Arts & Culture

Rant along with Lewis Black when he brings his ‘Joke on US’ tour to Tacoma


Lewis Black is often described as an angry comic.

He’s actually a perfectly calm man who occasionally gets very angry.

These days, it’s often the man in the Oval Office who is the target of his stand-up ire. And the media.

Black is bringing his “The Joke’s On US Tour” to Tacoma’s Pantages Theater on Saturday.

Audiences have come to expect Black’s rants on the meta to the miniscule. Lately, they’ve expected to hear their own rants out of Black’s mouth.

The News Tribune interviewed him last week.

Q: Is Washington state too happy a place for you?

A: I said it in my act two years ago when I was wandering around the country and people were saying they’d have to leave the country. I said you don’t have to leave the country, why don’t you just move to Washington state? It’s like leaving the country but you’re still here.

Q: In what ways?

A: Well, there’s a little more sense of a social responsibility in terms of governing. Which may or may not make some people complain. But, there are plenty of places you can go if that bothers you. There’s lots of place where they don’t tax you and you can get no services at all.

Q: The entire West Coast is a blue zone now.

A: It’s beyond blue.

Q: Our governor, Jay Inslee, is reportedly considering a run for the presidency on a climate change platform.

A: Yeah, that’ll work. Because, once we found out that people who don’t know anything about science know that there is no climate change, then there can’t be any climate change. They are more instinctive than scientists.

Q: The president considers himself very knowledgeable on climate change.

A: Yeah, and he said he’d have been a great general. He might have been during the Peloponnesian War.

Q: Do you spend much time looking at Twitter?

A: I barely pay attention to it. I always found it mildly disturbing. It doesn’t work for me. It takes me two paragraphs to get to the topic of what my joke is. It’s like being in a giant high school. Once (Trump) started using it and the media starting quoting his tweets, then I really kind of left it. I don’t want to be part of something that he thinks is the way to communicate.

Q: Do you think the media should ignore his tweets?

A: I think what the media has done is disgusting in terms of that. A lot of what they are doing is reading what is essentially pathology. That’s my job. It’s not the job of the media. It really enraged me. Then they bring on six people to interpret the pathology. That’s my gig. That’s what I’ve done with every president.

Q: Is there anyone who’s been a contributor to “The Daily Show” on Comedy Central longer than you?

A: Not even close.

Q: What’s your take on the show’s contribution to the media landscape?

A: John (Stewart) took it over and kind of focused it. After 9/11, the TV news media abdicated their responsibility to investigate what was going on. It opened the door for us on “The Daily Show” to wander in and point at stuff.

Q: In Tacoma, will we hear audience-submitted rants?

A: Yes, start sending them in. What it’s evolved into is a show written by the people of the town that I’m in. If they go to, it’ll tell them exactly how to do it. It goes directly to the iPad I carry on stage. They write it and I produce it and read it.

Q: Do you have any tips for ranters?

A: Just be passionate about it. It doesn’t have to be important. We just ended the year with one from a guy who opened a jar of what he thought was smooth peanut butter. He realized it was chunky and he went ballistic. He wrote like seven minutes. I’ve had six rants about pickles. Anything that really bothers you. The more mundane, the more I’m fascinated by it.


What: “The Joke’s On US Tour”

When: 8 p.m. Saturday

Where: Tacoma’s Pantages Theater on

Tickets: $45 to $75