Are you completely satisfied with the state of the government? If so, carry on.
If you’re like the rest of us, then you may have a bone or two to pick with the folks in Washington.
Fortunately, a man who has been tearing our leaders a new one for the past 20 years is on the job, and does he have ammo this time around.
That man is Lewis Black, Grammy Award-winning stand-up comedian, “Daily Show” correspondent and professional ranter. His aptly named tour is called “The Rant is Due,” and the buck stops Nov. 13 at the Mahalia Jackson Theater.
Black does not mince words. In fact, he’s made a career of calling it like he sees it. To him, Democrats are dumb, Republicans are stupid and Congress is a disaster area.
“The theme of this tour is that we don’t have a government, we have Groundhog’s Day. We wake up and it’s the same thing over and over again. We wake up and say, ‘Hey, what are we not going to do today?’ ” Black said.
While Black is known for long, acidic musings that are as incendiary as they are hilarious, this tour will give audience members the chance to vent as well.
“Once the audience comes in, they can basically send out over their phone any question, gripe, complaint, anything they want to get off their chest, or anything they’ve always wanted to ask me or want answered. Recently, somebody wrote, ‘What is the meaning of life?’ I said, ‘Good luck.’ ”
This kind of interactive Q&A format is something Black has wanted to do for a long time. It’s a win for the audience as well, who won’t just be sitting and listening to Black tell the same jokes they heard him tell on TV.
“I get to do material that I don’t normally get to do. I get to talk about my sex life, which I don’t normally get to do because, where do you put it? You can’t really go, ‘That president, oh boy … now here’s something about my penis!’ ”
Black’s trademark angry rants on everything from politics to candy corn (which is, in his estimation, the world’s most disgusting candy) have become such a part of his image that when Pixar needed an actor to play the literal embodiment of anger itself for its upcoming movie “Inside Out,” they called Black.
“It’s about a 12-year-old girl who’s taken from Minneapolis to San Francisco, and the life changes that she goes through and the five emotions in her head, and her responses to this stuff. And the cast is stupefying because it’s Amy Poehler (“Parks and Recreation”) and Bill Hader (“Saturday Night Live”) and Mindy Kaling (“The Mindy Project”) and Phyllis Smith (“The Office”). It’s good.”
One continuing source of anger and disappointment for Black is that, so far at least, the much-hyped twenty-first century has been a letdown.
“I was really interested in the twenty-first century because I’ve been told all my life how great this century was going to be … and it’s a total bust, and I’m not happy about it. … You hear this is going to be spectacular, and you wake up and it’s here, and it is, and it’s worthless. There’s no change. It’s like the difference between 1899 and 1900.”
One thing Black can’t really gripe about, no matter how he may want to, is the stiff competition New Orleans’ music scene poses to touring comedians like himself. But while live music can be a great way to unwind after a hard day, so can sharing your frustrations with a live audience.
“Take one night off from music and see a comic. The tough thing about New Orleans is, you know, I love this city and I embrace it … but it’s a music town. You should know that comedy is music but it’s got a different delivery system … and tell ’em that my opening act plays the ukulele. Maybe that’ll help.”