Calling someone or something stupid is a hard bit to pull, especially when there are political ramifications. Yet, Lewis Black has demonstrated it to be quite easy with his eccentric mannerism of berating public officials.

Black started his journey after graduating from Yale University School of Drama where he took a job working with a government anti-poverty program, which at the time was under the Nixon Administration.

He eventually gave up that job and moved to Manhattan where he became a playwright.

Black went on to manage a low-budget stage in New York’s Hell’s Kitchen throughout most of the ’80s.

As a playwright, over 40 of Black’s plays made it to the stage. One was so successful that it was converted into a motion picture in 1998 titled “The Deal.”

Black’s enthusiasm as a playwright didn’t preclude him from making his own stage appearance. In fact, his motion picture debut was in a 1986 Woody Allen picture titled “Hannah and Her Sisters.”

Black later diversified his focus in entertainment to include stand-up comedy. He made several guest appearances on the “Late Show with David Letterman” and “Conan O’Brien.”

His biggest move as a standup comedian, however, was in 1997 when Lizz Winstead, offered him a job. Winstead, who co-created “The Daily Show,” assigned him the character “Back in Black,” which amassed tremendous popularity. His act as the “Back in Black” character earned him an American Comedy Award for “Viewer’s Choice Stand-Up Comic.”

As the “Back in Black” character, fans watched a man obsessed with human stupidity rant of a flawed political system and world far from utopia. His style, however unorthodox, presented sane and rational arguments that intrigued his audience. CNN called him the “angriest man in America,” giving testament to the fact that his methods as a comedian warrant praise.

Black’s growth in popularity has allowed him to shift his attention to performing in front of live audiences. Since 2000, he’s taken to the road touring all over the country.

In addition, he’s had time to sit down and write his memoir, “Nothing is Sacred.” In his book, Black describes his continual admiration for his family. This sentiment is often expressed by other comedians for their respective families.

Furthermore, the development of Black’s life, which includes the typical successes and failures, epitomizes someone who was able to grow up in a suburban middle-class household and survive numerous turns and dead ends of life, by emerging as a successful and prominent comedian.

Lewis Black is an icon in the realm of entertainment. While his behavior and mood appear somewhat gaudy, his message rings clear with laughter and praise. He is a man who is valued for his witty remarks and insightful banter.

For those who are lucky enough to have tickets to his performance on Friday, make sure you are at Upper Strong by 10 p.m.

Serafini can be reached at jserafini@campustimes.org.



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