Noted dark comic Lewis Black will be touring the West Coast at the start of 2019 on his “The Joke’s on Us” Tour.
Jan. 18 | 8 p.m.
Grand Sierra Resort | Reno, Nev.
“Hopefully, I can beat part of the horrors of winter,” he says. “You never know anymore. We’re going to be in Florida in January and it’s the coldest it’s ever been in Florida.
“The only role of a comedian is to make people laugh. The rest is just gravy. I want people to take a step back from the madness they are living in.” –Lewis Black
“I’ve got to keep my parents living in the style they are accustomed to,” says the 70-year old comic on life on the road. “I still enjoy it and I still learn from it. There seems to be a wrap up coming shortly, but somehow I keep stumbling into stuff I want to talk about. Unfortunately, as you grow older, you need more than a knock-knock joke.”
Black, who is known for his social satire and belligerent comic style, has recently made a habit of soliciting interactive rants from his audiences around the country.
“Hopefully the people in Reno will send in little things,” he says. “They can ask me anything or say anything they want. If you live in Reno and you submit one, there is a 70 to 80 percent chance I will read your rant and comment on it.”
Since his first national special on Comedy Central in 1998, Black has feverishly commented on the absurdities of modern life, his trademark finger-shaking underscoring the patent ridiculousness that only he seems to be able to see.
“The only role of a comedian is to make people laugh,” he says. “The rest is just gravy. I want people to take a step back from the madness they are living in.”
In these fractious, political times, Black says comedians are typically still able to comment on things objectively without facing the judgment reserved for so many politicians and celebrities.
“That’s the rope we are given,” says Black. “The idea is we go there. Sometimes people are thinking, ‘I don’t know if I should’ve laughed at that.’ If you can trust the comic isn’t a racist homophobe, if you realize the comic isn’t jerking you off, you can laugh. You may think, ‘I’m a bad person,’ but it’s OK.’ ”
Black steers away from the red meat of President Trump jokes and the like because, for most folks, it’s just too obvious.
“On television, they read his tweets,” says Black. “They do it on news shows. They shouldn’t be reading his tweets and interpreting his tweets. It’s not a tweet about policy. Half of them are just talking to his base. If you want to talk about policy, go to the policy. Don’t go to the tweet. Those tweets are the property of the comedian. It’s not news, it’s pathology. Obama was about hope. Well, hope doesn’t help me.”
In his new act, Black touches on a slew of topics ranging from health care, drugs, the environment and the economy to his 100-year-old parents living in Florida.
“Our economy is so good our health care is the most expensive on Earth,” he says. “So I guess it’s good if you’re an insurance company. If it was so great, we’d all be able to take care of parents and not be anxiety ridden. Health care isn’t politically related; it’s about health. No one else on planet Earth has made it political to try to stay healthy.”
As far as advice for younger comics looking to make a dent in the industry, Black says never give up, no matter how bad it gets.
“Just do it whenever you can do it,” he says. “Do it over and over again. If you have to go 100 miles to work, money is not as important as stage time initially. You need that time. If you have a group of friends and you all kind of like doing comedy and you all enjoy it, then find a space in the place you’re living and do a show with that group. Talk about what worked and what didn’t work. Have a good time with it. Enjoy it, but don’t make it precious. If you can find you’re getting up at least once a week, that’s a start. You do it and find the people that are likeminded. You don’t ever say, ‘I’m not going to do it.’ You gotta just do it. It’s horrible.
“But don’t worry about it,” he adds. “If you don’t wanna do it, you’ll quit. It’s a stupid thing to be cut out for anyway.” | grandsierraresort.com