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Buy Lewis Black's 'The End of the Universe' CD.


Fear Factor: The blood pressure soars when Lewis Black rocks the mic.

Trouble Man

Raving comic Lewis Black talks about idiocy, screaming and the bright side of Trent Lott

By Allie Gottlieb

GOD BLESS Lewis Black! This playwright/actor/comedian is bitter, angry and hostile--all the intelligent emotions that make his weekly political rant on Comedy Central's Daily Show With Jon Stewart so funny and incisive. Black comes to town to plug his new CD, End of the Universe, and to play a string of dates at the Improv San Jose.

AG: Does it hurt your throat to do your act?

LB: I have a vision of having some sort of throat-cancer operation in 20 years.

That's terrible.

Well, what are you going to do? I scream a lot. But so far I have not lost my voice once. I did a show where ... the first minute and a half was this speech where I had to scream. And they gave me this really good voice teacher, and since then I've never screwed up my voice. I'm pretty in control of it.

What do you think is going right in the country today?

I think people are a lot smarter than anybody's giving them credit for.

About what sorts of things?

Pretty much everything. I think they get it. The tide, in a sense, has turned. For all the people who say that there's an agenda that people can get away with--a Christian-right agenda--it can't happen anymore. There are too many people who are not going to take that kind of nonsense. People would say that they're not going to the polls and voting, but I don't understand--how are you going to vote in California and win? I mean, what were you voting for? For governor, what was the vote for? Shittiest and shitty beyond. I mean, it was beyond shitty. A lot of what occurred in terms of this election was like 65 or 70 percent of the people didn't vote. A lot of people say it's because they don't care. A lot of it has to do with--it's like withholding the vote is empowering.

Can you give me your hopes and/or predictions for Trent Lott's future?

My hope is that he remains in power, because that kind of stunning ignorance is always under the surface. In terms of the Republican Party, it would be nice to just keep it free flowing, as opposed to them keeping it hidden.

What are your hopes and/or predictions for the Republican Party and the Democratic Party?

Well my hopes and predictions for both of them is that they'll get back to governing as a 50/50 proposition; therefore, neither can do the damage that both can wreak so well if either thinks they're in charge.

Do you consider yourself a comedian or just angry?

No. I'm a comic.

Do you see a relationship between comedy and anger?

Absolutely. I think comedy is, in a sense, anti-social behavior. I mean, talk about nuts: "I'm going to get up and make you people laugh." Even an actor doesn't say, "I'm going to get up and make you people weep." And in order to provoke a laugh, [it] takes a certain amount of prodding.

Do you teach people about anger?

If I do, it's not conscious. I don't go out to be angry to get people to be angry. I do, though, think that, hopefully, they understand after I'm done that they have a right to be angry about idiocy.

How would you describe your audience?

It's slightly more young people, but it's really an array. I've had people with no teeth come up and say they like me and "You should see the trailer we live in." You go, "Fuck, are you serious?" "You're our favorite guy." It was a father, a grandfather and a son, and the grandfather said, "I can now die happy. I've now met my two favorite people: you and Peter Falk." I think that describes my audience.

Lewis Black appears Jan. 2-5 at the San Jose Improv, 62 S. Second St., San Jose. Tickets are $18-$22 and available by calling 408.280.7475.

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From the December 26, 2002-January 1, 2003 issue of Metro, Silicon Valley's Weekly Newspaper.

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