From the Archives: Richard Belzer (1994)

in Culture

Richard Belzer is still pissed off, and he’s still funny as hell. The sharp-tongued comedian/actor has been holding a lamp of truth up to the dark foibles of politicians and pop culture icons for a couple of decades now, and though he’s found comfort and refuge in a happy marriage, his world-view shows no signs of mellowing.

Belzer’s comic career began in New York, when he auditioned for the video production of The Groove Tube and won several roles, including one of the leads in a sitcom parody called “The Dealers.” Having grown tired of paying the rent as a school teacher, census taker and journalist, Beizer jumped at the chance to be part of the underground film scene, and his success in the video and the later film version of The Groove Tube gave him the confidence to start doing standup.

Belzer’s combination of wild slapstick, heady rants and political diatribes have made him one of the country’s most vital comic commentators, but it seemed that the Hollywood world of prime-time TV and feature films never quite knew what to make of him. That changed when Beizer scored the role of Det. Munch on NBC’s cop-cranking psycho-drama Homicide. Last season, on an episode titled “And the Rocket’s Dead Glare,” Belzer’s worldweary Munch became the first prime-time character to deliver thoughtful, explicitly pro-hemp arguments as part of a debate over Drug War strategies. At present, Beizer is in Baltimore shooting new episodes of Homicide. He is also preparing a one-man show based on his view of the Kennedy assassination and cover-up.

HIGH TIMES: You seem to have a blast with the character of Munch no matter what he’s up to, but his pro-hemp speeches were quite a breakthrough. How did …

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Author: High Times / High Times

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