Comic brings laughs to Third Place Commons

  • Christopher Durr<br>Enterprise writer
  • Monday, March 3, 2008 11:35am

LAKE FOREST PARK — The federal government has oft been criticized for being too conservative and too liberal, sometimes simultaneously.

Political comedian Lewis Black says his problem isn’t with one party — he just hates authority.

Black, best known for his biting satire in his “Back in Black” news commentary on Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show,” spoke at Third Place Books in Lake Forest Park on Monday night, July 17. Approximately 350 people crowded into The Commons food court to hear Black trash-talk, answer questions and hype the new paperback edition of his book, “Nothing’s Sacred.”

Black’s trademark jittery and frustrated speaking style drew choruses of laughter from the audience as he focused on the craft of writing and satirical thought. He touched on free speech, religion and blogging.

“If you want to know if you should be a writer… stab a pen into your dominant hand,” he said. “The pain you feel is what’s it’s like to write.”

Although Black often uses profanity in his stand-up and writing, he joked that Third Place Books’ food court was his first speaking location that made him feel like he shouldn’t swear in his routine.

“It’s as if someone will come up to me and say, ‘You can’t eat your sushi here, Mr. Black,’” he said.

Black described the process of writing “Nothing’s Sacred” as demanding and last-minute, saying that as a writer, “you feel as if you’re never finished.” This unsatisfied feeling was intensified by reading his own material out loud for an audio version of his book, he said.

“I’ve made a living shooting off my mouth,” he said.

During a question and answer time, audience members asked about the significance of the cover of his book, which shows Black lying in the lap of the Virgin Mary – in the same style as Jesus Christ in Michelangelo’s famous statue, the Pieta.

The book’s publisher wanted his face on the cover to sell more copies of the book, Black said, and his positioning illustrates his point that nothing is sacred.

“What’s the message of the book? If you can’t get it by reading it… I don’t know what to tell you,” he said.

Black ended his routine describing the American political state as a pendulum swinging back and forth between conservatives and liberals. It’s on the “Right side” now, he said, but things will change, as they always do.

Black later signed copies of his book. His energy from speaking carried over to the book signing. He joked with people, posed for pictures and personalized copies of his book.

Reaction to Black’s appearance seemed positive.

Self-described “big fan” John Decoursey of Shoreline waited in line with his parents and a friend. He owns a copy of one of Black’s comedy recordings and said he loved seeing Black’s routine.

Paul Kelrley, a college student from Everett, agreed, saying he was “enthused” to see Black. Kelrley said even though he’s politically conservative, he feels a kindred spirit in Black, who has been labeled liberal by some.

“We’re both Jews from the Bronx,” he said. “Things are a little too uptight in the government and he’s loosening up the political scene.”

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