Lewis Black cannot let things go. From politics to the fact that he's running behind for our interview, Black has got troubles that aren't going anywhere. And yet, the notoriously surly comedian is friendly and unintimidating off screen (a shock, since he owns one of the most distinctive baritones in show business and has a finger-point so angry it could kill a man).
Black is a master conversationalist and thought-smith, never dominating, always intriguing and fresh. "They really haven't seemed to have any concern about what anybody else thinks, which is really astonishing," he says, discussing the current administration. "What's interesting is to have a group of people not acknowledge a mistake, 'cause that's actually how we learn and we grow as human beings...they missed that point completely. There is an arrogance that isreally isspectacular from all of them."
Black's fans will be familiar with his cranky dissatisfaction with W. Bush and his cohorts, and that arrogance he mentioned is certainly something that audiences and fans will never sense from Black. He is incredibly intelligent. He is well-read. He is well-spoken, though his passion sometimes bests his eloquence. But he is in no way self-important. He performs about four shows a week, flying back to New York to film segments for The Daily Show. He shreds through both liberal and conservative media publications and outlets, researching material for his shows. He is planning to participate in a USO tour in December. "The joint chiefs have asked me to come out, and I'm going to do it. I have this big following there, and I kinda would like to..." Black stops mid-sentence and thinks for a moment. "Which makes me also wonder what's going on, considering what I talk about."
The pause only showcases that the man never shuts down his analytical process. "It's pathetic. I latch on for a while," Black says, describing his obsessing over issues causing him dismay...issues that generally end up discussed onstage. "[I'm] like a dog with a bone, basically. When Janet Jackson's breast was exposed it took a year for me to let go of it, 'cause it was so fucked up to me. And it had to do so much with everything."
There's one last thing we discuss before we hang up. One last thing he cant let go of. Something that may endear him to Dallas for quite a while. "I can't stand Pat Riley," Black says, when I ask his take on the playoffs. "So I now hate Miami."