NORWICH, Conn. -- Interview with Lewis Black.
Editor's note: This is a concert preview, but it can be made into normal feature by taking out a couple sentences.
Lewis Black often is amazed he can still get work as a comedian after the things he has said. It seems as if no person or topic is off limits from one of his trademark rants.
“I was an idiot,” he said in a phone interview. “I would go off on anything.”
In time, he has become one of comedy’s biggest acts, and fans can see who or what Black is going after now when he comes to Mohegan Sun Arena at 8 p.m. Saturday.
Black -- one of the highest-grossing artists in comedy and a 2007 Grammy winner -- is known as a very active and energetic performer thanks to his finger-pointing style.
Born in Silver Springs, Md., Black originally intended to perform theater. He even received an MFA from the Yale School of Drama.
He then wrote one act plays at the West Bank Café Downstairs Theater in Hell’s Kitchen in New York during the 1980s. Black began performing comedy as the master of ceremonies before his plays, but he was making little money. To find more work, he went to the comedy club across the street.
After a successful audition, he was signed on as a headliner. He credits his time in theater for his ability to be comfortable in front of large crowds.
“I think I learned a lot about performing and being on stage,” he said. He continues use other theater skills as an actor and a writer.
He has built a large following because he focuses on so many issues. Politics, society, economics, religion, celebrities and even candy corn have inspired some of his bits.
“It really is one of those things that ‘where does comedy come from?’ ” he said. “And it comes from real life.”
Society is constantly giving him more material.
“We continue to manufacture stupidity,” he said. “We have and expertise in it now more than ever.”
He has written a book, “Nothing’s Sacred,” and is working on a second one he jokingly said “should finish my career.” He has also done some work on television, most notably his “Back in Black” segments on Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.” He is now working on a couple of potential shows of his own with the network.
Kevin Lenhart, former president of the University of Connecticut’s Student Union Board of Governors, brought Black and fellow comedian Dave Attell to the campus in 2004 for a night of comedy.
“The show was successful, and UConn students embraced both comedians,” Lenhart said. “I would have to say, however, that Lewis Black did receive more outbursts from the crowd due to his emphatic outbursts and physical style of comedy.”
Black said anyone attending the show Saturday can expect him to touch on many of the things in the news: immigration, Scooter Libby, stem cell research and the upcoming primaries — which he compares to coming attractions — are just a few topics.
“I think he is one of the funniest guys out there,” said Jim Spinnato, a comedian from Waterford. Spinnato has been performing a blend of hypnosis and comedy since the 1980s, and says few comedians can excite a crowd like Black.
“No one commands a stage like him,” he said.
IF YOU GO
What: Lewis Black on stage.
When: 8 p.m. Saturday.
Where: Mohegan Sun Arena, Mohegan Sun, 1 Mohegan Sun Blvd., Uncasville.
Price: Tickets are $40.
For more information, call 888-226-7711.
Some of Lewis Black’s funniest quotes:
“In my lifetime, we’ve gone from Eisenhower to George W. Bush. We’ve gone from John F. Kennedy to Al Gore. If this is evolution, I believe that in 12 years we'll be voting for plants.”
“Republicans have nothing but bad ideas, and Democrats have no ideas.”
“If you listen to a song and get an image in your head, and then you go home and watch MTV and the image they’re showing is the same as the one in your head, kill yourself. You're better off coming back as a lobster.”