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'It gets better everyday'

Here we are in the beginning of 2020 where people have made resolutions, set new goals, enacted plans and projects that may include exercise, healthy eating, and living a healthy lifestyle. If you are thinking about improving your health, then you may want to engage in more laughter as it has been said that laughter is the best medicine. For those who are looking for somewhere to get the laughter flowing, a seat at the Turlock Community Theatre on March 27 to see Lewis Black for his 2020 “It Gets Better Every Day” tour may be just what the doctor ordered.

“I would say that I am kind of someone that tells a story in a different kind of a way,” said Black about his comedy. “I could be more specific but you have to come see it. That is part of the mystery.”

The veteran comic has been in the industry for years doing stand-up, as an actor and an author. He is known for his comedic yelling or rants if you will. Through all the things he has done in his career, stand-up comedy has always been a solid part of his life. Though his style of comedy may not be for everyone, he says that most of his fans already know what to expect. 

“I mean I have always leaned towards stand-up because there is a freedom to it that you don’t have to deal with anybody editing,” Black explained. “There is no one between you and the audience. The audience is really telling you what is going on. You don’t need somebody telling you what is funny because the audience will tell you and they are smarter than the people that will tell that it is not funny. If there is no filter between you and the crowd you really get a pretty good idea if you are funny or not because you are talking directly to them.”

Black was born in Washington D.C. and fell in love with theatre at a young age, which led him to pursue drama in school. During his time at the University of North Carolina, Black got into stand-up comedy and has continued to do so ever since. 

“The ‘King of the Rant’ is what they say,” Black noted. “That is literally what is written about me. That is the pigeon hole that I was put in, which is fine. I yell a lot so you can say he is the guy that yells a lot. That is generally what people say when they point at me.”

Among the long list of jobs on his résumé, he was a playwright-in-residence at a theatre, created a weekly segment for Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show,” which was a short rant that became known as Back in Black, two specials on HBO, feature length concert films “Stark Raving Black,” and “Basic Black,” acted in a miniseries, and was the voice for “Anger” in the Academy Award winning Pixar film “Inside Out.”

“That was one of the greatest experiences of my life,” Black shared about working on “Inside Out”. “It doesn’t get any better than that. Getting to work with that group; they are one of the most creative groups of people in this country and probably on the planet earth. It takes five years for them to go from inception of the idea to the actual hit hitting the screen. They are really thorough. It was a joy to be involved with them and as I keep saying, they serve a great lunch.”

When sharing his experience working on “The Daily Show”, Black said that overall it was a great experience even if some of the producers were—in his words—a pain in the neck. 

“I have enjoyed working on shows,” added Black. “I worked on a bunch of pilots that have never seen the light of day. That has always been kind of upsetting because I think a number of them have deserved the opportunity to be done.”

Black has appeared on Larry King Live, Piers Morgan Tonight, Late Night with Jimmy Fallon to name a few and more recently on Late Night with Seth Meyers. He has written three best-selling books “Nothing’s Sacred” (Simon and Schuster, 2005), “Me of Little Faith” (Riverhead Books, 2008) and “I’m Dreaming of a Black Christmas” (Riverhead Books, 2010).

The Rant is Due is a live stream after every Lewis Black show where rants have been sent in by fans and Black will add his two cents to it. The rant can be of whatever the fan wants to share, like the weather, healthcare or even what they like or don’t like about their town like Turlock. 

“So, when I am in Turlock we will do the show and then afterwards the audience would have been asked that night to send their comments or questions on their phones,” said Black. “I will get those and take the ones that I think are funny and put them together and sort them out. Also folks can, before I arrive, now that they got a lead time, they can basically write a rant about what they like about Turlock, what they don’t like about Turlock or whatever they want to write about. They can write about healthcare, what they like, don’t like, they can write about peanut butter, whatever they want to write about is fine by me.”

As there seems to be sensitivity on what is said these days Black expressed that there is no place for political correctness in humor. 

“If your concern is whether something is politically correct in terms of humor you are going to be hard pressed,” he said. “It just has no place in humor. The bottom line is was it funny? If it was politically incorrect and it was funny then you are on one side or the other; you either laughed or you didn’t laugh. It is not the end of the world. It has an effect on nothing.”

If you are wondering if you will hear a rant about president Trump, it won’t be very long and Black assures that he will not dwell on that topic. He has told jokes about him for several years because they lived a mile apart in New York prior to Trump being elected to the Presidency and Black shared that he is tired of talking about him. However, all other topics including current events and social media will be discussed on stage.

“I look forward to coming to Turlock,” said Black with a smile. “It sure beats LA.”