Unblinded by Science

Lewis Black calls from a hotel room in Los Angeles. Taking a short break from his “The Rant is Due: Part Deux” tour, Black is in Hollywood to do some voice work on the new Pixar animated film Inside Out, in which he appropriately voices the charac

click to enlarge Lewis Black
Lewis Black

Lewis Black calls from a hotel room in Los Angeles. Taking a short break from his “The Rant is Due: Part Deux” tour, Black is in Hollywood to do some voice work on the new Pixar animated film Inside Out, in which he appropriately voices the character of Anger. He’s anxious to get back on the road, but he’s not looking forward to the cold weather he’s likely to encounter in some cities on the tour, which stops in Cincinnati at Taft Theatre Thursday.

“We went out at the beginning of year on the new tour and everywhere I go it snows,” he says.

If you listen to the climate skeptics, though, it means there is no global warming. Black laughs at that notion, then sighs.

“You can’t really argue,” he says. “All you have to do is say, ‘96 percent of the world’s climate scientists agree that climate change is happening.’ I don’t know what else to tell people. I don’t want to hear it anymore. I don’t listen to it. We don’t have time to discuss it.”

Even giving the deniers the benefit of the doubt, Black can’t understand why they wouldn’t still want to take action to save the planet.

“If you believe in the Bible,” he says, “God left us a garden and you’re supposed to keep the garden good.”

He recalls something he used to talk about in his act. “They used to have moats around the castle and they drank that water which was also their sewage system,” he says. “It took a scientist employed by the king to say, ‘You’ve got to stop shitting in the moat.’ ”

Black also can’t understand why some people in the 21st century are still not listening to scientists.

“They’re thinking, ‘Intelligence hasn’t worked, let’s try sheer ignorance,’ ” he says. “Whatever you do, don’t vaccinate your children. They almost completely wiped out measles in my lifetime and now it’s back again. We get more information and fewer facts.”

Elaborating on the vaccination issue, he adds, “You’re being bombarded by information. You can go to a website that says vaccinations are bad, and that’s their research. It’s beyond belief.”

No one wants to take away anyone’s freedom of choice, but Black points put that there are logical limits.

“Look, I’m sorry we have to deal with the common good,” he says. “As much as we want to protect everybody’s rights and freedoms, there is a point where you say, ‘I need to come into here, I need to go to the school, I need to know I’m not going to get sick.’ They scream about Ebola, but if there was an Ebola vaccination, they wouldn’t take the shot.”

That brings us to the 2016 election, and the jockeying the Republicans are already doing in search of their party’s nomination. Black has little interest.

“I think we have to stop talking about them because they don’t exist until they really start to run,” he says. “We’re getting nothing done in the present. It doesn’t do any good to talk about the future until we do something in the present where we’re actually active and we can actually get something on paper and done. Like a way to actually fix the highways — how we finance that has got to be done, I don’t care who’s running.”

In other words, he can’t wait for the next batch of candidates, on either side, to get in and hopefully take action.

“We really don’t have time for that. We haven’t had time for that kind of nonsense for 15 years,” he says. “We didn’t have time for it before the Iraq War. There were no major enemies on the outside and they were still fooling around and not getting anything done. Idiots.”

For the new tour, Black is trying something new on stage. It starts in typical Lewis Black fashion.

“I talk about President Obama and John Boehner, Harry Reid, Mitch McConnell, Nancy Pelosi — and you think something is going to get done, but then I go into their personalities and explain why stuff isn’t going to get done,” he says.

That’s followed in the second half of the show by a Q&A session.

“It’s me answering questions and we stream that part out live, so that changes every night,” he says. “Essentially I’m doing two shows.”

Fans unable to attend the performance or those who want to watch a Q&A from another city on the tour can stream that part of the show from therantisdue.com.


LEWIS BLACK performs Thursday at Taft Theatre. More info: tafttheatre.org.


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