Lewis Black

Last updated
Lewis Black
Lewis Black Aviano 2.jpg
Birth nameLewis Niles Black
Born (1948-08-30) August 30, 1948 (age 70)
Washington, D.C., U.S.
Medium
Education
Years active1981–present
Genres
Subject(s)
Website lewisblack.com

Lewis Niles Black [1] (born August 30, 1948) [2] is an American stand-up comedian, author, playwright, social critic and actor. He is best known for his angry demeanour and belligerent comedic style, in which he often simulates having a mental breakdown. His comedy routines often escalate into angry rants about history, politics, religion, or any other cultural trends. He hosted the Comedy Central series Lewis Black's Root of All Evil and makes regular appearances on The Daily Show with Trevor Noah delivering his "Back in Black" commentary segment, which he has been doing since The Daily Show was hosted by Craig Kilborn.

Comedy Central American cable and satellite television channel

Comedy Central is an American pay television channel owned by Viacom Global Entertainment Group, a unit of the Viacom Media Networks division of Viacom, and based in Manhattan. The channel is geared for mature audiences and carries comedy programming in the form of both original, licensed, and syndicated series, stand-up comedy specials, and feature films.

<i>Lewis Blacks Root of All Evil</i> television series

Lewis Black's Root of All Evil is an American television series that premiered on March 12, 2008, on Comedy Central and was hosted by comedian Lewis Black. The series producer was Scott Carter from Real Time with Bill Maher and the writer was David Sacks from The Simpsons. Sometimes there were pre-recorded video segments directed by supervising producer Michael Addis.

The Daily Show is an American late-night talk and news satire television program. It airs each Monday through Thursday on Comedy Central. Describing itself as a fake news program, The Daily Show draws its comedy and satire from recent news stories, political figures, media organizations, and often uses self-referential humor as well.

Contents

When not on the road performing, Black resides in Manhattan, but also maintains a residence in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. He is also a spokesman for the Aruba Tourism Authority, appearing in television ads that first aired in late 2009 and 2010, as well as the voice of Anger in 2015's Pixar film, Inside Out . He was voted 51st of the 100 greatest stand-up comedians of all time by Comedy Central in 2004; he was voted 5th in Comedy Central's Stand Up Showdown in 2008 and 11th in 2010. Black has served as an "ambassador for voting rights" for the American Civil Liberties Union, since 2013. [3]

Manhattan Borough in New York City and county in New York, United States

Manhattan, often referred to locally as the City, is the most densely populated of the five boroughs of New York City and its economic and administrative center, cultural identifier, and historical birthplace. The borough is coextensive with New York County, one of the original counties of the U.S. state of New York. The borough consists mostly of Manhattan Island, bounded by the Hudson, East, and Harlem rivers; several small adjacent islands; and Marble Hill, a small neighborhood now on the U.S. mainland, physically connected to the Bronx and separated from the rest of Manhattan by the Harlem River. Manhattan Island is divided into three informally bounded components, each aligned with the borough's long axis: Lower, Midtown, and Upper Manhattan.

Chapel Hill, North Carolina town in Orange County, North Carolina, United States

Chapel Hill is a town in Orange, Chatham, and Durham counties in the U.S. state of North Carolina. Its population was 57,233 in the 2010 census, making Chapel Hill the 15th-largest city in the state. Chapel Hill, Durham, and the state capital, Raleigh, make up the corners of the Research Triangle, with a total population of 1,998,808.

North Carolina State of the United States of America

North Carolina is a state located in the southeastern region of the United States. North Carolina is the 28th largest and 9th-most populous of the 50 United States. North Carolina is bordered by Virginia to the north, the Atlantic Ocean to the east, Georgia and South Carolina to the south, and Tennessee to the west. Raleigh is the state's capital and Charlotte is its largest city. The Charlotte metropolitan area, with an estimated population of 2,569,213 in 2018, is the most populous metropolitan area in North Carolina and the 23rd-most populous in the United States and the largest banking center in the nation after New York City. North Carolina's second largest metropolitan area is the Research Triangle, which is home to the largest research park in the United States.

Early life

Black was born in Washington, D.C., [4] the son of Jeannette, a teacher, and Sam Black (1918–2019), an artist and mechanical engineer. [5] He was raised in a middle-class Jewish family in Silver Spring, Maryland, [6] graduating from Springbrook High School in 1966. [7]

Silver Spring, Maryland Census-designated place in Maryland, United States

Silver Spring is an unincorporated community, village bordering Washington, D.C., and census-designated place located inside the Capital Beltway in Montgomery County, Maryland, United States. It had a population of 79,483, according to the 2017 official estimate by the United States Census Bureau, making it the fourth most populous place in Maryland, after Baltimore, Columbia, and Germantown, and the second largest in Montgomery County after Germantown. Inner Silver Spring consists of the following neighborhoods: Downtown Silver Spring, East Silver Spring, Woodside, North Woodside, Woodside Park, North Hills Sligo Park, Long Branch, Montgomery Knolls, Franklin Knolls, Indian Spring Terrace, Indian Spring Village, Clifton Park Village, New Hampshire Estates, Oakview, and Woodmoor. Outer Silver Spring consist of the following neighborhoods: Four Corners, Wheaton, Glenmont, Forest Glen, Aspen Hill, Hillandale, White Oak, Colesville, Colesville Park, Cloverly, Calverton, Briggs Chaney, Greencastle, Northwood Park, Sunset Terrace, Fairland, Lyttonsville, and Kemp Mill.

Springbrook High School is an American public high school, located in unincorporated Montgomery County, Maryland. It is located within the White Oak census-designated place, and has a Silver Spring mailing address. It is between the Colesville and White Oak communities.

Black recounts in his book Nothing's Sacred that he scored highly on the math section of his SAT exam and later applied to Yale, Princeton, Brown, Amherst, Williams, and Georgetown. Every college he applied to except Georgetown rejected him, and by that point he had decided he did not want to go there, so he spent a year at University of Maryland before transferring to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. There, he studied playwriting and was a brother of Pi Lambda Phi International fraternity and a member of Student Congress. [8] After graduating in 1970, he returned to Washington, where he worked at the Appalachian Regional Commission, wrote plays, and performed stand-up comedy at the Brickskeller in Dupont Circle. [2]

Princeton University University in Princeton, New Jersey

Princeton University is a private Ivy League research university in Princeton, New Jersey. Founded in 1746 in Elizabeth as the College of New Jersey, Princeton is the fourth-oldest institution of higher education in the United States and one of the nine colonial colleges chartered before the American Revolution. The institution moved to Newark in 1747, then to the current site nine years later, and renamed itself Princeton University in 1896.

Brown University University in Providence, Rhode Island

Brown University is a private Ivy League research university in Providence, Rhode Island. Founded in 1764 as the College in the English Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, it is the seventh-oldest institution of higher education in the United States and one of the nine colonial colleges chartered before the American Revolution.

Amherst College liberal arts college in Massachusetts

Amherst College is a private liberal arts college in Amherst, Massachusetts. Founded in 1821 as an attempt to relocate Williams College by its then-president Zephaniah Swift Moore, Amherst is the third oldest institution of higher education in Massachusetts. The institution was named after the town, which in turn had been named after Jeffery, Lord Amherst. Originally established as a men's college, Amherst became coeducational in 1975.

He earned an MFA degree at the Yale School of Drama in 1977, and was married for ten months when he was 26 years old. [2] [9]

A Master of Fine Arts is a creative degree in fine arts, including visual arts, creative writing, graphic design, photography, filmmaking, dance, theatre, other performing arts and in some cases, theatre management or arts administration. It is a graduate degree that typically requires two to three years of postgraduate study after a bachelor's degree, though the term of study varies by country or university. The MFA is a terminal degree. Coursework is primarily of an applied or performing nature with the program often culminating in a major work or performance. The first university to admit a student to the degree of Master of Fine Arts was the University of Iowa in 1940.

Yale School of Drama

The Yale School of Drama is a graduate professional school of Yale University located in New Haven, Connecticut. Founded in 1924 as the Department of Drama in the School of Fine Arts, the school provides training in every discipline of the theatre: acting, design, directing, dramaturgy and dramatic criticism, playwriting, stage management, technical design and production, and theatre management.

Black's career began in theater as a playwright. He served as the playwright-in-residence and associate artistic director of Steve Olsen's West Bank Cafe Downstairs Theatre Bar in Hell's Kitchen in New York City, where he collaborated with composer and lyricist Rusty Magee and artistic director Rand Foerster on hundreds of one-act plays from 1981 to 1989. Also with Rusty Magee, Black wrote the musical The Czar of Rock and Roll, which premiered at Houston's Alley Theatre in 1990. Black's stand-up comedy began as an opening act for the plays; he was also the master of ceremonies. After a management change at the theater, Black left and began working as a comedian, as well as finding bit parts in television and films.

Hells Kitchen, Manhattan Neighborhood of Manhattan in New York City

Hell's Kitchen, sometimes known as Clinton, is a neighborhood on the West Side of Midtown Manhattan in New York City. It is traditionally considered to be bordered by 34th Street to the south, 59th Street to the north, Eighth Avenue to the east, and the Hudson River to the west. The area provides transport, medical, and warehouse-infrastructure support to Midtown's business district.

Rusty Magee American composer, academic and comedian

Benjamin Rush "Rusty" Magee was an accomplished comedian, actor and composer/lyricist for theatre, television, film and commercials.

Alley Theatre theater company and theater in Houston, Texas, United States

The Alley Theatre is a Tony Award-winning theatre company in Houston, Texas. It is the oldest professional theatre company in Texas and the third oldest resident theatre in the United States. Alley Theatre productions have played on Broadway at Lincoln Center, toured more than 40 American cities, and played internationally in Berlin, Paris, and St. Petersburg.

Comedic style

Black's style of comedy is that of a man who, in dealing with the absurdities of life and contemporary politics, is approaching his personal limits of sanity. His techniques include sarcasm, hyperbole, profanity, shouting and his trademark angry finger-shaking, which bring emphasis to his topics of discussion. He once described his humor as "being on the Titanic every single day and being the only person who knows what is going to happen." [10]

Black has described his political affiliation as: "I'm a socialist, so that puts me totally outside any concept...the Canadians get it. But seriously, most people don't get it. The idea of capping people's income just scares people. 'Oh, you're taking money from the rich.' Ooh, what a horrifying thing. These people really need $200 million". [11]

Black lists his comedic influences as George Carlin, Lenny Bruce, Richard Pryor, Lily Tomlin, Bill Hicks, Bob Newhart and Shelley Berman. [12]

Career

Stand-up comedy

In 1998, Black starred in his first comedy special on the series Comedy Central Presents. He starred in two additional episodes of the series in 2000 and 2002. He starred in another special for the network in 2002, titled Taxed Beyond Belief.

In 2004 and 2005, Black hosted the World Stupidity Awards ceremony at Montreal's Just for Laughs comedy festival.

In 2004, he had an HBO stand-up special titled Black on Broadway. Black hosted Comedy Central's Last Laugh '07, which aired on December 2, 2007 along with Dave Attell and D.L. Hughley.

In 2006, Black performed at the Warner Theatre in Washington, D.C. for an HBO special, Red, White, and Screwed. It aired in June and a DVD was released in October. When explaining his choice of venue, Black said that "some asshole" was paid to count the number of times the word "fuck" was said in his previous HBO special, Black On Broadway, and that the original location, the Kennedy Center, wanted him to cut back on its use. Black was told the number was 42, when actually it was approximately 78.[ citation needed ]

Black received a 2007 Grammy award for "Best Comedy Album" for his album The Carnegie Hall Performance . [13]

Black hosted the Comedy Central television series The Root of All Evil in 2008. The show pitted two people or pop-culture topics against each other as a panel of comedians argued, in the style of a court trial, which is more evil, e.g., "Paris Hilton vs. Dick Cheney" and "Internet Porn vs. YouTube". After hearing arguments from both sides, Black, acting as judge, made the final decision as to which is more evil. [14]

In 2008, Black hosted History of the Joke with Lewis Black, [15] a 2-hour comedy-documentary on The History Channel.

Comedy Central's "Stand-Up Month" in 2008 featured specials originally presented on HBO by Black, along with programs featuring Dane Cook and Chris Rock. That year, as part of Comedy Central's "Stand-Up Month", Black's routine finished at #5 on "Stand-Up Showdown 2008", a viewer-based countdown of the top Comedy Central Presents routine.

In 2009, Black filmed two shows at the Fillmore Theater in Detroit, Michigan. These were the basis for the concert film Stark Raving Black, which appeared in theaters for a limited time in October, and was released on video the next year. [16]

At the end of 2009, Black returned to the History Channel to host Surviving the Holidays with Lewis Black, in which he discussed the year-end pressures of Thanksgiving, Channukah, Christmas, and New Year's.

In 2011, Black filmed two shows at the State Theatre in Minneapolis, MN. [17] The shows were used for Black's comedy special "In God We Rust". The special premiered on Epix HD. [18]

An extended and uncensored version of the special broadcast on Epix HD was released on DVD and Blu-ray on September 11, 2011. [19]

In August 2013, Black recorded his ninth stand-up special Old Yeller: Live at the Borgata . Deadline reported that Black and the company that was releasing the stand-up special, Image Entertainment, would later air it in the form of pay-per-view and VOD, making it the first comedy special to air simultaneously on all cable, satellite and telco platforms. [20]

Film and television career

Black appeared in episode 25 "Aria" (1991) of Law and Order as porn director Franklin Frome, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit episode "Obscene" (2004) as a shock jock, and in The Big Bang Theory episode "The Jiminy Conjecture" (2009) as Professor Crawley, an entomologist. He also released his autobiography, Nothing's Sacred , in 2005. Since November 9, 2005, Black has been making appearances in small segments on The Weather Channel. In December 2005, he appeared in an animated holiday special The Happy Elf , as the voice of the extremely tightly wound elf, Norbert.

In the film Accepted , a film about high school graduates who create a college when they fail to get accepted into any, he played Dean Ben Lewis of the school "South Harmon Institute of Technology". He also appeared in the 2006 films Man of the Year and Unaccompanied Minors . Black hosted Comedy Central's Last Laugh '06, which aired on December 10, 2006.

Voice acting

Black was the voice of "Manobrain" during the third season of the Cartoon Network series "Duck Dodgers". He was the inventor of a diet pill which was stolen while he was in college. He blamed the theft on his college friend Dr. I. Q. Hi, not realizing that the actual thief was Duck Dodgers. The theft set Manobrain on the path of evil.

Black provided the voice of the Deadly Duplicator in four episodes of the Adult Swim show Harvey Birdman: Attorney at Law and in the video game based on the show.

Black provided the voice of oxpecker Ted in the My Gym Partner's a Monkey episode, "Hornbill and Ted's Bogus Journey". The character is portrayed in the same fashion as his comedy shows, though without profanity. In addition, the bird's clothes, looks, and mannerisms match those of himself. He also voiced Mr. E/Ricky Owens in Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated and in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles a middle-aged man named Vic who is kidnapped by the Krang and mutated into a spider-like monster called "Spider-Bytez" by Michelangelo. He also voiced Anger in the Pixar film Inside Out . He also guest starred as the voice of Santa Claus in the SpongeBob SquarePants episode, "Goons on the Moon."

Tours

On June 18, 2007, he sat in with Southern rock/Jam band Gov't Mule at the 6th annual Bonnaroo music festival, where he had performed earlier that weekend, for what was to be a quick joke. A member of the audience threw a bottle at Black, which struck him. Black was upset and he encouraged the audience to boo the heckler before leaving the stage in disgust, while shouting obscenities at the heckler. This act was seen in an episode of Lewis Black's Root of All Evil titled "YouTube vs. Porn".

On June 29, 2007, Black gave a benefit show at Springbrook High School, his alma mater, in the school's auditorium for 1,100 alumni, faculty, and students. He performed in his usual style, stopping at points to remark how good it felt to use that language on that particular stage. At the end of the show he was given a Springbrook football jersey, and cursed at one teacher for giving him a B and causing him not to graduate first in his class.

In mid-December 2007, Black went with Robin Williams, Kid Rock, Lance Armstrong and Rachel Smith, Miss USA 2007, on a USO trip to support the troops in Iraq and Kuwait. The last show was on 22 December at the U.S Naval Station in Rota, Spain.

Black helped create the annual Carolina Comedy Festival at his alma mater, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.[ citation needed ]

In 2008, Black went on tour to promote his book Me of Little Faith. [21] Black did a stand-up tour called "Let Them Eat Cake", with material from that tour being featured on his comedy album Anticipation .

Beginning in January 2010, Black embarked on a new tour called "In God We Rust".

2016 - The Emperor's New Clothes - The Naked Truth tour. [22]

2018 - The Joke's On Us Tour. [23]

The Naked Teen Voyeur Bus

Lewis Black at "Stand Up for Heroes" Black, Lewis (USGov).jpg
Lewis Black at "Stand Up for Heroes"

In 2000, Black and fellow comedian Jim Norton were arrested for their involvement with "The Naked Teen Voyeur Bus", [24] a specially designed bus with acrylic glass walls containing numerous 18- and 19-year-old topless women. This bus was driven around Manhattan while reports about it were broadcast on the Opie and Anthony radio show. The radio station management did not inform the O&A show that the bus's route was also the route that President Clinton was using that day. Twenty-eight hours after their arrest, Black and Norton were released. Black appeared on The Daily Show the following night where he stated he was exercising his constitutional rights. He then joked that the location of this particular right was unclear, but that it was "between 'all men are created equal' and 'don't shit where you eat.'" [25]

Published works

Media releases

CDs

DVDs

Filmography

Film

YearTitleRoleNotes
1986 Hannah and Her Sisters Paul
1990 Jacob's Ladder Jacob's doctor
1991 The Hard Way Banker
1993 The Night We Never Met Marty Holder
1993 Joey Breaker Pete Grimm
2000Sidesplitters: The Burt & Dick StoryBurtShort film
2002American DummyClub OwnerShort film
2003The GynecologistsCookie LaMotteShort film
2006 Accepted Ben Lewis
2006 Man of the Year Eddie Langston
2006 Falling for Grace Rob York
2006 Unaccompanied Minors Oliver Porter
2007 Farce of the Penguins Jimmy
2007 Falling for Grace Rob York
2008 History of the Joke NarratorDocumentary
2008No Free LunchLewisShort film
2008What Blows Up Must Come Down!Furry MurrayShort film
2009Ollie & the Baked HalibutBaked HalibutShort film
2010 Peep World Narrator
2011 Afghan Luke Himself
2013Comedy Warriors: Healing through Humor [26] [27] Himself
2015Introducing Parker DowdDrewShort film
2015 Inside Out AngerVoice
2015 Riley's First Date? AngerShort film; voice
2015Stereotypically YouCharlie's Therapist
2016 Rock Dog LinnuxVoice
2016Better Off SingleTherapist
2017Imitation GirlLew
2019 The Last Laugh Max Becker

Television

YearTitleRoleNotes
1990–1991 The Days and Nights of Molly Dodd Bernie5 episodes
1991 Law & Order Director Franklin FromeSeason 2, Episode 3: "Aria"
1996–present The Daily Show Commentator"Back in Black" segment [28]
1997 Homicide: Life on the Street Laslo "Punchy" DeleonEpisode: "Deception"
1997 Mad About You The Pizza SliceSeason 6, Episode 7: "Le Sex Show"
2003 The Brak Show Brain Slug / Zorak2 episodes
2004 Law & Order: Special Victims Unit BJ CameronEpisode: "Obscene"
2005 Duck Dodgers ManobrainVoice only; one episode
2005 The Happy Elf NorbertVoice
TV movie
2005–2007 Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law The Deadly Duplicator, ElliottVoice only; four episodes
2006Lewis Black: Red, White & Screwed [29] HimselfHBO comedy special
2007 My Gym Partner's a Monkey TedVoice only; Episode 36: "Hornbill and Ted's Bogus Journey"
2008 Lewis Black's Root of All Evil Himself
2009 The Big Bang Theory Dr. CrawleySeason 3, Episode 2: "The Jiminy Conjecture"
2010 Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated Mr. E/Ricky OwensVoice only
2011 Robotomy Gore-AxVoice only; single episode ("Mean Green")
2011 The Penguins of Madagascar DaleVoice only, episode: "Arch-Enemy/The Big S.T.A.N.K."
2012–2014 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Spider Bytez / VicVoice only; two episodes
2016 Madoff Ezra MerkinMiniseries
2016 Crisis in Six Scenes Al2 episodes
2017 Be Cool, Scooby-Doo! Mayor Stoughton (voice)Episode: "World of Witchcraft"
2017 The President Show Trump's PsycheEpisode: "Joe Cirincione"
2018 SpongeBob SquarePants Santa ClausEpisode: “Goons on the Moon”, guest voice

Video games

YearTitleRole
2008 Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law The Deadly Duplicator
2015 Disney Infinity 3.0 [30] Anger

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References

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