Lewis Black doesn’t need weed, speed, coke or E; he says the morning newspaper is trippy enough.
The 60-year-old comedian openly admits he’s done his fair share of drugs, but says these days, reality is so surreal he doesn’t need anything else.
And with the nation’s economy in the toilet, housing market in shambles, looming energy crisis and debatable political process, Black has a lot to trip out on – and talk about.
Audiences got an earful of Black’s signature, angry take on the state of the union this weekend as he took to Terry Fator’s stage at the Mirage.
While some wondered what the critical comic would talk about after his biggest target, former President George W. Bush, left office, Black seems to have no shortage of material.
He credits the abundance of idiots in the country for his abundant jokes.
“When it comes to idiots, it’s like Whack-A-Mole. You get rid of one and three more pop up.
“You open the paper and Cheney’s still got the nerve to say, … ‘The torture really brought out a lot of great information. Why don’t they show us those memos?’” he observed, calmly.
Then he snapped and yelled, “Why don’t you, jackass?! If you know where the memos are, show us the memo! Show us what it is!”
Black says he asks himself, “On the stupid meter, what’s the stupidest?” when he needs to decide what to rant about onstage.
“Whatever makes me the angriest usually is the thing that I go for,” he said.
And national politics make Lewis Black very angry.
“I don’t understand how anybody’s still a Democrat or a Republican,” he said. “I don’t know what they’re basing it on. … If you’re a Republican, on what planet can you be? … And if you’re a Democrat, the fact that Nancy Pelosi and Reid … are the faces of Congress, how dumb do the Democrats have to be?”
“It’s appalling,” he said, sounding almost defeated.
Despite his distaste for politics and strong desire to change the way things are done in this country, Black has no intentions of running for office.
“No, no, no,” he said when asked about the chances of him pulling an Al Franken.
“I have all the stuff that’s necessary except I come from a background where I did drugs, and I don’t want to discuss it, (and) I don’t want to go through a campaign,” he said.
Still, politics have been a way of life for the Grammy Award-winning comedian.
“I worked on this stuff when I was a kid. I lived around Washington D.C., I tried to work in the government … (and now) I have no desire,” Black said. “I’d rather be in a movie than be in office.”
But that doesn’t mean he’s not going to lay into politicians during his stand-up routine, or during regular segments on Comedy Central’s oft-political satirical news program, The Daily Show.
“These people who are telling us they’re going to get us out (of the economic crisis) are the same people who got us in,” he says. “It makes me wonder if they left any breadcrumbs in the woods to find their way home.”
Alternative energy is another area of contention for Black. He says he’s been advocating for it for decades.
“That’s how I know I’ve gotten old,” he said. “I’m sick of it. I don’t want a discussion. I don’t want your argument against it. I’m talking to you on a phone without wires! That’s a miracle!”
Once again, both the intensity and volume of his voice increased as he opined.
“I can text you!” he observed. “That was more important than alternative energy?! Really!?”
Satisfied that his point had been effectively communicated, Black began to soften, “You got to be just stupid to not be focused on alternative energy.”
Black’s news-driven take on reality is a lot like a drug-addled trip: a series of highs and lows. He was calm for the moment, but soon he’ll pick up another newspaper and the fuming will begin once again.
Lewis Black will return to the Mirage for two performances later this year, on November 20 and 21. Tickets for both dates are priced from $69 (plus taxes and service charges) and available at the Mirage box office and online.