Anger In America: Lewis Black Is 'Livid'

The big things … the little things … just about anything can get comedian Lewis Black angry.

Black is always willing to share his frustration about the annoyances of everyday life. "The cable box is out, and I can't fix it for three weeks. What am I going to do!" he said.

From politics to waiting in line at the pharmacy, it's all fodder for the man known as the "angry comic." Lewis jokes that "people always say, 'How do you rev up for it?' And I say, 'All I got to do is get through a day. One day will do it."

The Art of Anger


Black learned about venting his anger growing up in the suburbs of Washington, D.C., in the 1960s. In his memoir, "Nothing's Sacred," Black talked about getting his now-famous communication skills from his parents. "We'd sit around the dinner table yelling," he recalled. He has taken those lessons learned growing up and made a career of them.

From his appearances on Jon Stewart's "The Daily Show" to his now infamous HBO specials to performing at the Radio and Television Correspondents Dinner in front of Vice President Dick Cheney, Black has made an art form out of anger. And Black believes that anger is something that can be good for you.

"I think what's good about anger is … when channeled properly, it allows us to vent frustration, you know, to yell something at the top of your lungs helps."


But when Black sees the anger he displays onstage become part of the political process, he is not laughing. "I watch those debates. I'm going, come on! I don't believe that most Americans feel as if those people are speaking to them," he said. He says the debates make him "livid. Mad isn't the word. Livid. I think it's disturbing."

Don't Get Him Started

A few other things that make Lewis angry? The health insurance system in America: "All I'm trying to do is get some medicine so that I won't DIE!"

Airline travel: "The words 'take off your shoes' are inflammatory, just inflammatory."

The state of the U.S. economy: "We just discovered that if you gave money to people to have mortgages and they didn't have money, they couldn't pay stuff. Well, this is a shock?!"

Even watching the news can set Black off. "Here's another reason people are nuts: 80, 96 hours of news, four news channels, 96 hours of news. How many hours in a day? There are 24 hours in a day. And there's 96 hours of news coming to people. At what point don't you think we're going to snap?"

Black is known for his loud ranting acts and thinks he can make just about anything funny … except one topic. "I can't make abortion funny," he said, but beyond that, everything else is fair game. And believe it or not, there are some things that don't make him angry. Black lists "good food, sex, [and] if I'm actually playing golf well" as the few things that truly make him happy.

But most of the time, Lewis is happiest doing what he does best … being angry. And for the critics who say all that yelling may not be good for you? Lewis has a message for those people.

"They're full of it," he said. "They're nuts. Are they crazy? Where do they want you to put it? What, are you supposed to wait until you go to the bathroom? Oh, my anger's out."