Facetime with comedian Lewis Black
SN: Why did you want to come to East Lansing? Why not Detroit or Grand Rapids?
LB: I’ll go back to Detroit and Grand Rapids, I did the Comedy Festival there. I mean, I’ve been all over, so I think it’s for a good time and because Michigan State University is there and because they asked me to come there. So, it’s not tough to just get me to show up, it’s just you have to ask me.
SN: So you’ve been touring for a long time now and you’re currently on your “The Rant is Due” tour. What should people at MSU and in the East Lansing area be looking forward to for this performance at the Wharton Center?
LB: Well, for the last 10 to 15 minutes of the act I give the audience at the beginning of the show questions and instructions on how to ask me questions to their phone. They can comment or say anything they want or talk about something that’s going on there and the last 15 minutes of the show is totally predicated by the audience.
SN: Is that what you would say is different about this show compared your past material?
LB: Yeah, I mean it’s an act, essentially. ... Basically, it’s about how stupid gets stupider.
SN: Speaking of stupid, what life advice would you give to MSU students to succeed in today’s world?
LB: The most important thing is you pursue what it is that you want to do. That’s the most important.
If you’re going pursue money you’re going to end up miserable. ... There’s a difference between going home at the end of a day making whatever amount of money you want and you don’t really like spending the 8 hours doing it, and spending 12 hours doing something you love, when you don’t make anything. It’s vital.
Most people are miserable because they don’t really like what they’re doing. It really has to go, I want to do this, I’m going to pursue it, and if you pursue what it is you want to do, you’ll end up doing something you like doing....It’s not your parents’ life. It’s your life. Just because they pay for your education, they don’t buy life. Your parents don’t have to lead your life. You do.
A lot of the times you get that whole thing where your dad will get that whole set of panic, sitting in a room like what are you going to do? How are you going to make money? That’s the last thing that should be on somebody’s mind. You make enough money to get by and that should be the only thing that concerns you when you’re young. Jesus, it’s just such bullshit. And use that time, because you know, you never get it again. You can’t go back and say oh, well you know what I really wanted to do? Well, you’re an idiot!
SN: What was your college experience like? Do you have any good stories to share?
LB: I went to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill,EMC so it was phenomenal. It was 24 hours of partying and 24 hours of studying and you could kind of go back and forth. So once you finished your studying, you’d think oh, there was always somebody who was going to have fun. It was a good time to go to school, it was the late ‘60s, so we had kind of a remarkable period of time there.
SN: You talk a lot about different social and political issues plaguing our country in your act, but the one that really stuck out to me was social security. Given that most of these issues are really going to affect the millennial generation, what advice would you give to us in an attempt to solve these problems?
LB: One thing I’m going to tell you is that if these schmucks would actually sit down and do the work they have to do in Washington, there wouldn’t be a social security problem. Because, what they forget, because they don’t seem to have a basic lessons of history ... than any group of people in history. Years ago it was “Oh boy, we’re screwed.”
When the economy came back, all of the money that was lost, came back, OK? Something that has to happen in this country is that ... I don’t think it’s a matter of going into isolation, you don’t have to go into isolation, but you gotta start paying attention to the problems which are rapidly turning into a third-world problem. Idiots! You’ve got a group people screaming that you guys are screwed, and the people who are screaming that you guys are screwed are screaming because “you’re gonna end up with all this debt.”
At the same time, it’s the same group of people who won’t deal with global warming, so ...if you don’t deal with global warming, then you’ll have all the cash and there will be no polar bears and the U.P. will be like a beach.
SN: That’s about all I got for you, unless you have anything else you want to tell about your show.
LB: Just that it’ll be fun and it’s always nice to come back to Michigan State. You guys better win on Saturday.