Comedian Richard Lewis announced that he has retired from stand-up amid getting diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease and several other health issues.
The Robin Hood: Men in Tights star, 75, took to Twitter to share a video with fans on Sunday, April 23. “Hey, listen, I just wrapped a couple of weeks ago season 12 of Curb Your Enthusiasm, and it was just an amazing season, and I’m so grateful to be a part of that show,” Lewis said. “But you know, the last three and a half years, I’ve had sort of a rocky time and people said, ‘I haven’t heard from you, are you still touring?'”
— Richard Lewis (@TheRichardLewis) April 24, 2023
His Tracks of My Fears tour was going into its 48th year in 2018. While most performers went on hiatus amid the coronavirus pandemic starting in 2020, many have since returned to the stage. However, Lewis revealed that he doesn’t intend to go back to stand-up.
“Well, here’s really what happened,” Lewis continued. “Three and half years ago I was in the middle of a tour, and I finally ended it with a show. I said, ‘You know, I’m at the top of my game, after 50 years almost I’m going to call it quits,’ and I felt great about that. And then, out of the blue, the s–t hit the fan. I had four surgeries back-to-back-to-back-to-back. It was incredible, I couldn’t believe it. It was bad luck, but that’s life. I had a back surgery, then I had a shoulder surgery, then I had a shoulder replacement surgery. … then I had a hip replacement. So there was months when I was just focusing on PT [physical therapy], like I am now.”
The surgeries are only part of why he has stopped touring. “On top of all of that, two years ago, I started walking a little stiffly. I was shuffling my feet. I went to a neurologist, and they gave me a brain scan, and I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. That was about two years ago,” he explained. “But luckily, I got it late in life, and they say you progress very slowly if at all. And I’m on the right meds so I’m cool.”
Lewis came up in the 1970s as a New York City stand-up comic. He was a late-night regular in the 1980s and ’90s. The New York native, who has been open about recovering from drug and alcohol addiction, later appeared in several films including Drunks and Leaving Las Vegas. He made memorable TV appearances on Hiller and Diller, 7th Heaven and Curb Your Enthusiasm, the latter of which he still works on.
“I guess I just wanted to let you know that’s where it’s been at,” Lewis concluded. “I’m finished with stand-up. I’m just focusing on writing and acting. I have Parkinson’s disease, but I’m under a doctor’s care and everything is cool. I love my wife, I love my little puppy dog and I love all my friends and my fans. And now you know where it’s been at the last three and a half years. God bless you.”
Lewis has been married to Joyce Lapinsky since 2005.