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Modern life in comedian's cross hairs
[January 14, 2013]

Modern life in comedian's cross hairs

Jan 14, 2013 (Reading Eagle - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- Lewis Black knows who is at fault for everything.


"We can't stay focused," the temperamental comedian ranted Sunday night. "There is always a distraction. We live as if there's something more interesting going on in our lives. And the reason we can't focus is because every American has ADD.

"If you didn't laugh out of some sort of recognition, then you have it worse than anyone." The 64-year-old made another return trip to the Sovereign Performing Arts Center for his "The Rant is Due" tour. As always, his show was well-attended with a wide age range of fans.

Black laid into many of today's distractions: Facebook, cable TV, smartphones, spam, the flu. The 80-minute show was not quite as heavy on politics as usual, but after the marathon of muck that was the 2012 campaign, can you really blame him "It's all here now," he said, holding up his iPhone. "Everything you need: the Internet, email, Twitter, Facebook, all the apps you have. Even an app that says, hey, if you haven't had a thought today, here's one. It's all here.

"No one has to live in Reading anymore." Black's bombastic performance included a buffet of cursing and venting, his pointer fingers waving around like a conductor keeping frenetic time. Occasionally he bashed the microphone stand into the stage to make an extra forceful point.

"Many people believe that the federal government shouldn't be involved in health care, it's the states that should be in charge," he said. "And let me just say that anyone who believes that the states should be in charge of health care, these are people who've never traveled.

"We pay 75 percent more than any other country for our health care, and we don't live as long as they do. So, you tell me what's wrong with that If that's the case, and that's the way we want to go, why don't we keep heading in the direction we're heading, and let's pay 150 percent more than any other country so that we all die by the time we're 65.

"And if we do that, then we've solved Social Security." Facebook received a considerable amount of attention. There was discussion of the site itself -- "it's a glorified yearbook, only now we're all in the same grade" -- and astonishment at some of its business decisions, such as purchasing photo-sharing site Instagram for $1 billion.

"Thirteen people work for it and they were bought for a billion dollars," he marveled. "And here's the kicker: They never made a dime. The company's never made any money, purchased for a billion dollars. So what's gonna happen now is that all the doors of the theater are going to be locked, and no one leaves the room until I get a proper explanation." Longtime Black co-pilot John Bowman opened the evening with 30 minutes of skewed observations, including New Jersey residents who claim they live in New York, and the dead zone on Interstate 80 in which the "seek" button on your radio simply spins.

At one point Bowman broke out a spot-on impression of Black, then teased crowd members about the amount of time the duo spends together.

"Get on the bus with us and ride back to New York and see how happy you are to see him," he joked.

Contact Jon Fassnacht: 610-371-5017 or

___ (c)2013 the Reading Eagle (Reading, Pa.) Visit the Reading Eagle (Reading, Pa.) at Distributed by MCT Information Services

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