Lewis Black wanted to get some things off his chest so he called up the OUTSIDELEFT offices for a chat. Here's how it went...
Lewis, hey, how's it going?
Ehh, you know -- work.
Are you on the road now?
Well, no. Actually I'm in my house, but I'm in Detroit tomorrow performing at The Comedy Castle.
I caught your special on HBO in a rerun last night. It was great. Is it going to be anything like that, you know, straight standup?
Yeah, it's similar to that, I mean, you know, it always changes. And the weather today has made me as mad as hell, so it'll probably start off with this bullshit.
This interview or the weather?
Well I'm in Manhattan and this morning on the news, they said it was going to be in the 70s and it's like‚ I'm wearing a winter coat in my house and I'm livid about it.
It's worse out here, Lewis. I can tell you that right now.
Where are you?
On the West Coast. Orange County.
[Sounds incredulous] Whaa... how could it be worse?
Trust me, it's bad out here.
Well, besides actually living there, what could be so bad about it?
The weather, the smog, the traffic, the -- you've been out here before, right? What do you think's so good about it?
There's nothing good about the West Coast unless you're getting paid to do something and you have to be there. I just don't get it.
Well, look at what Giuliani did: He took the fun out of New York City. No more fun. What's that all about?
Well, no, he's just a pig, but we all have to deal with pigs. I mean, our cops just kill people; your cops actually plant evidence.
[Laughs] Well, ours kill a few too, every now and then.
[Laughs louder] No, but really, the idea of driving for five hours and still being in the same state is wrong, plain and simple.
Well, when you live Southern California, you just accept the fact that everywhere you drive is going to take at least 90 minutes, and there's no getting around it.
Yeah, but if you travel 90 minutes in New York, you're going to wind up in another state.
[Laughs] Yeah, New Jersey.
We still have better public transportation though.
True, but we like to drive in our cars‚ alone. Anyway, what do you think of all this popularity and media attention you're getting? I was researching you and I found quite a few Lewis Black fan sites.
Yeah the best one I found had this great bulletin board and there were a lot of girls calling you sexy and hot, and there was even one person who started an entire board called "Al Franken: The Poor Man's Lewis Black." So, you know, there's a huge following.
Well, I don't know if it's huge, but it's a following, which is kind of nice. You know, when you've been doing this all your life, it's nice to know that you've been doing it for a reason.
And with the Presidential campaigns the election of Bush, this has to be the busy season for you.
Yeah, this is it. Then we go back in our holes in October.
I read somewhere that you recently went on the Oprah show. What was up with that? You and a bunch of soccer moms. How did that happen?
I wish I knew. I actually apologized for being on it during my weekly segment on The Daily Show. It was supposed to be me, Bill Maher, Bob Saget, Bill Murray. It was supposed to be a group of comedians paneling for an hour.
Then what was Bob Saget doing there?
[Laughs] So I'm flying from Chicago to Houston where the show was going to be taped, and they tell me that I'm going to be doing standup in front of Oprah's studio audience, and I went into a state of shock. But I did the show and I kept surprisingly calm, and I actually did the segment, because remember, when you're on the show and Oprah's asking you questions, you're thinking: What am I doing on the Oprah show?
Speaking of hosts, what do you think of the whole Jon Stewart/Craig Kilborn thing? How was the transition?
I have to say the change is... good. Um, it's different. You have to realize that with Craig‚ for all what might have been his fault, in terms of ego, [the fact] was that he looked like a guy delivering the news and so it was a completely news-driven show and it was strong in its way, but the show is strong in many more ways. The thing is, Jon brings his own point of view to the table.
Yeah, Jon seems like a team player, whereas Craig seemed to want to do The Craig Show.
Well, you're totally right. When [Craig] put his name on [The Daily Show], I said, "Oh boy, this is bad." We always felt it was The Daily Show‚ Jon on the other hand is a very generous guy, you feel like you're a partner in the program. Plus, Craig never really understood the show; it was just a stepping stone.
So what gets you pissed off?
Usually something has happened in my day by 10am. Either an agent or someone in the industry has upset me to the point of no return and I'll wake up and open up a newspaper and something in there will trip it off.
Who did you hate least in the Presidential race?
Well, they're both pretty bad. They're like the reverse images of garbage. I really don't lean toward either of them. I truly believe it's the most appalling presidential race we may have ever witnessed. I have a feeling next time that it might kick into another gear, I'm hoping, because it's getting worse, and worse, and worse.
Should the typical OUTSIDELEFT reader even bother to vote anymore?
Yes, and I'll tell you why. The reason you vote is it's the one day that you will feel more ineffectual than you normally do, and everyone should experience that feeling just once, the pain of it all. And you can do what I've always done, and that's write in your pet. Once I voted for my dog, but at least I felt like I made some sort of statement‚Äîplus my dog got a vote.
Since we're kind of on the subject, I wanted to get your opinion on something since you kind of touched on it in your HBO special: Is oral sex considered sex?
Of course it's sex. There's no ifs, ands, or buts. When you're getting your winkie wet, it's sex. If you go up to a dog or a cat or a horse and you go and put something like peanut butter on your pecker and the animal starts licking it off‚ you're having some kind of sex with the animal. What are ya, nuts? [Voice gets increasingly louder and intense.] What do they think the woman is doing? Is she a non-participant at this point?
Right, and I'm the only one in the office that agrees with you.
Exactly‚ and if it's not sex, then what is it? What could it possibly be? Please tell me because I want to know.
Hey, I'm with you. I'm the only I know that thinks it's sex. It's me against everyone.
Even the women?
Are you kidding? Especially the women.
What the fuck? That's nuts! Then please give these girls you speak of my number because if they don't consider it sex, then they can just come over and blow me.
I'll see what I can do.