Lewis Black says he has been locked indoors for the better part of December, as he works on a new book—and he needs to leave the house before he gets too irritable.
If you're familiar with Black's work, that statement might seem odd. His work—standup, television appearances, books, etc.—is basically one giant, irritated rant.
Black made a name for himself on Comedy Central's The Daily Show in a segment called "Back in Black," during which he reviews general stupidity in society. In the process, it looks like he just might explode or keel over, and yet as a viewer, you're glad someone else is that up in arms over, say, health care or Kanye West.
On Jan. 3, Black will be in town at the Tucson Convention Center Music Hall—and he has plenty to rant about on his latest tour, "Lewis Black, In God We Rust."
"All you gotta do is read what they're doing in health care, and that's a good 20 minutes there," says Black about his material. "And going into Afghanistan when you can't afford it—it's one thing after another."
His tour has gone through some name changes, which Black says comes with the territory of the business. But that doesn't mean he likes the name changes.
"They make me change titles for fucking everything, and it's driven me insane," he says. "People think we're making light of God. Well, no, I just want a funny tour name."
The circus that is politics is a hot topic for Black. He might even help you understand the health-care mess, Lewis Black-style. (Hint: He says we're all going to die anyway.)
His blunt tirades have led to more Comedy Central and HBO specials and a series called Lewis Black's Root of All Evil. On Root of All Evil, which originally aired in 2008, he acted as the judge and jury as two comedians faced off and tried to convince Black which annoying topic was, in fact, the root of all evil. Think red states versus blue states, or sororities versus strip clubs.
Black has written two books, Me of Little Faith and Nothing's Sacred. Both, of course, are rants, the former dealing with religion, the latter with authority. The book he's working on right now—the one that's keeping him cooped up at home—deals with holidays and the chaos that surrounds it.
"This Christmas season—it's ridiculous to deal with," he says." I don't have to. I'm Jewish. That's why we're the chosen people."
After writing about the holiday season and yearning to get out of the house, he'll have plenty to get off his chest at Sunday's show. What else is on his rant list?
"My generation," says Black, 61. "What a bunch of fuck-ups. We came here to change the world, and we've made it worse. It's unbelievable that a group of people that idealistic can do this. I watch people my age debate in the Senate, and I don't know what they've experienced to make them this clinically insane. They must've come from somewhere else. They must be aliens."
Black says every word without pause for breath. What if he really does keel over?
"McCain and Lieberman, also taken over by aliens. McCain could have given Obama a real run, but he picks Palin, and as a public servant, that's criminal. It's negligent of him. And the Tea Party has no idea what century they're living in. They have no agenda, and, yeah, they want things to be better, but nothing was ever like that."
Black says he would never run for office himself. He lasted about two months in the student senate at the University of North Carolina. He does want a viable third political party, though—but he says that will never happen in his lifetime.
"The Democrats don't want to be in charge when they're given power, and the Republicans always want to be in charge, but they don't know how to execute anything," he says. "I don't understand it."
Since politics have been getting Black a little upset as of late, he says he'll mainly focus the show on his generation and the legacy they are going to leave behind. Further explanation, he says, is best saved for Saturday.
Black also has a disclaimer: He only wants people with a real sense of humor to come to his show—and whiners are not allowed.
"Seriously. No whiners," he emphasizes.