No matter the stupidity, or the injustice, Lewis Black, the most indignant, exasperated man in America, will find it and tell us about it. We laugh until our organs ache and it the stupid, illogical or unjust-loses a little power. It’s all in the telling, and Black, who basks in his weekly “Back in Black” segment on “The Daily Show” as the most acerbic of commentators, is a great storyteller.
Born and raised on the Eastern seaboard and educated at Yale, his gifts for storytelling led him to a career as an actor and playwright. Stage work took him all over the country, and included a stint as head of a repertory company that reclaimed a derelict theater in the wilds of Colorado and brought original plays to a grateful audience.
Upon his return to the nearly-as-wild wilds of Manhattan’s Hell’s Kitchen, Black ran the West Bank Café Downstairs Theater Bar for eight years, where he continued to write, produce and perform as well as showcase new talent. It was his work there that brought him to the attention of critics and audiences throughout the city, and soon, to larger, more famous stages. He now rules the roost at the biggest clubs in the country and is one of the most sought-after headliners on the college circuit.
He continues to act, working in film-schedules and patience permitting – Like Woody Allen’s HANNAH AND HER SISTERS, JACOB’S LADDER and THE NIGHT WE NEVER MET. In television, he has guest-starred on “Homicide,” “Law and Order” and “Mad About You’. And he devotes time to the legitimate theater, spending summers among rapt students at the Williamstown Theater Festival.
In the scarce amount of free time Black has left, he gives back to both the theater community and the community at large. He works diligently with the 52nd Street Project as a professional mentor teaching inner-city kids in Hell’s Kitchen how to act in and write original plays. Black is also an ardent fundraiser for several scholarship programs, including the William Foeller Scholarship at the Williamstown Theater Festival, and he is actively involved in raising awareness and funding for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.
While scripts arrive regularly on his oft-ignored doorstep, Black’s focus for what he insists was a hugely disappointing turn-of-the-millennium is comedy. He is developing a new series, in which he will star, for Castle Rock Entertainment, and along with his Tuesday night harangues on “The Daily Show,” he appears regularly on the “Late Night with Conan O’Brien.”
Black makes his home in Manhattan and spends his free time trying to find the perfect spot for his latest acquisition, an American Comedy Awards for “Viewers’ Choice Stand-up Comic.