Ken Tucker
July 06, 1990 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Richard Lewis: I'm Doomed

type
TV Show
Current Status
In Season
mpaa
Unrated
performer
Richard Lewis
genre
Comedy

We gave it a B+

You’d think that Richard Lewis’ neurotic-guy shtick would have become repetitive after all the years he has spent moaning in comedy clubs, on David Letterman’s couch, and on his sitcom, Anything But Love. But I’m Doomed proves that Lewis is, happily, an endlessly troubled man.

In I’m Doomed, Lewis tells a Chicago audience, ”I have a lot on my mind, and very little confidence to say it with.” But of course, the comedian then proceeds, with the absolute confidence of an old pro, to ponder his neuroses, from his obsession with wearing only black clothes (”I buy them from Satan ‘n’ Things”) to a fear of visiting his parents (”They live in The House That Guilt Built”).

Throughout, Lewis remains hunched over, as if the weight of his mental pain were too much to bear. He yanks at his thick rock-star’s hair and jabbers a mile a minute.

While he’s certainly capable of turning out a classically constructed one-liner — ”I tried phone sex, but I got an ear infection” — Lewis isn’t a conventional stand-up comic. He gets most of his laughs simply from his delivery, an artfully created, swiftly moving stream of consciousness.

As is standard practice in these HBO specials, Lewis also provides a few brief filmed segments that periodically interrupt his concert performance. These segments, featuring Angie Dickinson, Robert Goulet, Dudley Moore, and others as members of Lewis’ group-therapy session, are tedious, but the opening section of the show, a filmed sketch featuring Lewis with Mickey Mantle and actor Danny Aiello, is hysterically funny.

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