Comedian, actor and author Lewis Black finds it remarkable how the United States has ended up in a place where people are “living in two different realities.”
He is, of course, alluding to the impeachment inquiry faced by President Donald Trump and how the average American — depending on their political affiliation — regards it.
With that in mind, Black has a solution for the bitterness felt between both parties — a solution that sounds more like an idea for an apocalyptic reality show rather than a serious plan to restore civil discourse.
“I say we put [ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee] Devin Nunes and [chair of the House Intelligence Committee] Adam Schiff in a boat and tie them together,” Black, 71, told the Current. “Then, we should push them away from the shore and tell them, ‘When you’re both ready to speak to each other and find out the facts, then you can come back. If one of you dies in this process, the other one is allowed to eat you.’”
Although Black’s The Joke’s On Us Tour, which comes to the Majestic Theatre on Thursday, November 21, has little to do with politics, he was revved up during a recent phone interview to rant about today’s partisan climate.
Most Donald Trump detractors would say his presidency has been a continuation of what he did on his reality show prior to occupying the Oval Office. Would you agree?
Well, none of these people [in Congress] are very entertaining. They’re awful at what they do. They’re all bad actors, including the one everyone thinks is a reality star. This is like traffic-accident entertainment, and everyone is rubbernecking.
You’re a self-described socialist. Have you put your support behind Elizabeth Warren or Bernie Sanders for 2020?
No. My support is worthless. It’s like putting a rubber band under a brick. I was certainly for Bernie [in 2016]. I never had a candidate, so it was exciting. But it is ridiculous when [conservatives] paint the entire [Democratic] Party as socialists. Democrats do the same thing. They all need to just stop it! You don’t get to do this anymore! We’re adults. We know you’re full of shit.
Is there a common issue that everyone can rally around during the next year, or is it too late for Congress to try to get anything done?
What Americans really want — and it shouldn’t be difficult — is infrastructure. Just do that. Do something that shows that you actually have concern for what’s occurring in the rest of the country as opposed to the goddamn votes you think you’re going to get. No country has had more and been able to do less! They do more in Portugal with less! Come on! Grow the fuck up!
How do you fix it?
First of all, you bring back civics class, so when people go into a voting booth, they know what they’re voting for. Maybe when someone becomes president, they’ll have a concept of certain things they can’t do. Maybe some of the people who are in Congress — both sides — would know what they can do or at least know where to look — like the Constitution.
Why do you consider yourself a ‘pissed-off optimist?’
Because I know we can do better than this. That’s the only reason I’m angry. I’m angry because none of this is difficult. The men [in Congress] literally spend their day wondering, “Gee, how do I tie my dick in a knot?”
What’s your take on the “cancel culture” these days and how celebrities can be blacklisted on social media for doing or saying something that’s deemed offensive by a particular group?
I think it’s a case-by-case basis. You look at what happened to [former Sen.] Al Franken. He got caught in a tsunami. With [Supreme Court Justice] Brett Kavanaugh, it would’ve been better if he said that he did this stuff when he was a kid and that he’s grown up. But it’s judgement by social media, which is lunacy. It’s helped in some ways and been destructive in others.
As a comedian, are you worried you’re going to say something that will ruin your career one day?
At times, I’m shocked that people don’t respond to things I’ve already said. Every time I finish an interview, I think, “Did I say something I shouldn’t have said?” When it comes to social media, it’s like being back in high school. It’s like this big hallway where people point fingers.
I’m talking to you about a month before your show in San Antonio. Do you have any predictions about the impeachment saga over the next few weeks?
It all depends on whether any of these people want to come out and say something. The Republicans can squawk all they want, but what they can’t do is make things up. You can’t just create a different reality. We need to allow this process to go on without both sides needing rabies shots.
Lewis Black: The Joke’s on Us Tour
$39.50-$75, 8 p.m. Thursday, November 21, Majestic Theatre, 224 E. Houston St., (210) 226-3333, majesticempire.com
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