Skip to main content

From the Archives: Comedians Diller and Lewis.

Interviews with comics Phyllis Diller and Richard Lewis. For more than 40 years, Phyllis Diller has made a career out of her own poor looks, and the exploits of her bumbling, imaginary, husband, Fang. Diller paved the way for an entire generation of female comics. Terry's interview with Phyllis Diller first aired on the weekly version of Fresh Air on 7/1/86.

Richard Lewis portrays a spastic, tortured, self-deprecating man living a life of unrelieved pain. He says of his standup comedy that after he's finished his act "people throw prescription drugs and the names of their therapists instead of roses. I'm the wreck they can't be." Lewis has appeared roughly 35 times on the "Late Night with David Letterman" show and has had his own comedy specials on HBO. (Lewis appeared on Fresh Air on June 16, 1988).


Other segments from the episode on December 29, 1989

Fresh Air with Terry Gross, December 29, 1989: Interviews with Phyllis Diller and Richard Lewis; Interviews with Richard Belzer and Robert Townsend; Interview with Al Franken.


Transcript currently not available.

Transcripts are created on a rush deadline, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of Fresh Air interviews and reviews are the audio recordings of each segment.

You May Also like

Did you know you can create a shareable playlist?


Recently on Fresh Air Available to Play on NPR


A more moderate Taliban? An Afghan journalist says nothing has changed

Afghan British journalist Najibullah Quraishi has had trouble sleeping for more than two hours a stretch ever since the U.S. withdrew troops from Afghanistan in August and the Taliban came back into power. Quraishi grew up in Afghanistan under Soviet and Taliban rule, and began reporting on the Taliban before the Sept. 11, 2001, al-Qaida attacks and the onset of the U.S. Afghan war. He's currently in Kabul reporting for his upcoming PBS Frontline documentary, Taliban Takeover, (airing Oct. 12) which details life in Afghanistan now.

There are more than 22,000 Fresh Air segments.

Let us help you find exactly what you want to hear.


Just play me something
Your Queue

Would you like to make a playlist based on your queue?

Generate & Share View/Edit Your Queue