Lewis Black, Unmasked

The new season of Unmasked, XM satellite radio’s comedy interview program, debuts Saturday with an entertaining and enlightening retrospective on Lewis Black’s career. Host Ron Bennington recorded the interview with Black and a live studio audience last month at Comix in NYC, and if you miss it Saturday, XM will replay it several times in the coming week.

A few things I learned from the 90-minute interview that might perk your ears:

On achieving success in middle-age, Black says, "I wish it had happened a little earlier, at least when I didn’t need a nap to enjoy it." He says his big break came at age 40 at Montreal’s Just For Laughs festival. But he really knew his career had turned the corner one weekend playing Stanford’s comedy club in Kansas City, when, during a blizzard, he worried that they’d cancel the shows, only to find a line of fans waiting outside in the snowstorm to see him.

Did you know Lewis Black was in attendance on the Mall in Washington D.C. to see and hear the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s "I Have a Dream" speech?

Producing plays at the West Bank Cafe in Hell’s Village helped Black get comfortable onstage.

He’s still unhappy for getting passed over years ago to do "Weekend Update" on Saturday Night Live, after Kevin Nealon left the anchor desk. "That to this day pisses me off," he says.

Black predicts a much better second season for his new Comedy Central talker, Root of All Evil, when it airs in July. "I feel like if we do 8-10 more shows, we’ll have it," he says. "You can never judge anything on television from the first show."

Related: Lewis Black is on tour live this month, and then again in August. Find and buy tickets here!

Sean L. McCarthy

Editor and publisher since 2007, when he was named New York's Funniest Reporter. Former newspaper reporter at the New York Daily News, Boston Herald and smaller dailies and community papers across America. Loves comedy so much he founded this site.

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