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Lewis Black, an interview with the King of Rant

I sat down with my longtime friend and fellow comedian, Lewis Black. We talked about his new comedy tour, the origin of his Rant Cast, and his views on the current state of global affairs, as well as his Live Comedy Show in Lowell, MA, on 9/16/22.

Known as the King of Rant, LEWIS BLACK uses his trademark style of comedic yelling and animated finger-pointing to skewer anything and anyone that gets under his skin. His comedic brilliance lies in his ability to make people laugh at the absurdities of life, with topics that include current events, social media, politics and anything else that exposes the hypocrisy and madness he sees in the world.

Receiving critical acclaim as a stand-up, actor and author, Black has performed for audiences throughout Europe, New Zealand, Canada and the United States. In 2012, he performed eight sell-out shows at Richard Rodgers Theatre on Broadway. Since 2014 Lewis Black has done over 400 live streaming shows, called THE RANT IS DUE, at the end of each of his standup performances. Adding his own unique style, Lewis delivers audience-written Rants which have been submitted from the fans at his show and throughout the world. These rants are now available on Lewis Black’s podcast, Rant Cast.

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Transcript – Please note, this Transcript is AI Generated. It has not had the discerning ears of a real human to edit it, as such, there are bound to be a few errors

Jimmy Tingle 0:00
How you receive when you go to middle America and all over as enthusiastically as here in the Northeast? Yeah,

lewis black 0:07
apparently these people are desperate

Jimmy Tingle 0:18
Hey, everybody, this is Jimmy. Welcome to another episode of the Jimmy tinkle show. We have a very special guest for you today, ladies and gentlemen, Louis black and I go way back. Lewis performed at my theater and in Davis square Savoy in 2004, when we did the unconventional comedy convention, when the Democratic Convention was here in Massachusetts, we had a blast doing that we had like 1520 comics from all over the country. We did a month of comedy shows political humor for a whole month back in 2004. At Jimmy tingles off Broadway theater. Anyway, it’s great to be reconnected with them. He’s coming to Lowell auditorium this Friday night, September 16. It’ll be in Northampton on September 15. That’s this Thursday night. You got to see him. He’s hilarious. Ladies and gentlemen. He’s the king of rent. He’s my friend soon to be your friend. He’s one of the he is the longest running contributed a Comedy Central’s The Daily Show with the with Jon Stewart. And he helped you know, he really contributed a lot to that show people look forward to his rants at the end of the show. And it was always fun and inspiring to watch him. And he gets it off his chest, folks. Please welcome to the show. The one the only my friend and your friend, Mr. Lewis, black. Hello, Lois.

lewis black 1:38
We were in Amsterdam together too. That’s why when you were performing and I was there, I eventually was teaching there. But I came over and hung out with you guys and did. It was great.

Jimmy Tingle 1:49
Well, it’s great to see a low as you come into low auditorium. Folks, I gotta tell you, if you like politics, if you like what’s going on, and you want somebody to say what you’ve been thinking, just like this, you got to go see Louis black at the Lowell auditorium Friday night, September 17. You will not regret it. And all of his tour dates are at Lewis So Louis, tell me about yourself right now. How are you doing? What do you what do you think of the world?

lewis black 2:17
Things are just great. Every day, I think you get better I think you notice that. At think I’ve embraced a more happy go lucky kind of comedy. See the rainbow out there? To see the rainbow. But now that every day gets better and better and become closer to the people that we always thought we would be. I mean, I know that for you, you understand that the finally we’re getting together as a people being the Queen has died so that we really will be free of the monarchy and we can get on with our lives. I know it’s the same. It’s an endless stream. It’s I just keep saying we’ve we’ve been swimming through a river of shit. Where the what are the fucking group of people that I know of goes through a pandemic, and then after the pandemic hits, which is still we’re still in to a certain extent after it we end up finding ourselves we’re things are worse. How does he get worse? You seriously in that? Well, we had to pay but now now we’ve got inflation, which is worse. Dying is Amin and I grant you that people are fucked. But with that with inflation, but you know and then and that there’d be a whole party that’s probably celebrating that there’s inflation it’s Biden’s inflation right and then he calls it the inflation Reduction Act what planet are those fuckers on? You know you can’t call it that unless it really is doing it the next day it’s not that people aren’t going to notice for another six months a year if they’re lucky build back better I don’t know who writes their shit but I will say Jimmy the some of my active least what they’ll be seeing and lo of what I say instead of talking about what have I talked about the way in which I dealt with the pandemic Yeah, and because I started talking about it when I hit the road again and I thought you know it was that thing of what you’re paddling water you think okay, I’ll I’ll talk about this until some until Yeah, until a big find my find my route but people reacted so you know, found that responded so well laugh so hard. You know that they kind of been encouraged me to really the whole app became about the about how I reacted to it. And I didn’t do well.

Jimmy Tingle 4:50
How did you react Louis? Like it was a bumpy road.

lewis black 4:54
It was very bumpy. I was one of those people who I spent. I don’t know about you, but I I was in solitary confinement in my apartment for 12 weeks. 12 weeks by myself, Jimmy, I tell the audience, you’ve only been with me for seven minutes. So imagine what the 12 was by. And I didn’t respond. And then I mean, I’m like scrubbing shit down. I’m living like a raccoon, scrubbing my food, the whole thing unravel. And then I’m watching, you know, and I just kind of went through what happened and what it allowed me to do to as a comic was talking about things. Now they can’t you know, it’s you can’t deny, this is what was said, you can’t go well, you didn’t say though. They said this shit. You know, they’re upset about Fauci. I get people being upset about Fauci but who wants that job? worst job in the history of America? You know, seriously, worst job, come on every day and go, Well, we’re fucked. Now. We’re fuck more, we’re fucked again. I didn’t really know what to say. But we’re super pumped. I mean, what a shitty job. And then they yell about being rich, because he’s a doctor, you’re fucking idiots.

Jimmy Tingle 6:07
The vitriol was out there, Louis, but you’re processing it? Well, but the whole idea of your autobiographical journey through that people are relating to it, right.

lewis black 6:17
It’s, there’s certain things I say during that act that I thought, well, you know, I’m gonna have to I can’t I would do it, you know, you kind of throw something out and see if he sticks to this. And, and some of it was really like, things that I thought were kind of painful. And that they laughed through. And I thought, wow, they all get it. The Oh, in and, and so it was really, and it was cathartic. But, but I’m still kind of, and I think that the one thing about it is, is that there are a lot of people out there as much as they think they’re over it aren’t over it. And I think that’s really, I mean, I wish people would just cop to that.

Jimmy Tingle 6:59
Yeah, I there was a lot of trauma. There’s a lot of trauma, and people are coming out of it. And I don’t know about you, but I started to reevaluate a lot of things. And, and like you when I came out of it, instead of performing, I actually talked about what I was doing during the pandemic and what was not exciting, but I was I was trying, everybody was just trying to, to do their own thing. But I find that it does resonate with the audience a lot. Do you find your performances now there is a real anticipation for some laughs and for some release, and somebody to take them over the edge like you apparently do on stage. So they fill in like, Oh, I’m not the only one feeling crazy. Yeah, no, there is.

lewis black 7:41
There was that, especially when I first started going back to you must have noticed there was that kind of sense in the audience of like, the only other time I came was the first time performing in in the states that I felt like it was like performing in when I was performing for the troops. were unbelievable. I mean, those guys and the women of the troops were just extraordinary.

Jimmy Tingle 8:07
And in terms of their enthusiasm and appreciation. Yeah, I

lewis black 8:11
would come back and go you would look at audiences go really that’s all you got? Seriously, I’ve come here and but I because when you were in front of the military, they just they’re so thrilled that you’re there. And in a sense. Now, coming back on the road, people really are like, Oh, thank God, I’m out of the house. I got away from the kids. And I can let it rip. And you know, and then they’re even, you know, and people really want to see you afterwards. And I kind of go no, I can’t do that yet. I’m not ready to expose myself yet. Did you? Did you do it? While I mean, there were people who were doing the shows. Did you do the Zoom shows? Did you

Jimmy Tingle 8:52
try? Yes. Yeah. One of the

lewis black 8:55
in mind.

Jimmy Tingle 8:58
Now, I have to say, Louis, I couldn’t. I didn’t try a lot of new stuff because I couldn’t hear the audience. So I was kind of doing, you know, posting other comics, playing clips from shows that actually worked on stage so people can hear laughter You know what I mean? I did a lot of that Brandon and I did a lot of it. That’s how we started this podcast coming out of that said, Wow, all these people are in zoom. Everybody knows how to do it. This will be a great thing to do that just keep working. keep busy. So I did a lot of them. But again, you’re talking to you might be talking to 300 people you can’t hear anybody. So you’re talking to yourself the whole time. But it was better for me it was better than not working. Yeah, no, I

lewis black 9:39
what I did was the thing that I use for a while I was just at sea and then i i Also I couldn’t really go do those kinds of shows people like GAAP, again performed at a people some of the some of the folks we know performed like Dr. When movie theaters, yeah. And they would honk.

Jimmy Tingle 10:04
I did one of those drive and it wasn’t a movie theater, but they would honk at the end. Yeah,

lewis black 10:09
I would have lost my mind. So that was not gonna happen. I really, I desperately need an audience to work. I can’t write unless they’re there. And so what I did was to start, I do these rant, I read rants after every show I’ve done. And yes, I wanted to talk to you about that. Tell me about them. So I’ve been doing that for about five or six years. And it started as a kind of a q&a, I get folks who come to see the show can actually on their phone, they, whatever they type in is sent to me. And so that started his questions. And I would ask him, you know, in real time, in real time, right? Well, I mean, they would send it before the show. Oh, okay. And, and I would collate and put together what I would do afterwards. So I do an hour show, leave for like two seconds. And then and then come back and do this call the rant is do it. So I have two cameras, and we live stream it literally throughout the world, throughout the world. So it’s like, so I come in at night, and they go Pakistan was watching all 14 of them. And but it’s true, it’s like good. So it’s going to these places Australian Germany and some of those folks respond. And so they so what evolved into was rants. So people were starting to get off their chest stuff, and I started promoting, you know, go ahead, let it rip, I will read your rant. And so during the pandemic, I had all of these rants that had come in and I started is you started your podcast, I started a thing called the rent gap. So the way in which I can stay in touch with my comedy, the one thing I can do is read a rant. I know I don’t think that I know how to do that. But practice that in my life. And then they were writing in my voice. So they’ve had to add on to that. And so that’s really so now that becoming a low and I hope that the good folks lol If there’s something that they want to get off their chest, send it in now if you’re not going to be to show it, I don’t care. It’s I like to do I like to read stuff that comes from the area that I’m in, and if not from the state that I’m in and so I try to keep it kind of centered around wherever I am. So it’s like up on Friday. I’ll be doing Yeah, Friday is the the rant is do the it’ll be the low version.

Jimmy Tingle 12:38
Yeah. Cool. Can our audience do it this drop tomorrow on Thursday?

lewis black 12:43
Yeah, if you go to Okay. It’ll tell you exactly how to do it. Okay, Louis

Jimmy Tingle 12:50
There’s a link there to submit your rant that Louis will hopefully possibly read onstage in front of a live audience in Lowell this weekend. Yeah, this as you proceed with your tour. Yeah.

lewis black 13:05
And if I don’t read it, there’s a possibility that later on, as I did recently, over the past six months, when we were locked down, or the year or so that we were that I was doing it. I’ll catch up and read some stuff. Sometimes I don’t read it that week. I’ll read it the next day. So you never know.

Jimmy Tingle 13:24
That’s great. So so you get I mean, is it hard going through hundreds of these things? I mean, what they

lewis black 13:31
just that it’s I mean, they come in in the night, there’s about 20 to 30 of them and I go in and start reading them and then put them in an order and create what is essentially a little show based on what they have to say in sight. And inevitably somebody will write something about the town and then somebody writes something counter to what that person wrote. So

Jimmy Tingle 13:52
Okay, how about this then for our audience, everybody who’s listening to this or watching it? Let’s do Lewis a favor let’s give him some Massachusetts love. And if you’ve got a rant about Lowell, Massachusetts, or Northampton, Massachusetts, or Vermont, he’s going to check it out. He’s going in Northampton. Lowell to Maine

lewis black 14:15
water bill in Rutland.

Jimmy Tingle 14:19
Okay, so we got some new ones showing some New England love letters and gentlemen, if you’re in Maine, Vermont, Massachusetts, even if you’re in New Hampshire weigh in. We want to know what New Hampshire thanks, way in New Hampshire.

lewis black 14:32
And if you’re sitting outside, you know if you’re like in New Hampshire want to yell about about Massachusetts? Go ahead. Yes.

Jimmy Tingle 14:41
You know what they call us in New Hampshire? Don’t you

lewis black 14:43
know I can’t remember what Massholes Oh, yeah, that’s

Jimmy Tingle 14:50
so Okay, New Hampshire. Here’s your chance. And Maine and Vermont as well. lol Northampton, let it rip, Lewis There’s a link right there where you can see admit your bitch about whatever’s going on in your town or your state or our state, that would be great. And we’re showing Louis, we’re gonna show Louis black, some love with the way we get it off our chest. That’s what we’re going to do. So, Louis, I want to talk briefly, how do you I mean, this is a great idea. Okay, so obviously very innovative, it started off as a hunch that it would work. Is that how your process works for writing? For I’m really interested in all the comments I’ve had on Paul on Marc Maron, Colin Quinn, a friend Al Franken, I asked him, What is your process? And what would you say that how do you define your process?

lewis black 15:36
My process is that I write what I do. And you’ve certainly I’ve seen I write on stage. So I have an idea. And something will come to me. So I, so one of the things I’ll talk about, probably whether I do in low or not, but coming up will be I had to get an ID, I had to get a new ID from my mother on her 104th birthday, right. And so I got on the phone to get that ID. And so what I went through during that day, I took some notes on it. And what I went through the next day, in the day after that, and anybody who’s called anyone during this time period to try to get fucking anything done, and so on. And so that I will get onstage and I’ll start to do that. I will talk through that. And what will happen is that the audience, you know, I will find where the laughs are, because the audience that’s divided up the audience have no, I have no clue where the last

Jimmy Tingle 16:38
Right, right? None.

lewis black 16:42
Right. And so that’s what leads me to it. And I, and then the next day, I come back and I’ve been we’ll see, you know, I’ve been able to kind of retain what is the funny I’ll write something, I’ll take a note to myself keep this drop that. But mostly, it just is from doing it. It’s you it it sticks in me what? And then the next day, I come back and I rework it, and then I rework it, and then I rework it. And then if it’s a PC, you know, eventually I can go, that’s not going to work. And I thought,

Jimmy Tingle 17:12
right. Do you record all your sets?

lewis black 17:15
Yeah, everything is recorded. I don’t I don’t really watch them. Yeah, yeah, I got it. Yeah, give me eggs and butter. Watch my stuff. Right?

Jimmy Tingle 17:25
It’s hard watching yourself, isn’t it? Oh, my God, one of the hardest things for me to do this show is to then not watch you, but to watch me and I’m overly critical. And then you gotta go through and edit out all this. You know, whatever. If I had some stupid questions, or whatever stuttering mispronouncing words, whatever it is, it’s a nightmare. But you’re gonna it’s going out to lots of people. My other question is, when you’re in New York, you’re in New York based. Yes. So that process of going on stage and reading what people wrote, do you do that in a club? Or do you save that for your shows when they’re there specifically to see you?

lewis black 18:00
Yeah, I do that just for the shows or when I’m at home doing it here by myself? I don’t. I don’t do much club work in New York. I don’t go out in New York. Because I’m, I’m running around like an idiot. Yeah, for shows this week and then come home for a day and a half. And then I’m back for more shows in right. You know, Indiana and Warren, Ohio. Right.

Jimmy Tingle 18:26
Right. Wow. And how you receive when you go to middle America and all over as enthusiastically saving the Northeast? Yeah,

lewis black 18:36
apparently these people are desperate. They’re great in wherever I go. I mean, I was you know, you know, you go down to Mississippi if you go to Biloxi these people, you know, there are people there who have been waiting to hear something else. Another point of view and and it’s really not even another point of view. It’s people are losing their fucking minds.

Jimmy Tingle 18:59
Yeah. Well, that’s great. It’s a great service that you’re providing Louis, getting it getting it off your chest, and collectively the audience is breathing a sigh of relief. Just do us a favor. Don’t run for office. We don’t need another person ranting at us.

lewis black 19:16
You’re gonna have that. That’s you and me. That’s what you and me do. That was. It was like when they started reading. Trump’s tweets. I was like, No, that’s our job. It’s fucking Yeah.

Jimmy Tingle 19:31
Well, it’s great to see Louis Congratulations on all your success. It’s really wonderful to see how far you’ve come with your with your own unique style, and your own creativity and initiative. And congratulations to you and your team. And listen, everybody who’s watching listen to this, go to Louis There’s a link right there where you can submit a rant if you want to get something off your chest, you get it off your chest, and the one and only Louis black hopefully will read it or use it at some point. Wait in his in in his performances, and he’s going to low auditorium Friday night, September 17. He’s going to be in Northampton on the fifth of the 16th of September. And then he’s going up to Maine and then to Vermont, and then he’s taking the nation by storm. Ladies and gentlemen, round of applause. The one the only Mr. Lewis Black. Thank you, Louis.

lewis black 20:24
Thanks. It’s been a pleasure. It’s been

Jimmy Tingle 20:27
a pleasure to talk to you and great to catch up. Thank you for joining us today. This has been a humor for humanity production. Our mission is your mission humor for humanity. Thank you

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