Comedian Lewis Black Rants About His Current Tour, The Daily Show And Why He Hates Candy Corn

This might come as no surprise, but Lewis Black is angry. Born in Washington, DC and raised in Maryland, Black lives in New York, but don’t ask him if he’s a Yankees fan.

The King of the Rant is now on a nationwide tirade tour through the end of the year. We caught up earlier today with the legendary comedian to discuss his current tour, The Daily Show and why he hates candy corn as much as the Yankees.

Lewis BlackPhoto Credit: Cyberlaff

As a Bostonian, we can’t resist saying, how about them Yankees?

I’m not a Yankees fan either. I liked Boston until they won and then they became obnoxious wanting to win everything again. This year’s Red Sox team is a homegrown built team though. There are a lot of guys from Pawtucket, which I liked. The Yankees losing for me are as much fun as my team (the Baltimore Orioles) winning. When you guys pounded them the other night (16-1) that was spectacular. Do I want Houston to win? If I had to pick a team, it would have been Cleveland, but I don’t really care enough now. I’d like to see Milwaukee take it.

Tell us about your current tour and what a first-timer can expect at one of your shows.

I’m just going to keep talking about sports. In terms of current events, you know what to expect – chaos. I’d like to wear a robe and just rip it off (laughs). At the end of every show, we also do a live stream with questions that people ask me. We have done 300 episodes so far. They can write to me beforehand on my website. I try to make the shows driven by the city I am in. I am in Atlantic City tonight. When we get to Boston, we can talk about what drives you people nuts and why you hate the Yankees so much. You can expect the same happy, upbeat kind of stuff that I am so well known for.

That’s why you’re known as the King of the Rant. Throughout the years people have obviously had a lot of different reactions to your comedic style. What is your process coming up with new material other than focusing on the absurdities in life?

It’s the love rant. I like to talk about what makes me angry. The people in New York, Boston, Jersey, part of Pennsylvania and a bit of Connecticut are really angry. That’s what I call the bitter segment of the country. Sometimes when I am in Boston, the audience is surprised that I am not as bitter as they are (laughs). Mostly, I just think about an idea, let it stew then come up with some material and usually something comes to me. A lot of stuff writes itself. My act should be called ‘I Point At Things.’

Who were some of your early influences when you first started out?

Mother Teresa, Gandhi. No, it was more like George Carlin, Kurt Vonnegut, Dick Gregory, Richard Pryor, Lenny Bruce, Lily Tomlin, Nichols and May, Arch Bros. and Bob Newhart.

Do you find it more difficult being a comedian today than say 20 years ago?

Not really. In a lot of ways, it’s right in front of you. The level of anxiety today though is so high it’s hard to hear. I don’t pay attention to the PC culture. It has nothing to do with comedy. For people to show up and pay money, you know what you’re getting into. If you don’t cross the line, it’s not comedy.

Did you ever think you would be on The Daily Show as long as you have?

I didn’t think I’d be on this long and not be the host. It has been good, but I am always amazed that it didn’t cross their mind to put me in that chair. I didn’t even get an audition. It’s called etiquette. You could have asked me to audition for it and then given it to someone else. Trevor (Noah) has done a great job though. He has more of a world view than Jon (Stewart), who was always great.

Who are some of your favorite comedians today?

Dave Attell, Kathleen Madigan is at the top of her game, Ted Alexandro, Mike Wilmot, Judy Gold, Ron Wood on The Daily Show – there are a lot of them and a lot of guys wandering around the country who are great.

Is there anything you hate more than candy corn?

Candy corn is just wrong, but Halloween has not ever been my favorite holiday. What is my favorite holiday? Any day that is not a holiday.

Best moment in your career?

I received a message from George Carlin that he liked my work. My tour manager also had an idea to use my father’s painting for a three-dimensional set. He won an award for it. That and the fact that my that my parents got to see a lot of my work. It got to shut them up because it was years of listening to ‘What are you doing?’

What was your worst stage experience?

When you start out, there are hundreds. It’s hard to separarate just one. They all blend into one moment of shame.

You’ve been a standup comedian, actor, author and playwright. What’s on your bucket list?

Bucket list is a concept I don’t understand. My bucket was full. Hey, there’s a nice way to start the day, ‘Let’s talk about what you want to do before you die.’