Stand-Up Man

Lewis Black
Comedian, Actor, Author
Wednesday, June 7, 2006; 11:00 AM

Comedian Lewis Black , who "The Daily Show" calls "America's Foremost Commentator on Everything," was online Wednesday, June 7, at 11 a.m. ET to weigh in on Iraq, Katrina, FEMA, gay marriage, George Bush and to discuss his upcoming HBO special (airs Sat., June 10, 10 ET), "Lewis Black: Red, White and Screwed."

Lewis received the "Best Male Stand-Up" award from the American Comedy Awards in 2001 and was recognized by the Pollstar Awards for his comedy tour, "Rules of Enragement" in 2004. His latest CD, "Lewis Black, The Carnegie Hall Performance" was released in April. His first book, "Nothing's Sacred," debuted on The New York Times Bestseller List last year.

A transcript follows.


Lewis Black: Don't you people have anything better to do?


Silver Spring, Md.: Lewis, aren't you thrilled that the long-awaited Inter-County Connector has finally been approved? And for the bargain price of $3 billion?

Lewis Black: Once again our stellar government shows they're on top of things.


Lewis Black: Can't wait to use it.


Alexandria, Va.: U.S. is a land of immigrants. We have also had periods of anti-immigrant hysteria. Is this another period of hysteria or is something different happening now?

Lewis Black: This is stupidity.


Bethesda, Md.: Do you think the resounding win of the Republican over the Democrat in the special California election to replace Duke Cunningham portends continued Republican control of the House and Senate in November?

Lewis Black: Who knows where we'll be by November?


Lewis Black: It's a crap shoot.


Williamsburg, Va.: Hi, Lewis! I read in your Onion AV interview that you sometimes teach. What do you teach, and where? Thank ya kindly, and keep on rantin' in the "free world."


I teach the experience of stand-up comedy to young actors. Have done it at Williamstown but nowhere at the moment.


Rockville, Md.: I wonder if you knew the book "Nothing Sacred" by Douglas Rushkoff had been written when you wrote "Nothing's Sacred".

He almost does the same thing to the Jewish religion that you do across the board. Was there a conscious effort to link to him, as you both seem to be from the same school? I'm a great fan of yours, and think you speak for a lot of us iconoclasts, and do so with honest humor.

Lewis Black: No relation whatsoever and thanks.


Baltimore, Md.: I'm going to see you in Vegas in July. Before I buy tickets ... is there a splash zone? Should I bring my poncho?

Lewis Black: (LAUGHS) Funny. There's always a splash zone. I just don't know where it will be.


Washington, D.C.: You seem so laconic on TV, what do you do to get pumped up?

Lewis Black: Nothing. It just comes naturally.


Practice, practice, practice: Lew,

I saw that you recently released a CD, "Lewis Black, The Carnegie Hall Performance". I also am thinking of releasing a CD whose title includes "The Carnegie Hall Performance". Do you think that I should actually perform there?


Lewis Black: It's cheaper if you don't.


Oxford, Miss.: So you're basically like a popular Gilbert Gottfried, right?

Lewis Black: No, for God's sake.

I love Gilbert but we're in two different universes.


Des Moines, Iowa: Hey, Lewis, what's the deal with all this gay marriage noise?

Lewis Black: Another example of how the administration doesn't let reality get in its way.


San Francisco, Calif.: What are some of your thoughts about the war in Iraq?

Lewis Black: It makes my head explode.


Washington, D.C.: Hey Lewis I love your act and have several of your CD's. In an interview you gave you said that another stand up told you to do the "Angry Man" bit. How long were you in stand up before you started it?

Lewis Black: Fifteen years.


Arlington, Va.: Thanks for taking my question. I'm guessing that even though your anger is part of your act, there is a lot of genuine anger beyond that. Is that true? Were you like this as a child as well?

Lewis Black: Oh yeah. They call me Mr. Happy.


Pensacola, Fla.: Why aren't more of your CDs on Yahoo Music?

Lewis Black: I haven't a clue. I didn't even know there was a Yahoo Music.


Morehead, Ky.: At the start of the Carnegie Hall show it seems you added material at the beginning of the show to fit the evening.

How difficult is that to do, add material for one show?

Lewis Black: I try to do it as much as possible in order to make the evening more unique. It can be tough but worth it.


Alexandria, Va.: OK, first, I'm a female in my late 20s, and I think you're pretty hot. Second, are you no longer a Daily Show regular?

Lewis Black: I am as regular as I can be with my schedule. And thanks for the kind words.


Manassas, Va.: So, How long before we invade Iran?

Lewis Black: It just depends on if there's something real that we have to avoid dealing with, like gay marriage.


Frederick, Md.: Mr. Black: Do you ever return to Blossom Lane, S.S., Md? You and your friends enjoyed growing up there, even though you were not a very good football player.

Lewis Black: I will hopefully be doing a fundraiser for my alma mater, Springbrook High School, sometime in December.


Arlington, Va.: Love your stand-up and your work on The Daily Show. I was wondering if you've ever had the opportunity (or would want one) to sit down face to face and question some of our country's politicians, much like Jon Stewart gets to do so frequently on his show? Would you have enough patience to deal with these people?

Lewis Black: I have neither the patience, the interest or the attention span. I would rather try to catch at gnat.


Victorville, Calif.: Lewis,

What's your take on the recent string of alligator attacks in Florida, and do you see any correlation between them and the low public opinion of Congress?

Lewis Black: (LAUGHS) That's funny. An alligator isn't stupid, it's just eating the wrong people.


Washington, D.C. : Hi there! First of all, I would like to thank you for providing us with some "intelligent comedy" to watch on television. These days, that sort of thing is a rarity. Secondly, I have to ask: Will you be performing in DC sometime in the near future? Here you have a city full of people who would pay anything to be there for it (which, incidentally, could be a great bargaining tool for you).

Lewis Black: Thanks. Just shot my HBO special at the Warner Theater. No doubt I will be back next year. The special airs this Saturday on HBO at 10 p.m. Thanks.


Gwinn, Mich.: When is Lewis Black going to have his own show (a la Stephen Colbert) on Comedy Central?

Lewis Black: Comedy Central hasn't a clue what to do with me, so who knows. I will probably end up on the Food Network by accident.


Catonsville, Md.: Dear Mr. Black,

How well prepared do you think today's college graduates are for the real world, and what advice would you give them before they enter the job market.

-UMBC senior

Lewis Black: As well prepared as any of us. You never know when the real world's gonna change on ya. My only advice is pick something you want to do and screw the money. No one is gonna pay you to do what you wanna do but it sure makes you a lot happier.


Annapolis, Md.: Mr. Black - LOVE LOVE LOVE you! Your "Black on Broadway" was HYSTERICAL, and should be required viewing for anyone who's, like, a mammal. When are you coming to D.C. (or Philly, or Baltimore -- or anywhere in the vicinity ...)?

Also -- who writes your Daily Show "Back in Black" bits? It doesn't seem like they're entirely yours. They seem less funny and more scripted than your stand up act. Is it just the nature of doing a show segment rather than a straight routine?

Have a great day!

Lewis Black: Yeah, it's scripted by the writers there. It has to be. I'm hardly there.


Arlington, Va.: As someone whose comedy frequently relies on the foibles and missteps of our leaders as a launching point, do you relish the seemingly never-ending wave of material they provide? At some point, do you ever take a step back and -- for lack of a better word -- weep because there's so much to talk about that just seems so irresponsible and backwards?

Lewis Black: I don't weep. I just get really tired.


Silver Spring, Md.: Hey, thanks for taking the time. You are hilarious on "The Daily Show," and we've seen you live at least twice. You are hilarious live, also.

We have a quick, quirky question, and then just one or two about Silver Spring. First, how much does AC/DC get paid every time "Back in Black" is played for your segment?

Regarding Silver Spring: What part of Silver Spring did you grow up in, do you still have friends from that area in that area today, and how often do you make it back to visit there?

Thanks again for taking the time to do this.

Lewis Black: I'm not sure.

White Oak, Md., if it's still called White Oak. Yes, I have a number of friends still there. I make it back a couple of times a year.


Annandale, Va.: Why do we always find that comedians are the only ones telling the truth about the issues in America? Does the media not see this? More important, Should we be a little scared that the only truth in journalism comes from Comedy Central?

Lewis Black: When you have a fake administration, fake news is the only real news. Don't worry. The media will be back.


Morgantown, W.Va.: Who is your favorite comedian?

Lewis Black: Lenny Bruce.


Washington, D.C.: Are you going to try out for Last Comic Standing? You've probably been in the business almost as long as Kathleen Madigan.

Lewis Black: No, I won't be on Last Comic Standing.


Southern Maryland: Is is bad that I'm a conservative Republican and love your act? Should I switch political parties?

Lewis Black: You should drop both parties and no, it's no bad.


West Coast, USA, North of the Fence: Lewis: Thanks for sharing this chat with us. Do you think the FTC proclaimed there was no evidence of gas price gouging after Katrina because they really didn't understand the definition of "gouging" and couldn't find a dictionary?

Lewis Black: Very funny. They don't even know what a dictionary is.


Anonymous: Lewis, What would you tell Ann Coulter if you had the chance to meet her face to face?

Lewis Black: I've met her face to face. I didn't even know where to begin. I wouldn't want to really see her again or talk to her. She might start to think she's real.


Santa Rosa, Calif.: Just curious to know how well your act plays in Red State cities. Do they get it, or do they just throw stuff?

Lewis Black: No, they get it.


Arlington, Va.: Is it bad that I gave up caring about politics and now I just think everything is funny?

For example, I think spending nine billion dollars to build a big wall to keep able bodied workers OUT of the U.S. is hilarious.

Should I see a doctor?

Lewis Black: No. These idiots make it impossible sometimes for a sane person to care.


Maryland: Do you miss anything at all about Maryland? Would you ever want to move back (despite its proximity to the political slime in D.C.)?

Lewis Black: I miss my friends. But I wouldn't move back.


Baltimore, Md.: Who should get the next Mark Twain award from the Kennedy Center? (My vote is for George Carlin).

Lewis Black: I'd certainly second that.


Lewis Black: Or Jonathan Winters if they haven't given it to him already.


Spruce Pine, N.C.: Do you agree with Kinky Friedman's view on gay marriage, i.e., leave them alone, "They have as much right to be miserable as anybody else"?

Lewis Black: It's a good one. I've always said, "If you really want to punish them, let 'em get married."


Louisville, Ky.: You've recently been in quite a few movies that are slated to come out this year -- did you enjoy the experiences? When more movie opportunities arrive, will you be doing more of that versus the stand up?

Lewis Black: Yeah, I liked the experience. I also think it helped me grow as a comic. I'll continue to do whatever seems really interesting and no matter what, I will continue to tour as a comic.


East Lansing, Mich.: What is your take on genetically modified food? Are you an organic advocate?

Lewis Black: Organic is great if the agricultural department can figure it out.


Washington, D.C.: When you have nightmares, does your finger poke all over the place?

Lewis Black: My fingers are always poking.


Montreal, Canada: Lewis,

I'm having trouble getting my head back together after it's exploded in rage. What's your secret?

Lewis Black: It's not yoga. I just let it run its course until I feel a nap coming on.


Bethesda, Md.: Winters got the Twain Prize in 2000.

Lewis Black: Good, I'm glad. One less thing for me to worry about.


New York, N.Y.: There is a lot of sarcasm and irony on today's humor for obvious reasons ... are we reaching some sort of limit? I note the Daily Show must be having a hard time satirizing everyday's ridiculous headlines ... what happens next?

Lewis Black: If I knew that I'd have the next great sitcom.


Truth or Consequences, N. Mexico: A volcano just erupted in Japan. This after Mount Merapi erupted just days ago. Apocalypse?

Lewis Black: We're not that lucky.


Lewis Black: The world doesn't end, it just gets weirder.


Pittsburgh, Pa.: Are you going to do Inside the NFL again for HBO? What's Bob Costas really like?

Lewis Black: Bob is very nice. I'd like to see him a Jon Stewart wrestle. I think they're the same size. I hope to be back.


Alexandria, Va.: What's your favorite book? Why?

Lewis Black: Probably Catch-22. It teaches you how to deal with the inanities of modern life. That's just off the top of my head.


Stratford, Ontario: Lewis,

Now that us Canadians have our own terrorists, do you think we'll be as "free" as you Americans?

Lewis Black: Good luck. At least you can find them.


Toronto, Ontario: Hi Lewis: did you remember to bring the chart?

Lewis Black: What do you mean?


Lewis Black: See Donald Rumsfeld.


La Fem, ME: Lewis: Why are there so few great female comediennes?

Lewis Black: There are fewer great female comics because there are fewer great female comics working. It's percentages. For a woman, becoming a stand-up comic is a hell of a lot tougher than for a man.


Fair Lawn, N.J.: How likely do you think the Democrats are of screwing themselves again in '08?

Lewis Black: Given the opportunity Democrats will always screw themselves.


Lewis Black: It's their strong suit.


Philly, Pa.: Will you be roasting Artie Lang of the Howard Stern Show this week? Are you in Beer League?

Lewis Black: No, no. On vacation.


Saginaw, Mich.: It seems like the relationship between the press and politicians has changed drastically in recent years. What I mean is - journalists who have become "celebrities" (Katie Couric, Brian Williams, Bob Woodward, etc) frequent the same parties, events, vacation spots as the politicians they cover and share a common "class" affiliation. How do you feel this "celebritization" (not a word) of the media has affected the coverage of the news (or lack thereof) and lack of willingness on their part to go out on a limb and actually be critical?

Lewis Black: I think that's just the tip of the iceburg. The press is supposed to be adversarial. They seem to have forgotten.


Brooklyn N.Y.: What is your take on the whole Colbert dinner "scandal" did you think he was funny or not? Is the media out of touch with the people and incapable of looking at itself objectively? If so would you include the post and times in that category?

Follow up do you think modern journalists are lazy or stupid? Or neither?

Lewis Black: See above question. As for Stephen, I thought it was funny. Many at the event didn't get that he was playing a character. I have played those kind of rooms. The stick is wedged firmly up that place where the sun doesn't shine.


Red, White and Screwed!: Lewis -- My wife and I saw you at the Warner doing your HBO special. We saw your first show. You killed!!

1. Did material from both shows make the final cut?

2. Our ticket said "Red White Black and Blue" Why not "red White and Screwed"?

Lewis Black: Yes. The DVD will be an extended version of the concert.

No clue.


Lewis Black: I'd like to thank everybody for hanging out. Now let's all get back to work. Thanks to the Post and Rocci and to the young woman who thought I was hot.


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