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Comedy

Lewis Black
Lewis Black (Comedy Central)
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Lewis Black
Stand-Up Comic, Actor, Author
Friday, March 14, 2008; 1:45 PM

Stand-up comic, actor and author Lewis Black dropped by to shill his new Comedy Central series Root of All Evil and his "Let Them Eat Cake" concerts (2) coming up in May at the Warner Theatre.

A transcript follows.

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Arlington, Va.: Who is crazier-angrier, you or Obama's pastor?

Lewis Black: I just play a crazy person on television.

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Alexandria, Va.: I love your rants; they make sense and are totally refreshing.

Were you the author of your speeches in the movie "Accepted?" They sounded like you and, again, were a breath of fresh air.

Lewis Black: They were written for me and I improved a lot of it. So yes, it was certainly a lot of me.

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The Black Influence: Our 15-year-old son sees you as his role model. Should we intervene, or will he be OK?

Lewis Black: He'll be fine.

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Parent, AL: Did your parents convince you to do this chat -- yet another engagement that forbids the use of expletives? How are you holding up?

Lewis Black: I'm holding up well. I can speak in any language.

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Washington, D.C.: I was just listening to your Carnegie Hall performance again the other day. Has your life since that night been as big a let-down as you anticipated? Did the helicopter that transported you to the Daily Show studios for your most recent Back in Black segment cheer you up at all?

Lewis Black: No, actually I'm shocked. It's more fun than I expected.

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Sarasota, Fla.: Mr. Black,

How do you get to the core of what is funny? Do you invert something that makes you angry? Do you find how people are behaving childishly, foolishly, arrogantly or any other description along those lines? Then what is the process to get that observation into a form that's funny?

Thank you.

Lewis Black: I wish I knew. It's still a mystery to me. I get frustrated, I get angry, I start talking and then I take what's ever funny and I start to with it from there.

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Washington, D.C.: How do you ready yourself for a show? I assume that you aren't always so irritated. I'm imagining beating your head but that would leave a mark. Maybe it's just a poster of George Bush, a person in Iraq, or the new video banned on MTV because it might give people seizures. Thanks for the laughs.

Lewis Black: Thank you. The secret is I take a nap.

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Herndon, Va.: Mr. Black: I'm slightly older than you and am amazed at the energy you seem to have. Are you following any health or fitness regime?

Lewis Black: I wish. I don't have time. Apparently screaming is good for you.

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Houghton, Mich.: Hi Lewis-

Do you feel as if you're solely "preaching to the choir" but not really converting anyone to your POV?

Lewis Black: I'm not seeking converts. I'm not sure if there's really a choir to be preached to.

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Lewis Black: Hope spring comes to Houghton soon.

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Washington, D.C.: My husband will be completely jealous when I tell him I got to participate in this discussion. He's a huge fan, but he'll be on a plane so he won't be able to join in. Anyway, I was wondering, do you find there's a great deal of pressure to be funny about everything in every day life? If so, how do you handle it?

Lewis Black: No, people are pretty good about giving me my space. And I generally approach life with a sense of humor. I find if I don't I start to lose my mind.

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Washington, D.C.: Loved the first show this week. Have you come back to downtown Silver Spring recently? What do you think of the change -- for better or worse?

Lewis Black: Thanks. Just saw downtown Silver Spring in June. It has to be better. It couldn't have gotten worse. I miss the Little Tavern.

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Easton, Md.: Love your shows. Why do you think it is that now to get any idea what is really happening we have to watch comedy shows? The news guys don't seem to know how to do investigative reporting anymore (beyond, of course, the incredibly penetrating digging they do in starlets' trash cans).

Has the concept of a free press been so watered down that any real information has to be couched as humor to avoid being dragged off to Guantanamo?

Lewis Black: My hope is the free press recovers from its seizure soon. I believe it will. These kind of glitches last only so long.

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Daytona Beach, Fla.: At 6 p.m. yesterday, the House of Representatives held a secret session debating whether to grant immunity to telecom companies that cooperate in a clandestine government eavesdropping program. Please, Lewis, tell us you were hiding in a congressional coat closet last night!

Lewis Black: If I was, I'd be touching myself. It's the only way I could cope with listening to those idiots.

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Germantown, Md.: Your five minute rants on the Daily Show are uniformly great - a true highlight of the show. However, the format and content of your new show left me cold. I understand it would be difficult to rant "a la Daily Show" for 20 or more minutes, but I think some sort of format change is in order. This format seems to constrain the humor that made you a hit to begin with. Comments?

Lewis Black: I'm the host. This is a very new show. I believe we will evolve into something different. See Daily Show at beginning, see Daily Show now. However, I believe the comics working this show are some of the funniest people I know. I'm sorry you didn't find them funny.

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Silver Spring, Md.: Greetings from the land of the acorn and thanks for these occasional chats.

The Washington Post today has two opinion pieces taking the same position: Mrs. Spitzer should not be supporting her husband, including by appearing with him at the press conferences this week. Do you think anyone other than Mrs. Spitzer is in a position to judge Mrs. Spitzer or their marriage?

washingtonpost.com: What Was Silda Spitzer Thinking? ( On Faith, March 14)and It Wasn't Her Place ( On Faith, March 14)

Lewis Black: No. But it tends to distract from the focus which is the idiot who got himself in trouble.

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Fairfax, Va.: Do you have plans to attend a celebration commemorating the "end of an error" of the Bush administration? If so, what do you plan to do? Also, do you have any recommendations for treatment of vocal polyps?

Lewis Black: I don't know how to treat vocal polyps. I have been lucky enough to have them.

Don't know how I will be celebrating but I will be celebrating, probably dancing naked somewhere in the rain.

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Washington, D.C.: My friends and I noticed that we all feel really terrible for poor Eliot Spitzer and the mess he made of his life. I just can't imagine someone putting themselves in such an emotional hole with their family and constituents. The story seems to lack the hubris of the gay Republican scandals. Do you see people reacting with sadness here or is it just us jaded Washingtonians.

Lewis Black: I've seen mostly shock, not as much sadness.

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Detroit, Mich: Mr. Black, it's like looking into a mirror (You know if the mirror made me look like a man who is 30 years older than me.) I usually find myself agreeing with you 100 percent. I am usually that angry too - but I don't know how to unleash it! Teach me your ways. How can I unleash that kind of anger without someone throwing a boot at my head?

Lewis Black: I spend a lot of time alone yelling at my TV, it helps.

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Blairsville, Ga.: Mr. Black,

No part of American culture and society seems to be taboo to you. Is there something that you actually think would be a bad idea to rant about?

Lewis Black: Abortion.

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Fairfax, Va.: What do you think about performing at the Emperors Club VIP room?

Lewis Black: It would beat performing at the Bears Stearns Christmas party.

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Silver Spring, Md.: If you had a weekend here in D.C., no gigs or such, what would you do? And do you ever hang out in Chevy Chase, say, the Chevy Chase Lounge?

Lewis Black: Not been to Chevy Chase in a while. I'd spend a lot of time at the museums, check out the newer neighborhoods and generally just wander around a make a nuisance of myself.

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Yelm, Wash.: How long has political satire interested you ? Do you write much of your material ?

Lewis Black: I write a lot of it. It's always been an interest of mine, having been raised in the D.C. area.

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Rockville, Md.: Britney Spears or George W Bush? Who would you vote for as president?

Lewis Black: I'd move.

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Herndon, Va.: Have you ever put something stronger than water in your "onstage" water bottle - or at least been tempted to?

Lewis Black: No, then the anger becomes real.

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Washington, D.C. : From a comic's point of view, which of the three candidates for President would be the best for laughs?

Lewis Black: They'll all be funny in their own special way. Never underestimate the idiots who wish to be president.

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Bethesda, Md.: Will you be appearing in any movies this year?

Lewis Black: As of now, no but I'm hoping.

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BBFL: Are you afraid of becoming the Andy Rooney of The Daily Show?

Lewis Black: No.

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New York, N.Y.: Did your parents ever tell you to see a therapist because they think its unhealthy to be so negative. And once you started making money at it, did they shut up?

Lewis Black: They never suggested a therapist. Money did the trick.

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Washington, D.C.: Okay, here's the standard question you probably get too often. Would you ever consider running for a political office?

Lewis Black: No. Suicide would be the first option. If I was gonna kill myself, I'd really kill myself.

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Minneapolis, Minn.: Who are you going to miss more, Tucker Carlson or John Gibson?

Lewis Black: Neither.

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Lewis Black: Thank everybody for your time and interest. I'll be in D.C. mid-May at the Warner Theater. It's been a pleasure.

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