Lewis Black is a Terror Alert Scale come to life. A Yale grad best known for his escalatingly prickly stand-up and furiously frustrated "Back in Black" topical commentary on Comedy Central's The Daily Show, Black is also a playwright, actor and soon-to-be author who radiates an intense Code Blue even while spending the rare day at home. But Blackwho plays House of Blues January 16-17is sensible and passionate, and he delivers a remarkable rainbow of opinion, especially when tensions begin to run high.
Code Yellow: Increase in voice audibility and utterance frequency.
California Governor Schwarzenegger: I think it's unbelievable for this county to say that they're going to go teach democracy to someone at the time that the state of California shows off what democracy is by electing Arnold Schwarzenegger. Even the dumbest Iraqi's going, "Isn't he the Terminator?"
Roy and the Tiger: Well, what are you doing on stage with tigers? At some point, wouldn't you expect that something like this would happen? My favorite is, "The tiger was trying to protect him." Please.
Britney's Wedding: That's when you just ... there's nothing you can say. It's the kind of thing that makes you want to projectile vomit.
Code Orange: Pronounced sputtering; thick barrage of curse words to be expected.
Capturing Saddam: I'll be goddamned if he had as much to do with terrorism as they're f--king telling me. This guy was nuttier than a f--king fruitcake. The amount of energy he had to spend keeping these f--kers in line and put into however many f--king palaces is not putting the money into terrorism. And now it's like, "What are you going to do with him? Are you going to kill him?" Great, so we've got another martyr on our hands. There are so many of these c--ksuckers around the world. I don't like guys torturing their people, but we've got a lot of shit to worry about that has nothing to do with these guys at this point.
Democratic presidential nominees: None of them have learned how to market themselves well. It can't be easier for me to explain shit to an audience than it is for them. It's unbef--kinglievable. At times, I think our show explains things better than they know how to explain it, and that's disgusting.
Celine at the Colisseum: I'd rather just stick an awl in my ear.
Code Red: Induced by AC/DC riffs and audience dissension during his live show. Desks are pounded like political pulpits and microphones are smited with verbal carnage. Squinting and shaking indicate an attack is probable, though instead of terrorism, it might be of the cardiovascular variety. Here's what you can expect:
Greed: Dennis Kozlowski runs Tyco. He takes $463 million, 'cause he had a lot of shit to buy. He took $16,000 of his money and used it to buy an umbrella stand. I will repeat that. He bought a $16,000 umbrella stand. The mind reels. When you spend $16,000 on an umbrella stand, it's got to be made out of something very special in order to compel you to think, "God, I can't live without that." I think it was probably made out of Martha Stewart's vagina. What, are some of you shocked? You're shocked because you didn't know she had one!
Homeland security: The first day that we went to Code Orange, Tom Ridge appeared on television and went, "Holy shit, we're f--ked! We're f--ked! I don't know what's going on here! There could be giant ticks everywhere; we don't know! We don't know! All I can tell you with certainty is, if there's a chemical attack, buy duct tape. Buy duct tape." Our government told us that we could protect ourselves from a chemical attack with duct tape. I think it showed a lot of patience on our part to sit through that, because I thought what we should have done at that point is charge the government and electro-shock everybody!
Code Puppies and Rainbows: Characterized by a remarkable profound appreciation for Sin City.
Performing: I used to play Vegas three times a year, and it's been hard to find a space to play in. I hope it's the first of many more performances out there because I love that town.
Favorite show: [Cirque du Soleil's] O at Bellagio. I have to say it was unbef--kinglievable. It really was.
Gambling and gluttoning: I like to play craps. I enjoy the group sense of trying to make the dice do things you think they'll do. This time, I've got a bunch of friends who will go out with me, and we're one of the few groups of people who play video poker as a team sport. Five or six guys screaming at a machine to do what the f--k we want it to do. Those are the two that I do. And I'm a buffet guy. Nothing beats going to Bellagio just before the lunch is over and getting that and the dinner. It's four hours of fun. And you're always a winner.