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Arts & Culture

Comedian Lewis Black Will Bring His Rants To San Antonio

Lewis Black will perform at the Majestic Theatre in San Antonio on Thursday, Nov. 21.
Clay McBride
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Lewis Black will perform at the Majestic Theatre in San Antonio on Thursday, Nov. 21.

Many years ago, ranting, raving Lewis Black started out in a more sedate field: writing plays. He wrote hundreds of them after graduating from Yale drama school.

"That's really what I was hoping to do. You know, that's what I set out to be. That's why I went to theater school," he said. 

And how did he do? 

"I did well enough that I became a comic,” he laughed. “I did all right. I mean, I stuck with it until I was 40."

So the guy who lights up The Daily Show with his over-the-top “Back In Black” segments and creates HBO comedy specials didn't really set out to become a comic until he'd already passed 40.

You expect to hear a lot of things from Black, but most wouldn't expect him to say this:

"My blood pressure is near perfect."

Because when he's performing you want the EMS standing by.  

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HaU70Qeb0Cc

Outrage seems always within easy reach for Washington D.C. born-and-raised Black. And his ire oftentimes finds a special interest in what goes on in D.C.

Black isn’t too keen on talking about the man who lives at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. 

"I don't talk about presidents much. Never have," he said.

Still, we got him to.

“When the president refers to people as, you know, and in leaders as scum. It doesn't help. Children are listening,” he said.  

He actually reserves the largest chunk of outrage for other politicians.

"Really, for the past 30 years, I've not been a fan of Congress, which is really, there are no adults in the room,” Black said. “It's bizarre. I mean, it's like unbelievable."

Before performances Black collects rants from people online, then in the second half of the show, answers them onstage. A recent one from a millennial claimed her generation was the most screwed of any. Black set her straight.

Editor's note: This video contains strong language that some viewers may find inappropriate.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xDE_w7mqxcI

"I would say growing up in the Depression wasn’t a day at the beach. I would say World War I was no fun,” he said. “Anybody born during the black plague would have a tendency to disagree with you."

He was relentless. But then, he changed his tone. He counseled her.

"Find something you really love to do and focus on it,” Black said. “And it will change the way you look at everything."

According to Black, that’s what he did.

"You find the thing that you really, really want to do and then it'll lead you to something that you you're happy doing," he said.

Black really liked writing plays, but that wasn’t his destiny. Just as Black suggested in his counsel to the millennial, his acting as the guy who introduced the plays and warmed up the crowd beforehand paved the way to becoming what he must: a comic. 

Given his stage outrage, we had to wonder if he enjoyed being angry. 

“Yeah, I do. Partly because it gives people so much happiness. For some reason people seem to get a kick out of it,” he said. “Also, I'm funniest when I'm angry."

And he's angry a lot. Something for which we are quite thankful.  

IF YOU GO What: Lewis Black When: Thursday, Nov. 21; 8 p.m. Where: Majestic Theatre

Jack Morgan can be reached at Jack@TPR.org and on Twitter at @JackMorganii.