“Being a lawyer was a ton of pressure, but if some joke doesn’t work, nobody goes to prison!”
Those are the words spoken by popular comedian Erik Lewin, a former Los Angeles resident who practiced law here before moving to Las Vegas and taking up a successful career in comedy.
We spoke exclusively to Erik about his time in LA, switching up his career and why he’ll always be grateful to the experiences our city gave him.
Erik, let’s just jump right into it. How was it switching careers from being a lawyer to a full-time comedian?
It was a huge relief – being a lawyer was a ton of pressure – stand-up can be too, but if some joke doesn’t work, nobody goes to prison. It took a lot of years to sort of fully transition, and judges and juries were kind of my own open mic. Actually, a lot of gang members are really funny – they could get into stand-up too.
What’s the best lawyer joke you’ve got?
I do a bunch of jokes about my time in law, none of which I want in print! The best lawyer joke is the fact that I did it for a quarter of my life. I did not like law school and sort of got into it kicking and screaming in the first place.
How did working and living in Los Angeles help influence your life today?
I came from NYC and after 10 years in the LA sunshine, I sport an impressive farmer’s tan down my entire body. LA changed my life. No more unsolicited homeless massages on the subway, no more feeling cooped up, it was a revelation to take work calls on a towel at the beach, to zip around town with the windows down kind of thing.
Where in LA did you like to hangout and go when you were living here?
I lived all over the place over the years – Venice, Santa Monica, Los Feliz, West Hollywood. I’d often be the only person on the beach, which in retrospect may have looked a little creepy, but I loved to walk along the waves. I also hung out a lot at The Comedy Store, of course, hiked with friends at Griffith Park, drank at Abbot Kinney bars… a lot of the LA hits.
Which comedians do you draw inspiration from?
Erik Myers was a monster comic and dear friend who passed away; Greg Romero Wilson, my mentor and buddy in LA, Willie Barcena, Kathleen Dunbar, Butch Bradley, many others. I try to learn from everyone. Famous ones are Pryor, Carlin, Hicks, Bruce.
How often are you back in LA?
Before the pandemic, I was in LA all the time. I knew all the best bathroom stops on the 15 (I didn’t take a wide stance, to be clear). It’s been a minute, but I’ll be back soon to do some spots, hopefully. LA will always be home to me, like New York. There’s so many wonderful comics I look forward to seeing and hanging out with again.
What is your ultimate goal? And what is your advice to other comedians living in Los Angeles and across the United States?
My ultimate goal? Don’t think I have an ultimate goal; just to keep enjoying making stuff. Also, I’m usually taking advice, not giving it, but I think what helps me is writing every day, even if it’s trash. That slowly helps me be more and more myself, instead of someone else whose funny. That might’ve come out wrong.
To follow Erik’s adventures and future stand-up dates, visit: www.eriklewincomedy.com
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