Lewis Black has been called “caustic,” “cranky” and “bile-spewing”—and that’s by his own publicist. He’s also one of the funniest guys out there right now. Each week Black angrily denounces social, political and corporate nonsense on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. No mere “angry white man,” Black ridicules the right and savages the special interests in a way only an unreconstructed liberal could love.
He’s also a fine veteran of the legitimate stage, having written more than 40 plays, some of which have been produced with such actors as Teri Garr and that one guy from Perfect Strangers who wasn’t Balki. His latest film, Unaccompanied Minors, opens sometime around Christmas.
These days he’s on a nationwide tour, which stops on Maui on Nov. 25. I spoke to Black two days after the Midterm Elections put the Democrats back into power in the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate. He was in the middle of a day packed with media interviews, and I was at home suffering from a horrible cold. In other words, we were pretty much in the same emotional state:
MAUI TIME WEEKLY: So how do you feel about the elections?
LEWIS BLACK: I think until the Democrats do something again on any level, until they show any level of interest in governing the country, the jury’s still out. We’ve had six years of them not paying attention.
Do you think the Democrats won or the Republicans lost?
I think it was mostly that the Republicans lost. The Democrats haven’t participated in government since the Iraq war began. The opposition party is supposed to ask questions—that’s your job. It’s been painful to watch ever since. It’s not brain surgery—it’s called compromise.
Who were you most happy to see lose?
[Senator Rick] Santorum. Without a doubt. I haven’t seen someone that brain dead in a while. He has said some of the most obnoxious things about gay people. If you’re a private person and you believe them, okay. But as a senator, he shouldn’t say them. Oh, and he home-schools his kids. I can’t wait to see what that does.
During the campaign, who was funnier: Senator George Allen, who came off as a racist frat boy or Senator John Kerry, who tried to joke about President Bush but seemed to insult our troops?
Allen. There’s more stuff. What’s really funny is that they were actually talking about him as a presidential candidate. We get more careless by the day. Good to see we don’t have to deal with him anymore. It’s funny how we never listened to him unless he said something really stupid.
What’s your biggest concern these days?
Probably our ineptitude. We seem to become more inept every day. We don’t seem to be able to do anything anymore. It’s amazing.
I saw the most unbelievable idiocy during the campaign reach an unimaginable level in my lifetime. I’m really surprised [the Republicans] didn’t refer to Democrats as the Osama Party.
So what’s your show out here going to be like?
It’ll be a lot funnier than this! I’ll just take what’s been going on this past year and scream about it for 75 minutes.
Sounds great. Anything else?
Yeah, just one more thing: if you’re thinking of coming back to the mainland, don’t. Just stay there. You’re better off. I think you can get most of what you need from Amazon. MTW