This is the first installment of our newest online feature. The Dick Staub Interview will appear every Tuesday on our site. Staub, who hosts a daily radio show on Seattle's KGNW (also broadcast on cable's Total Living Network), is the author of Too Christian, Too Pagan: How to Love the World Without Falling for It. He's also the founder of the Center for Faith and Culture, which examines intersections between popular culture and religious belief. His interviews appearing on our site will examine many of these intersections, as he talks to writers, theologians, and other cultural influencers.
Our first Dick Staub interview is with comedian Richard Lewis, whom Mel Brooks called "the Franz Kafka of modern-day comedy." Known for his neurotic standup comedy driven by personal experience, he becomes even more personal in his recent book, delving into his alcoholism and spiritual recovery. Staub talked with Lewis shortly after the publication of the book, titled The Other Great Depression: How I'm Overcoming On a Daily Basis at Least a Million Addictions and Finding a Spiritual (Sometimes) Life.
You've been using your life as the source of your comedy, and now you take a whole different look at it.
I sure do. I've been in show business for 30 years, but the sole reason I went on stage back in '71 was to feel less alienated and to feel authentic somehow. The laughter did that.
What was the first time you remember making people laugh and thinking, "This is a way to get rid of some of my pain"?
I absolutely used humor for every defense mechanism you could think of. What finally happened was my dad died before I became a comedian. And I was writing these jokes, and the ones that were most personal, these comedians were rejecting. And the ...1
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