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Why Professor Crawley From The Big Bang Theory Looks So Familiar

In Season 3, Episode 2 of "The Big Bang Theory," "The Jiminy Conjecture," Howard (Simon Helberg) and Sheldon (Jim Parsons) make a bet over which one can name the exact species of cricket that is plaguing Leonard (Johnny Galecki) and Sheldon's apartment with its incessant chirping. Even after they manage to track down the cricket, they find themselves unable to agree on which type of cricket it is, so they bring it down to the Entomology Department to have it judged by an expert, entomologist Professor Crawley, who gives Howard the win on the bet. However, this isn't before they get an earful from Crawley about the Physics Department taking over his office and forcing him to move in with his daughter in Oxnard, and not the good part of Oxnard at that.

Crawley was a familiar face to a lot of fans, being played by veteran comedian Lewis Black. His appearance ended up being a one-off, but Black tweeted about his time on the show after it ended, writing, "I had a great time doing @bigbangtheory with that exceptional cast. I kept hoping they'd bring Creepy Crawly [sic] back. So it goes." But there are a few other projects in which to see one of the hardest-working comedians in the industry.

He's the longest-running contributor in Daily Show history

In 1996, Lewis Black was cast on "The Daily Show" as one of its first contributors with his segment "Back in Black," in which he rants about issues of the day (via ScreenCrush). "Back in Black" remains an active segment, making Lewis the only contributor to have stayed on the show through the tenures of all three of its hosts: Craig Kilborn, Jon Stewart, and Trevor Noah.

In an interview with Roy Wood Jr. for the podcast "Beyond the Scenes from The Daily Show with Trevor Noah," Black revealed that he didn't write the segments before performing them in the early days of the show. He would typically improvise the segment in the studio, get notes from the producers about what to change, and then do another take. Outside of his role on "The Daily Show," Black mostly focuses on his comedy shows, but he's played a couple of characters in films that are pretty memorable as well.

Lewis Black played Dean Ben Lewis in Accepted

In the underrated comedy "Accepted," Justin Long plays Bartleby Gaines, a high schooler who, after being rejected from all the colleges he applied to, chooses instead to create a fictional college, the South Harmon Institute of Technology, so he and other students who didn't get into colleges either can fool their parents. When his father insists on meeting the dean, Bartleby hires a former philosophy professor named Ben Lewis — played by Lewis Black — to impersonate one.

In an interview with Radio Free Entertainment, Black explained that a lot of his work in the movie was improvised. "There's [a] fine line between what they wrote [and] what I was doing on the set," he said. "We were rewriting. I wouldn't even call it rewriting, because I was doing it. [Producer Tom Shadyac] was there and [director Steve Pink] was there, and I would do something and then they would take some of that, put it back together with something else I did and something from the script. And then, after we'd do a scene and there was a break, I would rewrite what I thought they wanted for the speech and hand it to them, and then they'd rewrite it."

It would seem that Black was given a lot of leeway to improvise his lines, probably because of his storied career in stand-up comedy. It worked, though, since his performance was very funny.

Black was Eddie Langston in Man of the Year

The 2006 film "Man of the Year" stars Robin Williams as Tom Dobbs, the host of a political comedy show not entirely unlike "The Daily Show" who runs for president and — due to a glitch with the voting machines — wins. Lewis Black appears in the movie as Eddie Langston, the producer of Dobbs' show.

In an interview with Showbiz Junkies on the red carpet for "Man of the Year," Black said that he found the movie's political humor especially topical in the age of George W. Bush. "It's the right place, right time," Black told the reporter. "When he told me the idea and when the movie would come out, I said it's dead on, even more so than if it was an election year." In the same interview, Black admitted that 25-30% of the film was improvised on set rather than scripted.