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It has been suggested, and rightly so, that I have gone a bit far afield regarding what’s going on in San Diego on Friday nights. I have been given much freedom, and it seems it is time to rein me back in somewhat to what is — oh yeah, that’s right, what I was originally hired to do here. For some weeks now I will be pretty much confined to a three-story walk-up with a broken ankle in San Marcos sans transportation. With a computer, however, one can reach out and at least take the pulse of Fridays here in town. I could also read a newspaper now and then, something that, ironically, I rarely do these days, as my supply of antidepressants is sporadic. So...

This strikes me as a promising Friday night in San Diego: comedian/ writer/enraged pundit Lewis Black will appear at Copley Hall on Friday, February 1. Black is probably most famous for his association with Comedy Central’s The Daily Show. He has, however several other and varied credits to his name; a string of plays, a second book in progress, CDs, DVDs, film shorts, and acting roles in, generally, smart comedies. My initial reaction to Black was one of love/hate. The theme for his tirades is never far from “human stupidity,” a favorite subject of mine. My objection was his constant tendency to hysteria: his portrayal of a man about to pull his own hair out as his voice rises to madness pitch.

Getting past his histrionics, I find his material to be very funny: a deranged Dennis Miller or an edgier George Carlin. An entire evening with this guy might prove to be exhausting, but in the sense of leaving audience members sore from laughing — even if it is reluctantly. A graduate of Yale Drama School, Black tends to avoid scatological humor and obscenity (maybe just on television). I can’t say for sure that Black’s Yale education accounts for his avoidance of excessive sex and bathroom material. The use of the word “vulgarity” below does not equate, in my mind, with obscenity or the scatological.

The following is taken from Wikipedia online.

Nothing Sacred is the autobiography of comedian Lewis Black. It was published in 2005, and republished in 2006 (paperback edition). The 2006 publication contains new material and one of the plays he wrote during his “career” as a playwright. The book has also been released in unabridged audio CD format, narrated by Black himself. The book is narrated in the same fashion as Black’s stand-up routines, with vulgar language, sarcasm, and constant fits of rage.

The book primarily accounts Lewis’ admiration for his seemingly eccentric family, his disregard for authority, his education, past habitual drug use, his perspectives on current issues, and other real-life events such as his hitchhiking trip in Europe or his late pet dog, John-John. The book’s layout is in semi-chronological order. The book has no table of contents and a lengthy page of acknowledgments.

Excerpts from Nothing’s Sacred:

— “So many leaves, so little time. I will buy a leaf blower.”

— “If there is a hell, it is modeled after Jr. High.”

— “Just the memory of it makes me want to go to the bathroom.”

— “I was lucky to have an animal like that as my owner.”

— “Somehow, psychopaths always get service.”

— “We are passing on a legacy of shit.”

— “One doesn’t shit in a bidet, because one has to clean it up.”

— “If the post office didn’t already exist, Kafka would’ve invented it.”

Another blurb from one of the promotional websites is as follows. I include it for those who may not be familiar with Black’s material, though he is hard to miss if you have cable television. He has also performed to sell-out crowds previously in San Diego.

“Outspoken and uncensored, the Grammy-nominated Black offers his sharp-edge observations on topics such as the Iraq War, Hurricane Katrina and FEMA, gay marriage, the Dick Cheney shooting, President Bush, and fossils and evolution. He’ll leave you feeling red, white and screwed.”

There is little that is subtle about Black’s humor, and while he is hardly in the tradition of baggy-pants comedians, he will provide traces of it with his over-the-top outrage, as in the cleverly titled CD Rules of Enragement.

While I am not a huge fan, personally, I find myself as often “engaged” by his shtick as I find myself changing the channel if I am not in the mood. If you are in one of those “I’m-mad-as-hell-and-I’m-not-going-to-take-it-anymore” frames of mind and realize there is little to do about any of it except laugh and watch someone else on the brink of tearing his hair out over the stupidity we are all mired in, Copley Hall on Friday night February 1 might be just the ticket.

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Comments

EricBlair Jan. 30, 2008 @ 5:08 p.m.

Hi JB: Lewis Black rocks the house. If you get a chance go to YouTube and access his righteous fury about the hypocrisy of movie stars lecturing regular people about Earth Day.

Favorite line? When he rolls tape of Matt Damon telling us how to save energy, and saying "If your house is anything like mine..."

Lewis says "Stop." The tape freezes. Lewis continues. "It isn't. It's a lot smaller. And it doesn't have an Affleck shaped dent in the couch."

Gold.

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bigjoe Feb. 6, 2008 @ 3:44 p.m.

I went to the show. I found it trite. It is a shame to see a comic be forced into his shtick to satisfy his fan base. Many of his fans were waiting for his points to crescendo with great anticipation. When he reached the "pulling his hair out" point of his, the crowd roared with delight.

A musician is forced to play the standards of their catalog. We pay the high ticket price because we want to sign along with the songs that we have come to love. However, I find it interesting when a band will make the effort to change up a ditty during a live performance. Willie Nelson changes tempo and verses at all of his live performances. You have to be an icon to get away with freestyle, but it certainly makes for a memorable show. You got to love it when a band will have the balls to finish a show with alternative genre cover.

Comics like Lewis Black are our modern day philosophers and story tellers. It would have been a shame if Steve Martin stopped at doing "A Wild and Crazy Guy". My generation is truly represented by Dave Chappell's show more so than his stand-up. Dave and Steve kept going.

It would have been cool if Lewis Black came out and shook us up with some new ideas. Instead, he just did his usual thing and the East County Account sitting behind just me kept raving, "Oh, that's so true."

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