One thing comedian Lewis Black knows is that this country needs more focus if it is to solve its problems.
Therefore, he told Art Attack, doctors should stop give Attention Deficit Disorder drugs to teenagers. "I know everybody in the country has ADD because the FDA has announced we're running out of ADD drugs. They're giving these drugs to kids,. Screw it; they don't need it. Adults need it. We're the people who need to get stuff done. Add an extra year of high school and take away the drugs."
The perpetually upset Black is headed back to Houston for his latest show -- which, he emphasizes -- is not the same as In God We Rust, now playing on Comedy Central and available on DVD.
His Houston show, he says, is mostly about social issues, with more than a sprinkling of politics.
In his usual curmudgeonly fashion he bashes both U.S. presidential contenders: "This is about as useless a campaign as I've ever watched. Each in their own way have a certain quality of uselessness. I don't want to hear it any more."
In the course of a couple conversations -- we finished the interview and then he called back to confess he'd left out some important "stuff" while admitting to not feeling well ("I'm hungover because last night was my birthday. It was a little too much celebrating.") -- Black said his stint at the Alley Theatre in 1990 (he wrote the musical The Czar of Rock and Roll) had finally convinced him to take up life as a comic full time. ("Working at the Alley was the final straw.")
What followed were some classic one-liners:
"The problem with Obama is that he didn't put his foot down and he's distant. He's so smart and he thinks so much. He's so inside his own head that he's actually forgotten that we're really here. "
"I was never disillusioned. I don't know what the hell people thought. Great, we elected a black president. We're going to go 20 years ahead of what anyone expected. Now the Republicans respond -- for every action there's an equal opposite reaction. Let's find the whitest man ever to run. He makes George Bush Jr. look Jamaican."
He also admitted to actually being a politician for a while, successfully running for student senate in North Carolina when he was 21. (" I lasted eight weeks. I found it intolerable.")
Advice for up and coming comics?
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"Do it to do it again. Get up wherever you can; I don't care where it is. There are very few who are naturals. The only way you stay into it is to do it. Worry about what you're going to do on stage and not who you're fucking networking with."
Asked for any final words of wisdom, Black responded:
"Fuck reality television."
Lewis Black will perform at the Hobby Center, 800 Bagby, 8 p.m. September 22. For ticket information go to lewisblack.com or contact the Hobby Center website or call 713-315-2525.