. After 50 years, almost, I’m going to just call it quits. And I felt great about that.”
After deciding to retire, Lewis says “s**t hit the fan” and he underwent four back-to-back surgeries, including shoulder and hip replacement surgeries.
On top of that, Lewis revealed that he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s.
“Two years ago, I started walking a little stiffly,” he said. “I was shuffling my feet, and I went to a neurologist, and they gave me a brain scan, and I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. And that was about two years ago.”
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Despite that serious diagnosis, Lewis says he has a positive outlook on the situation.
“But luckily, I got it late in life, and they say you progress very slowly, if at all, and I’m on the right med, so I’m cool. So I guess I just wanted you to know that that’s where it’s been at. I’m finished with stand up. I’m just focusing on writing and acting. I have Parkinson’s disease, but I’m under a doctor’s care, and everything is cool. And I love my wife, I love my little puppy dog, and I love all my friends and my hands. And now you know where it’s been at the last three and a half years. God bless.”
As a stand-up comedian, Lewis rose to prominence in the 1970s and 80s. He is known for his neurotic and self-deprecating humor, and for his frank discussions about his struggles with alcohol and drug addiction.
He was a frequent guest on late-night shows like The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, Late Night with David Letterman and The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.
On TV, Lewis is known for his Golden Globe-nominated performance in the sitcom Anything but Love opposite Jamie Lee Curtis, and for playing a fictionalized version of himself on Curb Your Enthusiasm. He also memorably played Prince John in Mel Brooks’ Robin Hood: Men in Tights.
He has been listed as one of the best and most influential comedians in lists by GQ and Comedy Central.
Richard Lewis is a comedian who has made us all laugh over the years, and we’re wishing him the best as he battles Parkinson’s and retires from stand-up ❤️
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