Lewis Black’s The Rant Is Due: Part Deux Is Coming to PPAC

blackYou might know him as a big ball of perpetual frustration and furious anger who has a knack for telling it like it is. You might know him from his political commentary on one of the biggest talk shows on the planet. But no matter where he does it, stand-up comic Lewis Black has a memorable habit of making you laugh your ass off. He’ll be performing at the Providence Performing Arts Center on Sun, Apr 12 as part of his The Rant Is Due: Part Deux tour, and we got to have a chat about what has been pissing him off lately, Trevor Noah being slated as Jon Stewart’s replacement on “The Daily Show,” being a theater playwright and what the rest of 2015 has in store.

Rob Duguay: Your trademark as a comedian and a pundit is your angst when it comes to nearly everything. Ranging from Super Bowl Halftime Shows, Republicans and Democrats and even candy corn on Halloween, you always have something that grinds your gears. What has been pissing you off these days?

Lewis Black: You can start with the fact of there being complete inertia in Washington, D.C.; there doesn’t appear to be any adults left in the room.


RD: Would you say that they’re like a bunch of kids wearing diapers?

LB: I don’t think they have the common sense to wear diapers. It’s not just the President, all of the emperors have no clothes. This whole slew in Washington has become anything beyond I imagined what was possible in my lifetime. We don’t have a government, we have Groundhog Day. Every day is the same thing, all they do is change the proper nouns. It was first immigration and when it wasn’t immigration it was social security, now it’s negotiations with Iran but they do nothing. They tell us nothing and they inspire no one to the point where only 34% of Americans went out and voted during the last election; the last time it was that low was in 1942 and we were at war. Essentially they’ve immobilized themselves and by doing so they’ve immobilized the country. They’ve worn us out to the point where we don’t have the energy to walk four blocks to go vote, yet we fight wars to tell people that the best thing you could be able to do is to be able to vote. Clearly what they want you to do is choose the person who’s fucking you.

RD: A lot of people know you from your recurring Back In Black segment that is part of “The Daily Show.” Recently, South African comic Trevor Noah was named as Jon Stewart’s replacement as host of The Daily Show. How did you feel about the news when it first broke?

LB: I actually was waiting by my phone thinking that Comedy Central would call me and I was stunned. I thought, “Really?!!! They didn’t call me?!!!” It’s honestly fine, the good news is that I don’t know Trevor so it’s like who knows? I didn’t know Craig Kilborn when I started. I’m not comparing the two but I didn’t know them. I knew Jon more when he came on board, the good news is if the staff that’s currently around Jon stays intact, then we’ll be fine.

RD: When Jon Stewart announced he was leaving “The Daily Show,” did you throw your hat in the ring?

LB: I threw my hat in the ring and apparently I missed the ring. I would have liked to be the transition person and do it for two or three months.

RD: When I heard the news that Jon Stewart was going to leave I immediately thought that you would have made the perfect replacement. It would have been hilarious to see how you would interview guests and structure the show.

LB: I just thought that it would have been nice; I don’t think it would have killed the show for me to do it. It’s just one of those things. But it’s fine, I’m not weeping over it. I wish they would have even given me a fake audition.

RD: Before you started doing stand-up comedy you began your career in theater as a playwright, doing one act plays. Do you plan on going back to being involved in theater?

LB: I’ve written plays since then; over the past 20 years I’ve worked about 15 years of theater at the Williamstown Theater Festival in Williamstown, Mass. It’s a summer theater there. I’ve maintained an involvement in theater. I have a play that was published last year called “One Slight Hitch,” which is now being done throughout the country. It was just done in West Springfield, Mass, and it’s got between 10 and 15 more productions coming up, so it’s good.

RD: What are the similarities or differences for you when it comes to writing a play versus writing a comedy bit?

LB: One big difference is when I write comedy, I sit down at my desk and I think about it, but I just write a couple of things down. When I go on stage is when I really write it. When I write a play I’m at my desk for hours on end wondering what the fuck has happened to my life that I am sitting here doing this. Writing a play is much tougher.

RD: Is writing a play more strenuous on the mind than writing comedy?

LB: Yea because it’s just your voice when you’re doing stand-up and with a play you have to come up with a number of voices and conflict. Writing a play is like a 1,000 piece puzzle that’s a blue sky and you have to put it together.

RD: After The Rant Is Due: Part Deux Tour is over, what do you plan on doing next?

LB: I have a comedy album that’s set to come out in the next few months. I’ll be recording it next month and hopefully it’ll be released over the summer. That’s what we’re shooting for and then there will be some sort of small special that’ll accompany it eventually.

Purchase tickets to see Lewis  Black @ The Providence Performing Arts Center on Apr 12 here: