Lewis Black unveils irritation in a livid performance at UNF

Jake Stofan

Lewis Black is pissed off and telling everyone at UNF.  Photo by Tyler Van Voorthulsjen
Lewis Black is pissed off and telling everyone at UNF.
Photo by Tyler Van Voorthulsjen

A diverse crowd flocked to UNF for the opportunity to be entertained to by the “king of the rant” Lewis Black, and boy did they get a livid performance. Black rambled about topics ranging from Tahiti being paradise on Earth to senator Mitch McConnell being more like a chipmunk than a turtle.

Social critic and comedian Lewis Black and his opener John Bowman performed yesterday, March 12 at UNF’s Lazzara Performance Hall to a sizable crowd for his current U.S. tour “The Rant is Due: Part Deux.”

The show opened with comedian John Bowman, who wasn’t bad. He told jokes ripping cities apart, towns most Jacksonvillians presumably have no connection to. This combined with musical jokes with the help of a ukulele made him palatable to say the least.

Bowman’s delivery compared to Black’s is like what baby aspirin is to aspirin.  They both play the angry old man verging on insanity with a bone to pick about almost every occurrence in life. Needless to say, he didn’t get nearly the amount of laughs Black pulled, but still fit the mood of the show.

After the 15-minute intermission Black took the stage, and at first seemed like he might tank. He stuttered to get words out until he got in his groove addressing the issue of comedians playing college campuses. A point he touched on in an interview with Spinnaker.

Opening comedian John Bowman plays a tune on his ukulele. Photo by Tyler Van Voorthulsjen
Opening comedian John Bowman plays a tune on his ukulele.
Photo by Tyler Van Voorthulsjen

Black said comedians exist to make the obscene laughable and gave the audience a crash course in the logistics of comedy. He said homophobic jokes are cheap, but beyond that, 98% of the things in life are fair game. Black recognized prior to booking this particular performance, he didn’t know UNF existed, but congratulated the school for its recent entry to the NCAA tournament.

“If you discovered the cure for herpes… that’d be great, but still more people will know you if you won the NCAA,” Black said.

After giving the locals some love, he moved on to his recurring stand-up material covering topics like mental health in America, his travels throughout Europe and Tahiti, socialism, Congress and the Middle East.

For the most part, it was pretty much what would be expected from a typical Lewis Black show: long frustrated rants that fall off at the end with little to no central point.

A topic that hit close to home was Black’s thoughts about allowing concealed weapons to be carried on campus.

After starting the bit, a small number of people cheered. He immediately followed the reaction up by saying, “If you’re really cheering for that you’re f—— mad!” The audience then exploded in the biggest applause of the night.

The show ended with a 30-minute question-and-answer session where the audience could submit topics for Black to rant about through his website.

One of the user-submitted questions asked why flash photography isn’t allowed at the show, to which Black responded he didn’t care if people took his picture.

This was followed by a predictable half a minute of heavy flash photography ending abruptly when an audience member yelled, “It’s f—— annoying!”

After the interactive segment of the show, Black began to wrap the night up, but was bombarded by audience members yelling at him to do old bits – requests he promptly denied.

Somewhere in Black’s rage-filled heart, love exists. This was seen when Black announced it was his tour manager’s son’s eighth birthday, which was followed by the crowd, Bowman and Black singing “Happy Birthday” in unison to the birthday boy on the streaming webcast. Show goers who filled the Lazzara Performance Hall experienced a dichotomy of emotion, and Black made controversial issues a sweeter pill to swallow.


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