Gee, where to begin? Lewis Black is best known as a loud, abrasive stand-up comic. He has No Indoor Voice. While the bulk of his work is based around political humor, including a recurring "Back in Black" segment on The Daily Show, he's also known for his angry observational humor. (Those shaking fingers? That's not palsy, he's just really really pissed.) He had a high profile role in the film Accepted, and has appeared in a number of other films and television shows, including a guest spot on Law and Order SVU, and a featured role as Anger in Inside Out.
In 2008, he got his own show on Comedy Central, Root of All Evil. While he takes a back seat to the episodes' guest comics, he still inserts his trademark angry rants. A number of his acts include bits of Self-Deprecation, about himself and his fellow Jewish people, sometimes edging on J-Word Privileges.
And of course, Lewis Black is king of the Cluster F-Bomb, using, in his own words, the word "fuck" like a comma.
- You Fail Economics Forever: Discussed in one stand-up bit, where he even said he took economics in college, but couldn't explain it because he failed that course.
Lewis: ...it wasn't really my fault; the class was held at eight in the morning. And there's only so much you can learn through one bloodshot eye. After I failed the second test, I grabbed the professor by the throat and said, "WHY ARE YOU TEACHING THIS SHIT AT THIS UNGODLY HOUR?! ARE YOU TRYING TO KEEP THIS STUFF A SECRET?!"
- Bowdlerize: One of his routines is about how frustrating it was that he wasn't allowed to swear when he did the White House Correspondents' Association Dinner.
- Brick Joke: At least the first half of his Madness Mantra, "If it wasn't for my horse, I wouldn't have spent that year at college" tends to pop up again later in his act at the end of a different, unrelated story.
- Brown Note: "If it weren't for my horse, I wouldn't have spent that year in college." Thinking about that sentence for more than three minutes will cause your brain to violently shut down.
- Cluster F-Bomb: "I don't know if you realize, but I use the word "Fuck," so that I can think of other stuff."
- "Say FUCK! Say FUCK! *To the tune of Jingle Bells* Fuck fuck fuck! Fuck fuck fuck! Fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck! Don't say fuck! He said fuck! You can say fuck too!"
- Almost any one of his shows is a series of Carpet F Bombings.
- If you ask him, it's environmental: "I'll tell ya, in New York City where I've lived far too long, 'fuck' isn't even a word, it's a comma."
- According to one of his routines, it kept him from being allowed to perform at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. because someone had bothered to count the usage of the word 'fuck' in his act and determined that forty-two was too many. So he performed at the Warner Theater instead, which "has an eighty 'fuck' limit."
- While performing at Carnegie Hall: "I'm only allowed to say 'fuck' twelve times." He ends up using the word and its variants around 75 times over two hours.
- Eagle Land: Rails against the obnoxious "Greatest Country in the World" attitude with the following analogy: "If you were in an office, and there was someone there who came in everyday and said, 'I'M THE GREATEST FUCKER HERE AND ALL YOU SNIVELING SHITS WOULD DIE WITHOUT ME! AHAHA!' I can guarantee by the end of the week, you would have killed him. And eaten him...just to try to possess his power."
- Fail O'Suckyname: One routine on The Carnegie Hall Performance talks about some of these Lew has heard before, including Asshole (pronounced uh-SHO-la), Shithead (sha-THAYD), and Abcde (AB-sa-day).
- Grumpy Old Man
- He Also Did: Black is also an accomplished playwright, having written over forty of them. And not all of them are about things that piss him off.
- If I Wanted X, I Would Y
- J Word Privileges: He takes full advantage of his ability to mock Judaism. "If you have any questions about the Old Testament, there are Jews who walk among you. And I guarantee they will take time out of their Jewy, Jewy day to answer any questions you may have...if the price is right."
- Large Ham: Even when you can't see him--he's the voice of the unseen Mister E on Scooby Doo Mystery Inc.
- Los Angeles: Doesn't like the place. Has stories about how the first time he went, there was an earthquake, and about the time CBS flew him there to audition for a character derived from his stage persona.
- It gets even funnier when he reveals that CBS found someone else to portray him. Read: They found a better Lewis Black than Lewis Black.
- Madden Into Misanthropy
- Madness Mantra: "If it weren't for my horse, I wouldn't have spent that year in college."
- Mean Character, Nice Actor: Obviously he's not like that all the time. As he explains it in interviews, he gets it out of his system on stage, so that he can function normally in the world without his head exploding.
- Although it isn't unheard of for him to jokingly insult fans with what more tame comics would consider horrible obscenities. Example: "Take the picture, you fucking prick!"
- Media Watchdogs
The bill also prohibits "compound use, including hyphenated compounds ? and other grammatical forms including verb, adjective, gerund, participle, and infinitive forms." Fortunately for me, they didn't include the pluperfect subjunctive. So all you stuffed shirts can just have been having had to bite me.
—On H.R. 3687, intended to expand the definition of "profane broadcasts".
- Mind Screw: The sight of a Starbucks coffee house across the street from another Starbucks coffee house did irreparable damage to his sanity.
- My New Gift Is Lame: The reason he hates Hanukkah.
- New York City: "I love New York City. The reason I live in New York City is because it's the loudest city on the planet Earth. It's so loud I never have to listen to any of the shit that's going on in my own head."
- No Indoor Voice- Not just limited to speaking. As Jon Stewart pointed out, Black can somehow manage to yell in print form.
- Noodle Incident: He claims to have overheard someone say "If it weren't for my horse, I would never have spent that year in college" in an IHOP, and to have been baffled, enraged, and driven to insanity. One of his rants tells of a long-winded story which ends with him repeating this phrase just before he passes out.
- Pet the Dog: If you read his books, there are many moments when he sincerely praises someone or something, in contrast to his default state of rage.
- Shaggy Dog Story: Flown to Los Angeles to audition to play himself, passed over for someone who the suits claimed gave a better audition, and then the show was never made anyway.
- Time Stands Still: Trope Namer
- Viva Las Vegas: "The best time to visit Las Vegas is during Christmastime, because nothing beats sitting around, watching people gamble, while they play Christmas carols."
"Those audiences are wonderful. Talk about the most bitter group of people on the planet Earth. For one brief, shining moment, I am Mr. Happy."
- Your Costume Needs Work: He once auditioned to play a character based on himself in a friend's sitcom. He didn't get the part.
"Unbeknownst to me, there was a BETTER ME!"