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Lewis Black on memory, medication and multitasking

WANT TO GO?

Lewis Black's "The Rant is Due"

WHERE: Clay Center

WHEN: 7:30 p.m. May 16

TICKETS: $35, $45, $55 and $65

INFO: 304-561-3570 or www.theclaycenter.org

Note: For adult audiences.

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Lewis Black doesn't remember if he's ever performed in Charleston or not.

Sitting in the back of his car, riding back to New York from Florida, the frequently profane comedian grumbled, "Son of a b----. You do 10 years of this kind of travel ... but I know I've been through West Virginia a bit."

But the 64-year-old wasn't sure. He couldn't remember. So, Black, who performs May 16 at the Clay Center, yelled up to his driver to get clarification.

"I trust his memory more than mine," he explained.

After a pause, the driver agreed. He thought Black had performed in Charleston at least once.

There's no record of that, but it wouldn't be hard for Black (or his driver) to get confused. The "Daily Show" correspondent keeps busy. Between standup gigs and television, radio and film appearances, not to mention time spent writing books and plays, it's amazing he can keep anything straight.

Lately, he's been talking up "One Slight Hitch," a play he wrote that's set to be performed this summer in Cape Cod.

"It's a romantic comedy and a farce," he said. "If you actually saw it, you wouldn't believe I wrote it. Seriously. It's really a romantic comedy."

Black, of course, is better known for his always topical, often political, rants filled with raving sarcasm that steadily build to an explosion of righteous indignation. His comedy is also barbed commentary about the society we live in.

"We're not functioning," he said. "Everybody has A.D.D."

The problem, he explained, is multitasking. Black doesn't believe that people are meant to multitask.

"Don't tell me that that when you're talking to me on the phone and doing email that you're paying attention," he said. "Be here now."

Black thought it all sounded very Zen Buddhist, but really, how crazy is it for anyone to try to text and drive?

"You're actually in two different universes at the same time," he said. And that, to Black, is impossible (not to mention illegal in West Virginia).

Multitasking, he said, is just something everyone has convinced themselves they need to do, including the people running the country.

"Congress can't focus," he said. "It's jobs then guns then immigration then back to guns and now immigration. You need to stay on topic and just finish it, then move on."

The solution, of course, is medication.

"But we're running low on A.D.D. drugs," he said.

Black said all the A.D.D. drugs are being wasted on school kids, who really don't have a lot to do compared to adults. 

"Give me the drugs," he said. "I've got stuff to do."

Black divides his time between California, New York City and Chapel Hill, N.C., where he keeps an apartment.

"It's where I go to write," he said. "It's also the last place I remember actually doing any work."

New York and North Carolina are very different places. Both are home, but he really doesn't do much comedy about living in Chapel Hill.

"If I wanted to, I could," he said. "There's constant material. They're crazy. It's a weird state."

For example, he said someone had submitted a bill to the state legislature to make Christianity the state religion of North Carolina.

Black thought it was baffling.

"Really, guys?" He said. "Did you read the Constitution?"

But just because he's not doing comedy in Chapel Hill, Black said it doesn't mean he's a different person than when he's in New York.

"No, I'm the same a--hole," he said.

Reach Bill Lynch at lynch@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5195.


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