We asked comedian Lewis Black about pretty much everything: what inspires him daily, how he writes comedy, his funniest takeaway from the presidential debates, his favorite local restaurants, his New Year’s resolutions, his childhood in Silver Spring and more. Surprise: He had plenty of funny answers.
Q: How has the presidential election affected your comedy writing?
A: First, I avoided it for awhile, as we are insane to spend a year and a half on primaries and debates. No other country puts that kind of time into their election process. It’s as ludicrous as it is exhausting. The Republicans and Democrats should be ashamed of the time they waste looking for a candidate rather than putting it into trying to find solutions to problems. We have to listen to a group of wannabes tell us what they are going to do when they are elected… We have to watch them as they try to become more presidential. It is a massive distraction of epic proportions. It’s got nothing to do with an election process, it’s the equivalent of “Last Comic Standing” for political candidates. As of now, I have just started to talk about the election, and I have to say: Many of these candidates make it way too easy. I just say “Donald Trump,” it’s a punch line.
Q: What has been the funniest moment of the debates, on either side, so far?
A: Either the moment at the first Republican debate when they announced each candidate and then showed them, or the Democrats having a debate on Saturday night as if they wanted to be sure no one watched. Or that the networks have the nerve to call these “debates” when the candidates have less than two minutes to answer a question or rebut an argument. That’s not a debate—it’s a search for sound bites. You’re going to tell me you can explain how to deal with ISIS or Immigration or the economy in two minutes? A It takes four minutes to do a weather report.
Q: Are you someone who makes a New Year’s resolution—why or why not?
A: No. I hate to disappoint myself.
Q: Do you have a mantra that you live by and remind yourself of at a time like the start of the New Year?
A: I just hope that I can live more in the moment, then I find myself thinking about how I can really be in the moment, and all of a sudden I’m not in the moment anymore. I absolutely believe it’s how you should live your life—and I find it impossible. And my smartphone doesn’t help me achieve that goal.
Q: Do you have a favorite memory of growing up in Silver Spring?
A: My favorite memory of growing up in Silver Spring was being able to run free with my friends. We just went out and played and there was farmland with woods at the edge of our neighborhood that we could play football on or just explore. I could ride my bike around our neighborhood and the ones that surrounded it. It was paradise. I don’t know if children will ever know that kind of freedom again. I don’t know if I ever will. I also loved the fact that the place where my dad worked—the Naval Ordnance Laboratory, which was right across from the neighborhood—had a nine-hole golf course. On my thirteenth birthday, my uncle gave me his golf clubs. I would go play golf when I could. It was the one place, except maybe the bathroom, where I could be alone.
Q: When you’re in Baltimore, what’s your favorite place to eat or fun thing to do?
A: I enjoy Linwoods in Owings Mills. I just threw a surprise 70th wedding anniversary for my parents there in July. They are both now 97.