PEORIA — Comedian Lewis Black is back on the road with the "The Joke's On Us Tour 2019." He'll be at the Civic Center Theater for an 8 p.m. show on Thursday, Feb. 28. Tickets are $35, $45 and $55.
We caught up with him for a podcast (https://player.fm/series/tarter-source-podcast-2154125/tarter-source-142-comedian-lewis-black) while he was on his tour bus in Florida. Here are a few extracts with the comedic king of the rant.
Q: How much do you tour these days?
A: I do about 100 days a year. It used to be a lot more but I got a little saner.
Q: You're on a bus, is that your preferred way to travel?
A: We do shows in clusters. I'll do three or four shows in the same state or area and then fly home. If I had to fly every day, I'd lose my mind.
Q: So how did you get so angry?
A: I found out I was funniest when I was angry. I noticed Sam Kinison (the East Peoria comic who died in 1992), who was working at the same time I was. He took (on-stage anger) to a totally different level.
Q: So is Donald Trump providing enough material for you?
A: I tell people that Trump is good for comedy the way a stroke is good for a nap. There's a lot of stuff I could have talked about, but TV news took away the gig. Television news is even quoting his tweets. That's not their job. Those tweets aren't policy, but pathology.
Q: What's your next project?
A: I'm collecting material for my next special — to air in April or May.
Q: On what channel or network?
A: I don't know. Netflix has so many specials, they say they have no openings until 2020. But that's not the way I work. We'll find something.
Q: Ever consider doing your own podcast?
A: I haven't done that, but at the end of every show I do something called "The rant is due." This is where I ask the public to send in a rant. They can do it on my website, www.lewisblack.com. We were just in Clearwater, and I had someone send me a diatribe about people who use toothpicks in restaurants. What I've found is that some people are truly gifted in their writing. I've been doing this for three or four years, and I've got some folks who send things in constantly.
Q: You mentioned Sam Kinison. Who are some of the other people who have influenced you?
A: Lenny Bruce, Marx Brothers, Bob Newhart, Paul Krassner, Joseph Heller, Dick Gregory — I could probably name 50 people that have had a real effect on me.
Q: You mentioned Joseph Heller, author of "Catch-22." Is that book a favorite?
A: The book was published in 1961, but nothing's changed. My Dad was reading it and I asked him at the time, "Should I read it?" He said, "Yes, it'll tell you everything you need to know about working in an office."
Q: You've played here before. Is Peoria a good town for you?
A: Yes. Playing Illinois has always been great. I've played all over that state. Your theater (in Peoria) is beautiful, too.
Steve Tarter can be reached at 686-3260 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him @SteveTarter on Twitter and facebook.com/tartersource.