In the Black
Crass comedian Lewis Black on Trump, a Netflix special in limbo and his upcoming stop in Sacramento
Lewis Black, comedian-at-large, is jazzed about life. Heckfire, he’s positively brimming with positivity.
“It just gets better and better. You can’t imagine how good it can be,” Black told SN&R. “You wake up the next day, it’s even better than the day before. Really looking forward to this, they’ve figured out how to make—everything, it’s just so swell.”
Black has been an award-winning staple of American comedy for more than two decades, including his regular appearances on The Daily Show and his stand-up routines that are the subject of his The Joke’s On Us tour, one he’s rip-roaringly “rah-rah” about.
He’s not pleased about how sport seasons overlap, though. “It’s taken what my distraction was,” Black said, “and now I’m distracted from my distraction because my distraction is distracted!”
After chatting about sports, sporting events and the Sacramento Kings’ and the Washington Wizards’ shared struggles in the NBA, Black revealed his recent struggles to get stand-up specials aired.
“I’ve been working toward a special that should have been on last year, but we’ve been having difficulties that I can’t explain or understand,” he said. “Netflix has been kind of weird with me. Y’know, it’s kind of a stupid thing to talk about.”
Chopping sounds emanated from the phone speaker that sounded distinctly like a tomato—or possibly a casaba melon—being julienned, as Black continued to dish: “I don’t get it. But it doesn’t matter, I mean, the special is there.”
Chop. Chop. Chop.
“Most of what you guys will see,” the comedian continued, “you’ll probably see a chunk of what I’ve been working on for the last year and a half.”
As the noises halted, Black quickly noted that his show at the Crest Theatre on Friday will be different than his last stop in Sacramento, in 2013.
“The only thing that I’m ever concerned about—at all—when I return to a town is that the show I’m doing is completely different than the show before,” Black said. “That, I guarantee.”
He also guarantees that his stand-up isn’t based on President Donald Trump, because he doesn’t believe presidents are very interesting. He had 45 minutes on Vice President Dan Quayle, sure, and brief bits about various presidents—but he’s gotten more blowback from supporters of the current president than any other.
“I’ve always had trouble with authority, have from the very beginning,” he said, “This is the first time when I finish, people either say I didn’t talk enough about him or I talked too much about him. I mean, come on. What is the matter with you?”
So he doesn’t talk about it that much. He tries to find ways to make fun of everyone and shed some light on current issues—and he also lends his voice to the audience.
“The audience is asked before the opening act goes onstage, they have about 5 to 10 minutes to type in questions or comments about the city they live in,” Black said. “Anybody who wants to write in to me from Sacramento or the surrounding areas or any part of Sacramento, if it’s well-written, I will read it. If it’s funny, I’ll read it. … I have a show that’s produced in part by the town I’m going to.”
If that appeals to you, you can show up—and just maybe, someone will ask what that chopping sound was.