Comedian 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. He also starred in the sitcom "Anything But Love." (Originally broadcast 6/16/88).
Film director and comedian, Robert Townsend. His first film, "Hollywood Shuffle" took a satiric look at the roles offered to blacks in Hollywood, and established Townsend --with Spike Lee and others-- as a new group of talented black filmmakers who won industry acceptance after making independent films. His new film is "Meteor Man". (REBROADCAST FROM 6-9-87)
Comedian Jon Lovitz. He played the pathological liar on Saturday Night Live, among many other characters, such as Annoying Man and Harry Chanukah. Now he's got a comedy special coming up on May 17th on the Fox Television Network (right after "Married With Children").
TV critic David Bianculli reviews two shows that highlight two veteran performers: James Taylor and Bob Newhart. One is on Disney and the other on Showtime. With Newhart, this is his first full-length standup act in 25 years. They'll be broadcast on Sunday.
Actor Rowan Atkinson. Atkinson's one of England's best-known comic actors. He starred in the TV series, "Black Adder," and co-starred in the 1990 comedy, "The Tall Guy." Atkinson stars in his own H-B-O Comedy hour special throughout March. (Interview by Marty Moss-Coane)
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.
Critic at large Laurie Stone reviews comic Billy Crystal's new HBO special, "Midnight Train to Moscow." The premise is that Crystal has been invited to be the first American stand-up artist to perform in the Soviet Union. In addition to his act, there are cameo appearances by a flock of Crystal characters.