Lewis Black: Making ranting fun again

Lewis Black: Making ranting fun again

When we first connected, Lewis Black was ranting about his phones. “I couldn’t get to you, because two other people called me just before you did. Telemarketers. Thank you very much to whoever’s in charge of blocking those.”

The gratitude was sarcastic. Very sarcastic.

I asked him how things were going. You know, to break the ice.

“They’re as good as they can be,” he started to say. Then he stopped and said, “It’s appalling. It’s beyond belief. This is not the way we should be conducting ourselves.”

For those who don’t know Black, he’s a comedian. Specifically, a political comedian. One who’s given to ranting about things. If he doesn’t like something, you’ll know.

For instance, the U.S.Congress. “A cesspool of immaturity” is his term for the elected body. Black is not a happy camper, and it’s mostly due to the current state of our world. But is he truly upset? “Sure, I get upset for a little while at home, but then I head for a theater and say, ‘OK, let’s have some fun,'” he says.

Black will be performing at the Providence Performing Arts Center tonight, Nov. 8, the latest stop on his Joke’s on US Tour.

“I found ways to talk about this nonsense,” he says. 'I don’t dwell on it.”

The current administration is a favorite target, but he never mentions the president by name.

“If you love him, if you don’t like him, you’ve heard his name enough,” says Black. “I’ve made jokes about him for 40 years. Enough. I know if I say the name, his ears perk up.”

Black agrees that his act is a blend of bitter and funny.

“I try to offer a solution to deal with the madness,” he said.

He talks about health care.

“I have a whole section about drugs people are taking, people are self-medicating. They’re responding to drug ads. That’s why we’re paying so much for health care, we’re paying for those ads.”

He talks about spending 10 days in a hospital in Ireland.

“You hear all this talk about ‘if the people ran health care, it would be horrible.’ My experience in Ireland was tremendous.” Ireland has socialized medicine. “I went to the ER, I went from diagnosis to treatment in 45 minutes. And the Irish have medical equipment eerily similar to ours.”

He finds the anti-socialized medicine rhetoric to be “nonsense. It’s all made up.” He believes politicians spend too much time calculating how to get re-elected instead of doing the right thing for their constituents.

Of course, Black will talk about things he just finds funny, “like my favorite newspaper headline of the past 18 months: ‘Couple Injured During Church Gun Safety Talk,'” he says.

At the end of the show, Black does a segment called “The Rant is Due,” which is broadcast live on his website, www.lewisblack.com . “It’s the show after the show, broadcast live all over the world. We have viewers in places like Pakistan, Kenya, they just stumble on it. The show is written by the town I’m in.”

People are invited to enter a rant on Black’s website prior to the show.

“If it’s good enough, I’ll read it,” he says.

Black will be going strong through early December, and will be back on the road January through May. And he will continue his appearances on “The Daily Show.”

“I do that five to six times a year,” he said. “I’m still working on that. Maybe it will catch on.”

See Lewis Black’s The Joke’s on US Tour at the Providence Performing Arts Center on Nov. 8 at 7:30 p.m. Call 401-421-ARTS or visit www.ppacri.org for tickets. The tour will be at Boston’s Boch Center Shubert Theatre on Friday and Saturday, Nov. 9-10; and at the Shubert Theatre in Connecticut on Sunday, Nov. 11. Visit www.lewisblack.com/shows .