Lewis Black, flustered? What else is new? But when Black phoned me from Atlanta, merely two days after Hurricane Katrina had flooded and ravaged New Orleans and southern Mississippi, he had plenty of new rants to direct toward the president.
"My favorite is this: He flew over it and said there’s a long recovery. What a, what a — brilliant!" Black told me. "He cut his vacation short. I’m surprised he even got up to look! But he had to — it was right next door. It’s chaos down there. There’s bodies floating. What do you expect people to do? That’s not normal. This is the kind of happy snappy stuff I’ll be doing onstage."
Fans of Black know that happy and snappy aren’t quite his forte. The 57-year-old has risen to national prominence through his Comedy Central appearances, foremost among them his "Back in Black" segments for The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. Black rants. A tragedy such as Katrina only fuels the fire that makes up his mad-as-hell, ain’t-gonna-take-it-anymore persona onstage. Cities such as New York, where he lives, and Boston tend to take to his attitude with a more welcoming attitude of their own. "There’s a bottom line of bitter in Boston comedy. I consider Boston the spiritual home of my comedy career," he said.