Get SF Weekly Newsletters
Pin It

Self-Flagellation for Fun and Profit 

Wednesday, Jul 14 2010
According to comic Marc Maron, comedy audiences don't have the patience they once did for neurotic comedians in the tradition of Woody Allen or Richard Lewis: Get on Prozac or get the hell out is the typical reaction, he laments. Lewis’ career slumped in the '90s during the rise of the alt-comic, a casualty of changing tastes. Not until Lewis outdid Larry David in sheer neurotic intensity as a recurring character in Curb Your Enthusiasm did he return to the public eye. Despite his late-career comeback, his act remains somewhat anachronistic, but that doesn’t make it any less effective. Although the dominant mode among contemporary alternative comics is ironic detachment, Lewis is still frothing and hopelessly worked up. His public acts of self-flagellation may not resonate with the kids, but his passion is something to behold. The high-wire intensity of his stand-up and the personal depths he plumbs make for a transfixing performance, no matter how uncomfortable the revelations are. It’s not for everyone: Lewis’ act requires a commitment from the audience to go along while he explicates precisely how and why he is a piece of shit. What he reveals may be unflattering, but it’s always compelling, and resonates more than some would care to admit.
July 15-18, 8 p.m.; July 16-17, 10:15 p.m., 2010

About The Author

Paul Davis


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment


  • U2 @ SAP Center in San Jose
    Last night U2 performed the first U.S. date of it’s Innocence + Experience tour at SAP Center in San Jose. All four band members were present despite recent injuries sustained by both Bono and Edge. The sold out show took audience members on a walk down memory lane as the band revisited their roots. The innovative stage and lighting used gave the arena show an intimate feel, and engaged audience members in all sections of the venue. Photographs by Sugarwolf.
  • Bay to Breakers 2015 - NSFW
    The 103rd annual Bay to Breakers 12K race was packed on Sunday despite the cold weather. With a starting point a few blocks from The Embarcadero, people dressed as bananas, Elvis and everything in between ran west through the city and finished at the Great Highway where breakers crash onto Ocean Beach.

    Photographs by Christopher Victorio.

Popular Stories

  1. Most Popular Stories
  2. Stories You Missed
  1. Most Popular