“Black comes back to Calvin”

By Justin Surgent


Known for his outright anger and ease with profanity during his politically-charged comedy performances, Lewis Black is one of current day comedy’s icons.

Black will be performing at the Calvin Theatre in Northampton tonight at 8 p.m.

According to Black’s bio on his website, he is originally from Washington D.C., but was raised in Maryland. Black cites his father as being an instrumental figure in his theatrical profession, having brought him to his first play at 12. Black also mentioned that his parents’ insistence on the importance of education and their authority lead him to his unique comedic style.

With degrees from the University of North Carolina and Yale Drama School, Black has extensive knowledge of the drama field. It was at UNC that Black first discovered stand-up comedy.

In a 2007 interview with The Progressive, Black describes himself not as a political comedian, but as a “social satirist.”

“The overall theme for me is social satire,” Black said in the interview, “because my setup is information. I start with the person making a dopey statement like former Senator Rick Santorum saying that gay marriage and homosexuality are a threat to the American family. Then I tell the real story.”

Black has filmed two HBO specials which have helped him gain popularity. The first, “Black on Broadway” was filmed in 2004, followed by his 2006 “Red, White and Screwed.”

Black, who has a naturally charismatic personality, has made numerous appearances on late-night talk shows such as “Late Night with Conan O’Brien,” “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon,” “The Late Show with David Letterman” as well as numerous appearances on “The Daily Show” with Jon Stewart.

It was his appearances on “The Daily Show” that helped him win Best Male Stand-Up at the American Comedy Awards in 2001.

Black has won numerous other awards, including two Grammys (four nominations), Best Comedy Album of the Year in 2007, with his album, “The Carnegie Hall Performance,” and again in 2011, with his album “Stark Raving Black.”

Comedy is not Black’s only forte. According to his website, he has written over 40 plays which have been used across the country; one of which, “The Deal,” was turned into a short film.

Justin Surgent can be reached at [email protected].