Trump gives Lewis Black plenty to rage about

The comedian brings his 'Rant, White and Blue' tour to the Taft Theatre.

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click to enlarge Lewis Black vents about Republican views. - Photo: Provided
Photo: Provided
Lewis Black vents about Republican views.
“I was wandering around the country and saw that there are people out there that are really angry about shit,” says comedian Lewis Black, who brings his Rant, White, and Blue tour to the Taft Theatre this Thursday. “And I wondered, ‘What are they so angry about?’ It’s because nobody was paying attention to them. They disenfranchised a ton of people and those people rose up and said, ‘Go fuck yourselves!’ What do they expect?”

The current political climate, it would seem, would be great for Black’s brand of politically astute, sometimes-enraged comedy. But, he says, it hasn’t been, because it’s hard to satirize a situation — the Trump presidency — that already is a joke. 

“I probably have the same business,” Black says. “Maybe in some places it’s increased the crowds, but it’s not good. I mean, this reality is satire. We’re living in satire. Why is it so weird every day? Because it’s something you should be reading about in a book; you shouldn’t be living it.”

Indeed, back at the start of the second Iraq War, Black wasn’t shy about saying that people in George W. Bush’s administration were out of their minds. How much simpler the world seemed then, Black believes. 

“This is beyond drugs; this is totally beyond them,” he says. “I used to do my share of hallucinogens. This reality never occurred to me.” 

But in retrospect, Black believes it makes sense. “Particularly since the Iraq War, we don’t want to do anything anymore, and we just keep finding new and more intriguing ways to not accomplish anything,” he says.

Black’s biggest question about that war, which hasn’t really ended, remains unanswered. “I was asking, ‘Has anyone checked to see if we have the money to do this?’ And we didn’t. How these people truly don’t realize the financial effect of that war is beyond my comprehension. The whole thing is really extraordinary.” 

In a strange way, the Trump administration isn’t a total surprise to him. “You want to pick someone to go to Washington to shake things up and I get that, because I agree with it,” Black says. “But at least show the common sense to pick someone who knows where to put the dynamite.”

Instead, he believes we got a dog with different fleas, as Gordon Gekko says in the film Wall Street. “If we don’t have a war, then we spend our time trying to figure out who’s taking advantage of us within the country,” Black says. “And the fact of the matter is, every country has a group of people that game the system.”

Black is stunned that the angry Americans who voted for Trump direct their wrath so inappropriately. 

“They focus on those who are at the poverty end of the spectrum,” he says. “Trump himself said he gamed the system, but it doesn’t seem to bother people. It’s (as if it’s) fine for rich people to game the system because they worked hard and made all that money. It’s nonsense.”

Black finds it hard to believe that angry conservatives who overlooked Trump’s sense of privilege and entitlement would get mad when Sen. Bernie Sanders, the progressive candidate for the Democratic Party nomination, would call for things like universal healthcare and free college tuition. 

“They act as if it would have no return for them,” Black says of conservatives. “Somehow, if there was universal healthcare, it would cheat them and they just can’t abide that.

“They’ve been so obsessed with nonsense. They act as if they had a mandate to repeal the Affordable Care Act but they didn’t because half the country still wanted it. What planet do you live on?”

As aggravating as the current political situation is, Black is calmed by one observation. 

“This is the last gasp of dinosaurs,” he says of the old white establishment in this country. “They’re going. Goodbye. They’re dying. The last group that was totally inseminated with the bullshit of the 1950s, with that kind of madness — this is the last gasp of it.”

Granted, he acknowledges, a few dinosaurs are hanging on for dear life — in and out of the White House. “But the ones who literally got the shot directly (to run the government) are going away, and hopefully that will make for a better world. I think it will.”


LEWIS BLACK performs 8 p.m. Thursday at the Taft Theatre. Tickets/more info: tafttheatre.org.

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