If you watch The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, you’ve surely seen Lewis Black’s weekly segment “Back in Black.” His sardonic crankiness and eruptive personality make him slightly comparable to the deceased comic Sam Kinison, although Black’s built a cantankerous reputation all his own. You can often catch him on Comedy Central Presents, and you’ll be able to catch him in Reno along with Dave Attell from Insomniac and Mitch Hedberg on Nov. 14 at the Reno Hilton Theater. For tickets call (800) 648-3568.
Are you any relation to Jack Black?
No, I wish I was. I know Jack. He’s been living with a good friend of mine for a long time, so that’s our only relation, and we like each other’s work. He’s really funny.
You’re so angry in your routines, do you ever erupt in disgust in public places?
Only if I’m in Los Angeles. That’s where they drive me crazy. Otherwise, I’m pretty calm. If I was like that person on stage all the time, I’d be dead.
Why Los Angeles?
It’s the most irritating place anybody could be. It’s the only place where you can drive for four hours and you’re still in the same place. In other towns, you’d be in another city.
How much pressure is it to write new material virtually every day?
It’s my gig, so it’s as much of a struggle as going to work. It’s not a bad way of going to work, making fun of everything.
With all the scathing political and social commentary you do, you must pay a lot of attention to the news.
You’ve got to pay a certain amount of attention, but some of it is so in front of your face you can’t avoid it. I mean, they keep making it easier.
Do you tailor your routines to each city you visit? In other words, will there be Reno jokes?
I’ve been to a lot of the cities before. So I know stuff about the cities, and if I don’t, I’ll come up with material once I see the place. I used to be in Reno a lot, but I haven’t been in about 10 years, not since you set up that giant bowling center. So, it’ll be kind of tough until I see it. I do have one joke that applies to any gambling place, and that is, that to really save your money when you come to town, the first thing you do is get a roll of quarters, flush them one by one down the toilet and occasionally the toilet will flush back up and you’ll feel like a winner.
What’s it like working with Jon Stewart?
It’s fun. He’s disgustingly nice, and it’s a great place to work.
Anything you know about him that we don’t?
Not really, right?
No, he’s married. I just say that to torment him.
Who are your favorite comics? Contemporary and classic?
Kathleen Madigan. I like Dave Attell and Mitch Hedberg, who I’m working with, but that goes without saying. George Carlin and Lenny Bruce. And I also like Dom Irrera and Jim Gaffigan.
Any plans on what you’re going to do in Reno?
Probably gamble. That’s the sad thing.
Why’s that sad?
It’s not sad. I actually enjoy it. I’d like to wander around and see what they’ve done. The place has kind of boomed a little. Maybe I’ll plant some trees.