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Lewis Black’s stage show doesn’t live up to his comic ability

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Lewis Black took the stage at the Mirage on June 22.
Photo: Brad Barket/Picturegroup

Two stars

Lewis Black June 22, Mirage.

Here’s something else for perennially angry Daily Show correspondent Lewis Black to be upset about: He’s better on TV than he is live.

I’m a fan of Black, and after seeing him live Saturday night at the Mirage, I’m still a fan, just slightly less so. Like Jon Stewart, Black shines when he’s discussing the topics of the day or the topics of the week. But when he goes after the topics of the decade (Social Security, political gridlock) his jokes sound more and more like those of every other political comedian. Yes, he’s still distinguished by his you-can’t-fake-how-frustrated-I-am-right-now delivery but no longer by his observations. I would have loved to hear Black’s thoughts on whistleblower Edward Snowden or the makeup of the Zimmerman jury. Obviously the jokes wouldn’t have been as polished, but I would have happily taken the trade-off.

Enough musing. Let’s get into the show: The Terry Fator Theatre played Black to the stage with his Daily Show intro music and big applause, which Black shot down with the line, “You sound like you’re going to see a big, f*cking, exciting show.”

He began with a revelation: “For a while, I thought the great disappointment of my life was that I don’t have a family of my own. Then it dawned on me: That’s not what I think; that’s what married people think.”

Turns out the greatest disappointment of Black’s life is “this century”: “The thing that makes my generation The Greatest is our ability to hang out. We’re spectacular at it. If you take somebody from my generation and sit them on a couch and bring them food and plumbing, they’ll sit there and talk to you about anything you want until the day you die.”

My favorite joke of the night was an Earth Day history lesson: “I started pushing for alternative energy at college, during Earth Day. That was created when I was at school and we were doing more drugs than they’re doing out in the desert right now. ‘Oh that’s a lamp? I’d like to see it become a lizard.’ We came up with Earth Day to give us one day to be reminded what planet we were on.”

Funny, but not as funny as I’d hoped. So, moving forward, I’ll happily watch Black’s next Daily Show spot, but I don’t think I need to see him live again.

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