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Review: Lewis Black at Stambaugh Auditorium

October 11, 2013 - Andy Gray
Watching the dysfunction of the federal government the last couple of weeks is enough to make anyone flail about and rant.

Imagine what it’s doing to Lewis Black.

About 1,500 people at Stambaugh Auditorium didn’t have to imagine it as the comedian performed Thursday in Youngstown.

Politics is a big part of Black’s show any time, so it’s no surprise the shutdown, the debt ceiling, the Affordable Care Act (don’t call it Obamacare around Black), John Boehner and Ted Cruz all were a part of his set.

Some of the ideas may have been repurposed from older bits, but Black was working through a lot of new material Thursday. As a result, the set wasn’t as polished as his hour-long comedy specials that have appeared on HBO and Comedy Central, but there was a rawness to the program that made it compelling to watch.

And Black isn’t a one-liner kind of comedian anyway. His gestures – the way he punctuates a line with a jab of the finger or how he rubs his head as if he’s afraid it may explode from the stupid that surrounds him – gets as many laughs as his political insights.

Black strafes both parties in his act – he said President Barack Obama isn’t nearly as smart as the Republicans make him out to be – but Boehner, Cruz and the Tea Party took the brunt of his abuse.

He said back in the ‘80s, philosophical adversaries Ronald Reagan and Tip O’Neill could get together over a few drinks and hash out a compromise.

“Drunks did a better job than these pr---- who go to the gym,” Black said.

And after watching the cable news coverage of the government shutdown and Cruz’s marathon filibuster, Black said he’s convinced a cable channel could get an audience that showed nothing but a steaming bowl of … well, feces, but that’s not the word he used … 24/7.


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