When you think of Valentine’s Day, the first person that pops into your mind is undoubtedly Lewis Black.
No? Well, if you happen to be one of the many who find Cupid’s holiday to be less than the romantic heaven that Hallmark execs would have you believe, then this just might be the perfect anti-Valentine’s Day date to seduce your sweetie. After all, if funny is sexy, then hysterical is off-the-charts hot.
Black promises to provide plenty of giggles and guffaws Friday night at the Fillmore Miami Beach with his cathartic new show, The Rant Is Due, during which he’ll bombard you with everything that’s bothering him at the moment. But lest you think such a show might be a downer, the Grammy-winner has been dubbed more p---ed-off optimist than mean-spirited curmudgeon.
In other words, you’ll love it.
Black talks to Miami.com about the show, his disdain for Valentine’s Day, and his secret, masochistic love of the game of golf.
So you’re coming down here for a Valentine’s Day show.
Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. And it also makes a lot of sense to have the holiday of love in February, in the dead of winter? You don’t have the holiday of love at the height of flu season. OK? It’s a made-up holiday, so move it to the spring or something, when a man can feel his nuts. I mean, c’mon! It’s a holiday from the chocolate and flower people, who went, “Boy, we’re having a slow month!” And talk about nonsense. What is it, 50 days after Christmas, 40? What? You didn’t get enough s--- at Christmas?
For those who have never seen you, tell us what a Lewis Black stand-up show is like.
It’ll be the happiest night of your f---ing life! Look, if you’re really happy, and you think everything’s great and you can’t imagine how it could be better, I am the last comic you ever want to see. However, if you find yourself waking up going, “Gee, I think things out here are insane,” you might be interested in seeing me. You probably should see me, because no matter how bad you feel, I feel worse. Also, if you’re wondering about your relationship, I’m the show you should go to. If you’re both laughing, or not laughing, you’ve got a really solid base for a relationship. But if one of you is laughing hysterically and the other one is very upset, you leave separately. It’s perfect therapy. It’s a good test case.
So what’s p---ing you off lately?
Hmm. The fact that everyone is just waiting around to see what we’re not gonna do this year. It really kind of gets to me, to watch them rev up again. It’s only been year after year after year of them saying the same things over and over again, and not doing anything. And somehow everything they say, their side is correct. I don’t have time for it – there’s no time! You know what I’d like to hear every day from one of those pr---s? A fact! Just one fact!
So if it irritates you that much, why even bother caring at this point?
[Pause] Because we’re better than this. We’re way better than this. Before I go, I’d like things to move in the direction it should. If we could learn about education before I die, that would be fun. You don’t get a better education system by cutting the budget. That’s a fact. That’s insane.
You were a very good student — were you also a troublemaker or a class clown?
I had kind of a mouth on me, yeah. It got worse and worse. By the time I got to college it was a little bad. But by then I had at least found theater, so I got rid of some of it [laughs].
What happened with play-writing – how did you move into stand-up?
I was doing stand-up on the side, but not really going to comedy clubs – just doing it where I could, and people seemed to like the stand-up. I loved writing plays, but nobody seemed to be interested in my love [laughs]. And then I started to get small roles in movies.
Speaking of which, what do you have coming up?
I’ve got a Pixar animation movie called Inside Out — it comes out I think in another year. It’s basically about what takes place inside a girl’s head after she moves from Minneapolis to San Francisco. It’s pretty amazing to work with Pixar. They give you the script and you go, “I don’t know if that’s gonna work,” and then they start showing you the visual and you go, “Holy God!” And I’m also trying to write another play, just to punish myself. And I’ve started a new book, a fictional book about the early days I spent in New York. It’s fiction, so I’m waiting to see if my publisher is actually interested.
What about you would surprise people?
Wow. That I play golf, I guess. I love it, but I love it because it hates me, I think.
How good are you?
It’s as if I’m a schizophrenic — there are two people who play. One is someone like Jack Nicklaus, and the other one is Jerry Lewis. If I hit a nice drive, the next shot is gonna be horrific. And if I hit a s----y drive, the next shot will be spectacular. I can have five or six holes in a row where I’m one over par, and then it’s around 15 over par. I’d enjoy it more if I stopped screaming all the time.
What do you think of Miami?
I like going to Miami. The only thing about coming to Miami that upsets me is that after I leave there I feel as if I weigh 500 pounds. But I’m looking forward to it, because this has been by far the s----iest winter I’ve ever spent in New York. If it’s not snowing, it’s so cold that you go, “No, I’m not going out.” It’s just been brutal.