Lewis Black got America’s 70-year-old, 5’1”, perennial TV journalist Connie Chung to say “fuck”—a lot. Actually, one of the comedian’s fans repeatedly put the angry, four-letter word—amongst others—in her mouth. “I was never allowed to say that…my apologies to Edward R. Murrow,” she says after the first cheered utterance. This was the big closer at a New York recording of his new audio show Lewis Black: The Rant is Due where the Grammy Award-winning comedian performs diatribes submitted by his fans. Other guest readers on a recent night at Five Angels Theater, part of the 52nd Street Project, were Nurse Jackie’s Edie Falco and True Detective’s Michael Potts.
America is angry. Whichever side of the aisle they are on—or if they’re against the concept of aisles entirely and are shouting from outside the building—everyone in this country seems eager to vent their major gripes in obnoxiously long Facebook rants. Professional griper Lewis Black has volunteered to be America’s mouthpiece on his audio show, available exclusively on Audible Channels (curiously not called a “podcast” by the company). Black’s stand-up act has always ranted about incompetent politicians, Starbucks locations, and the moronic game of golf. In The Rant is Due, he takes America’s anger and adds in that quintessential Lewis Black rage.
In an unabashedly liberal city like New York, boos erupt when Black reads one rant about how Medicaid is for “lazy assholes.” He puts down the iPad to give more than his 2¢—a rant is due. He shakes mid-rhapsody as if he has idiot-induced Parkinson’s. Fans enjoy the classic hand gesture, head gyrations, and comical insight. This happens several times throughout the show, taking time to interrupt a person who is not even there with his hilarious take on the matter. He sprinkles in his retort not directed at the fans who wrote in but at the world.
Black is one of those comedy acts that, despite his transparent distaste for the Trump administration, attracts fans from all points of the political spectrum. Complaining is a bi-partisan pleasure. It’s a rare thing to pull off in 2017. Being apolitical draws in a similar political diversity, but even the recent #FireColbert trend proved that a silly and unoriginal editing gag can alienate 50 percent of the country. The Rant is Due brings all sides together to blow off some steam and save our friends and family members an unnecessarily long comment thread.
Lewis Black has always been angry. America is just catching up.
Lewis Black: The Rant is Due is available exclusively on Audible Channels, a premium audio show subscription service that comes with an Audible or Amazon Prime membership. Fans of Black can subscribe to the service, which offers a variety of audio shows, as a standalone offering for $4.95 a month.