If it were up to Lewis Black, the 2016 presidential race would just be getting started about now. Keep in mind, that's coming from a satirist whose comedic bread and butter has been unrestrained political outrage.
“You hate to compare it to a death march but it is,” says Black during a phone interview with Isthmus. “It’s literally a waste of oxygen and a waste of the miracle of hearing.”
Black returns to the Orpheum Oct. 1 as part of his latest road show The Emperor’s New Clothes:The Naked Truth Tour. But comedy’s most irascible veteran — who quite literally played the voice of Anger in Pixar’s Inside Out — says what’s new about this tour is the audience is pissed off, too.
“People said, ‘You can’t go out, you’re too angry.’ And then I found out the audience was angrier than I ever was,” says Black. “You got a group of Americans — really most of us — who have been disenfranchised for the past 25 years. That anger has finally surfaced.”
As a result, Black’s latest comedy tour isn't focused on the presidential candidates.
“We are living in the intersection of satire and reality,” says Black. “How do you satirize what’s already satiric?”
Instead, Black says he’s finding humor in the issues that aren’t being discussed on the campaign trail. For instance, he calls attention to the way the National Rifle Association deflects questions about the gun violence epidemic by talking about mental health care.
“It’s the kind of stuff people pour in to see,” jokes Black.
The current political climate has made Black an unlikely emissary for civility.
“We can sit here and talk about these two candidates all we want,” says Black, referring to Republican nominee Donald Trump and Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. “But if they won’t come up with a Congress that knows how to compromise, then we continue to go nowhere.”
Most Americans, says Black, want the same thing. “They want a nice roof over their head. They want a good education for their kids. They want the sense that they can improve their lives. They want the sense that their kids can improve their lives. They want to live in peace. They want to feel safe.”
Black is preaching a simple message as the nation enters the final month of the presidential race: “Calm down. Move some shit forward.”