An Awful Announcing rendering of Bob Costas and Richard Lewis. An Awful Announcing rendering of Bob Costas and Richard Lewis.

Renowned for his dark, offbeat humor, Richard Lewis, “The Prince of Pain,” possessed an uncanny ability to disrupt composure. He elicited laughs from his childhood friend Larry David on HBO’s Curb Your Enthusiasm set and even cracked the stoic Bob Costas’ facade on NBC. The network’s refusal to air their interview speaks volumes about Lewis’ comedic power to break character, even in seasoned professionals.

Eventually, they caved, and that interview with Bob Costas came back to the forefront in light of Lewis’ passing. The 76-year-old peacefully passed away as the result of a heart attack on Wednesday. The famed comedian also had Parkinson’s disease.

Sportswriters, in a form of tribute, have been sharing unexpected memories of Lewis. Costas remains silent on the matter publicly; the infamous interview where Lewis elicited uncontrollable laughter from the typically earnest broadcaster is a testament to the comedian’s ability to touch so many with his words.

“Can you lose your neck and survive, though, or is that really the same as being decapitated,” asked Costas in a clip from over three decades ago that’s been shared on Twitter/X in recent days. “Can you lose your neck, and then your head just sits on your shoulders?”

“Well, there was two instances of this,” replied Lewis. “I saw it once in a Nova episode. Really, a man lost his neck, but his head literally didn’t topple. It landed on his shoulders. And for some wonderful, miraculous reason — that’s why I believe in God — it glued onto the shoulder casing if that’s the word. Although it didn’t have much range.”

Costas’s laughter filled the room, punctuated by the flailing of his kicking feet. By all accounts, the comedian’s wit had pushed him to the brink of hilarity. And then Lewis quipped, “Costas was giving birth again,” had the broadcaster in stitches.

“It’s the first man to give birth,” Lewis said of Costas, who was now in a compromising position. “I don’t want to be here. Because I’m 40 years old, if I have a wife, I never could see a child come out. I can’t see a child come out.”

Harry Hew, who shared the clip of Costas and Lewis, also had a quote to include from Lewis about how NBC nearly didn’t let the interview air:

“I made Bob Costas laugh so hard, NBC refused to air it, thinking it made him look silly. I went crazy and bugged the network so much they thankfully caved,” Lewis said.

The infamous interview stands as a lasting testament to Lewis’s unique ability to disarm and delight, reminding us that even amidst unexpected absurdity, laughter has the power to unite us. After all, if you can make the typically composed Costas laugh like that, you truly possess a remarkable comedic gift.

And that Lewis did. May he rest in peace.

[Harry Hew on Twitter/X]

About Sam Neumann

Since the beginning of 2023, Sam has been a staff writer for Awful Announcing and The Comeback. A 2021 graduate of Temple University, Sam is a Charlotte native, who currently calls Greenville, South Carolina his home. He also has a love/hate relationship with the New York Mets and Jets.