In this special edition of the Laughspin Podcast, Laughspin editor Dylan Gadino sits down with comedian Lewis Black in Grand Rapids, Michigan during the third annual Gilda’s LaughFest. The far-ranging interview covers everything from the evolution of Black’s stand-up career, his plans for a new book, the gun control debate, the growing trend of comedians self-releasing albums and specials (and the predicament that puts him in), his personal life and much more!
On the inevitable demise of any meaningful change in American gun laws and whether it surprises him:
“Nothing surprises me anymore…Virginia Tech; that was the end of my surprise. ‘So, we’re not going to do anything.’ Nothing. And then to Columbine. Nothing. And then the movie theater and Newtown. What’s next is somebody goes into a hospital where newborn babies are and shoots newborn babies. And then they’ll say, ‘Well, the doctors should be armed.”
On why he never got married:
“I ended up married to my career. I never believed in, ‘Hey, we’ll get married and we’ll make it work out.’ No. Bullshit. You get fucked. And I’ve watched too many people in the course of my life get fucked. And I was not going to have that happen.”
On how his family life helped shape his perspective on relationships:
“Having spent years in therapy, I know that my mother, in a sense, having to listen to her — she was never outspoken about it — but you realize she ended up not doing a career to end up in the home. Watching that as you’re growing up—you don’t want to put someone in that position. That motivates you, in part, where you come from in terms of relationships.”
On his new hour of comedy:
“I’m working on it and I’m getting ready to kill people. This is the quandary I deal with, and it’s becoming irritating by leaps and bounds: I did two specials for HBO. They said, ‘We’ll do a special with you every two years.’ Well, great. That works for me. And then the guy who was the head of HBO was summarily kicked out, and with his exit, I went. They said, ‘We’re not going to have an emphasis on comedy.’ Well, yes you are because you still had Ricky Gervais do a special and then others did specials. Eventually, I said, ‘I’m going to have to produce this myself, which is what I did…It ended up on a great channel that nobody sees called Epix. And Epix, meanwhile, is doing Jim Norton and Eddie Izzard. I was thrilled they helped me get it up and out.”
On the increasing popularity of direct-to-fan comedy specials:
“The whole model changed, and I do not have the technological wherewithal for this shit. So, I’m sitting between the end of an era and the beginning of a new era—and I’m in the crack. And I fucking can’t figure out what to do.”
Each week on the Laughspin Podcast, Dylan Gadino and Mike Gogel bring you comedy news, the most recent audio clips from the comedy world and a few laughs (and the occasional special interview episodes). Be sure to subscribe to the Laughspin Podcast on iTunes, SoundCloud or Stitcher.