Richard Lewis by email is funny. Maybe not as funny as he was on the phone during our interview, but he still had me going during our post-interview back-and-forths on-screen. Listening carefully to the rhythm of his delivery, I couldn't help but notice that he has this delightful way of improvising about his past that really gets you going. When he delivers lines, they come across almost with a shrug, as if he can't help it. Then comes the sonic boom of his humor. It's sort of akin to a huge salmon being hauled up from a box and dropped onto a counter top. You hear the initial wham of the joke and then the echoing bam of the humor. The reverberations are what knock you out. He's that good.
For my "House Call" column in today's Mansion section, I interview Richard on what life was like growing up in Englewood, N.J., in the 1950s and early '60s. It turns out that life across the Hudson River from Manhattan wasn't all bagels and lox, but it wasn't hard knocks either. Richard has a new two-DVD set out called Bundle of Nerves, here. You can read my WSJ column for free here. [Above, photo of Richard Lewis at the Sunset Tower Hotel in West Hollywood, Calif., by Ethan Pines for The Wall Street Journal]
In today's Arena section, I preview a new documentary, Take Me to the River, in which young rappers and elder soul artists come together to record an album in Memphis studios. Go here and scroll down.
In today's Wall Street Journal/Europe, I interview Alt-J drummer Thom Green for my "Track Record" column in the Off Duty section. Thom talks about the five albums that most influenced him. All were obscure and new to me. Fascinating stuff. Alt-J's new album is due Sept. 22 here. To read my chat with Thom, go here.
And finally, in WSJ/Weekend tomorrow, I interview hard-boiled novelist James Ellroy, the Los Angeles-based author of The Black Dahlia and L.A. Confidential. His latest book is Perfidia. Guess what his favorite song is? Find out here.