Richard Lewis: ‘Whole Thing’s A Tragedy With Knicks’

Actor and comedian Richard Lewis, a self-proclaimed “sports junkie,” dropped by CBS Sports Radio on Tuesday to share his thoughts – or better yet, gripes – regarding several New York sports teams, mainly the Knicks.

As it turns out, the Brooklyn native isn’t a big fan of Phil Jackson.

“He decimated the team,” Lewis said on Gio and Jones. “What is this, a practical joke? What game plan? Bring in a couple Jewish center players? Some guys from Game of Thrones? Yeah, we have a serpent at strong forward. What kind of crap is that? What could his plan be? And now they’re waiting to get one decent player in the lottery. They’re not going to get No. 1 anyway. The odds are against them. The whole thing’s a tragedy.”

Wow, tell us how you really feel.

As Gregg Giannotti noted, though, Lewis has always had an angry edge to him.

“I’m a recovering drug addict for 20 years,” Lewis said, disagreeing. “I’m very grateful to be alive, really.”

Okay, maybe not angry, but what about self-loathing? Bingo.

“Yeah, that’s true because my family was horrible to me, said Lewis, 67. “They weren’t around, so I had nothing. I had nobody, so I had to prove things to myself. That’s why I love audiences. That’s why I became a comic. If they laughed at my problems, I felt like I wasn’t alone in the world.”

Some people don’t understand how someone like Lewis could be unhappy. He’s famous, his credits are as extensive as they are varied, and he knows a lot of celebrities.

“That doesn’t make you happy,” he said. “I was disappointed because I filmed a segment in L.A. a few days ago to thank Letterman . . . and it was supposed to be on last night and it wasn’t on. I was really bummed out. I wanted his audience to know how much he helped me. But that’s okay. Dave knows. I’ve written him notes.”

Lewis said that Letterman gave him advice early in his career – advice he follows to this day.

“He told me never do stand-up on television, and I never have because of him,” Lewis said. “I haven’t done stand-up since 1978 on television because Letterman said you’re too physical for the camera. You look like a monkey running around. So I wanted to thank him for making me go on that show and I always have. So when shows ask me to do standup, I go, ‘What are you, nuts?’ You got some 22-year-old new producer (saying), ‘We have only comics do standup.’ Well make Clooney do standup. Make Sean Penn do standup. Then sit down for a minute and go, ‘How’s your marriage? Fine? We got to go.’ It’s ridiculous.

“Anyway, I wanted to thank Dave for setting that precedent for me – and I just did on CBS,” Lewis continued. “And as Warren Zevon, our buddy, said, ‘Enjoy every sandwich.’ And I hope David does. I said that too in the video: ‘Dave, enjoy every sandwich.’ That’s what he asked Warren (before) he passed away. That was his buddy. Mine, too. He said, ‘Enjoy every sandwich when you’re alive.’ That’s a good way to live.”

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