Lewis Black — The Emperor’s New Clothes: The Naked Truth Tour, which played the Durham Performing Arts Center last Friday night, was chock-full of acerbic observational humor. It was a homecoming of sorts for comic icon Lewis Black, who attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill back in the day. He didn’t mention it, but rumor has it that he still has a house in Chapel Hill.
The room was ready for him; and when he mentioned his UNC affiliation, with the passionate alumni from so many schools in the audience, the cheers and boos commenced. In his Lewis Black way, he scowled at the audience, wagged his middle finger at them, and told them, “Oh, f*** off!” The crowd ate it up.
After talking about his days in school and how Durham has changed, he exclaimed, “Enjoy it now before they f*** it up!” We really enjoyed his story about the tours at American Tobacco back in those days.
Black is everyone’s curmudgeonly uncle — a little pissed, outspoken and, these days, a little tired of it all. He joked about getting out of the business, as he believes it is the job of a comic to take reality and make it absurd; and as he sees it, life is almost too absurd to even need a comic to frame it!
Black’s observations covered gun control, politics, global warming, and dating — all done with anger and fist shaking and disbelief. Black is not afraid to be politically incorrect; and when the going gets tough, he simply dishes out an expletive and moves on.
A registered Independent voter, Lewis Black stated that the Democrats are dumb … but Republicans are stupid. The difference? When a Democrat starts talking, after the first few minutes, you just drift off, because what they say was nonsense and it goes on and on and on. But when Republicans start talking, according to Black, they make no sense from the moment they open their mouths.
Sprinkled throughout his act were articles that he had seen in the newspapers, such as one about a woman who held up a pharmacy by spraying breast milk at the two pharmacists before opening the cash register and fleeing. Says Black, “What the f***!” Really, where do you go from there?!? (He seemed to be intimating something about the gun-control debate at this point.)
During one segment, Lewis Black took instant messages from folks watching live from around the world. It was our least favorite part of the evening, as his scrolling through the list of random comments dulled the audience a little and really did not add much to the night.
All in all, it was a nice, long set of angry, wry commentary from a seasoned professional. Black’s opening act, John Bowman, did a fine job of warming up the DPAC crowd for Black. Bowman’s comments on (and mimicry of) political candidates were hilarious. His 30-minute set concluded with, “So, folks ask me all of the time what it is like touring with Black”. He said, without missing a beat, “It’s terrible”. The crowd howled. Bowman and Black were made for one another.
Lewis Black (comedian): http://www.lewisblack.com/ (official website), http://www.ibdb.com/Person/View/96230 (Internet Broadway Database), http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0085400/ (Internet Movie Database), https://www.facebook.com/thelewisblack/ (Facebook page), https://twitter.com/thelewisblack (Twitter page), and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lewis_Black (Wikipedia), and https://www.youtube.com/user/officiallewisblack (YouTube).
John Bowman (comedian): http://main.standuprecords.com/artist/john-bowman/ (Stand Up! Records bio), http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0101337/ (Internet Movie Database), and https://www.facebook.com/John-Bowman-comedian-151581618185376/ (Facebook page).
[RUN HAS CONCLUDED.]
Pamela Vesper has been a Raleigh resident for more than 20 years. A local attorney for licensed professionals, when she’s not in court, Pam can be found watching or participating in local theater productions or enjoying the vibrant Raleigh music and craft beer scene. She also loves indie and foreign films and was an anchor on the local cable show, Movie Minutes. Pam has an opinion on just about everything; just ask her. Kurt Benrud is a graduate of Cary High School and N.C. State University, and he has taught English at both. He first became involved in local theater in 1980. He has served on the board of directors for both the Cary Players and the Cary Playwrights’ Forum. He is also a volunteer reader with Triangle Radio Reading Service. Click here to read their reviews for Triangle Review and Triangle Arts and Entertainment.