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The Comedy of Lewis Black

Aired December 1, 2006 - 21:00   ET


LARRY KING, CNN ANCHOR: Tonight, he may be the angriest man in America.

LEWIS BLACK, COMEDIAN: Could you not listen to him talk?


KING: But when this guy unloads...


LEWIS BLACK, COMEDIAN: What the (OBSCENE WORD OMITTED) is that about? What the (OBSCENE WORD OMITTED) is that about? What the (OBSCENE WORD OMITTED) is that about?


KING: Everybody laughs.

Lewis Black -- an equal opportunity offender who's funny as hell.


LEWIS BLACK, COMEDIAN: I don't know what's going to happen. There could be giant ticks everywhere, we don't know. Run. Scurry. Flee. Flee.


KING: And he's here for the hour, next on LARRY KING LIVE.

Famous producer George Slaughter once told me about a comic he knew that he thought we ought to use at our Larry King Cardiac Foundation dinner.

I had not heard of Lewis Black. George told me, "You would love him."

Not only do I love him, he's one of my favorite people on the planet.

Lewis Black stars in Comedy Central's upcoming special, "Last Laugh '06." He's in the new movie "Unaccompanied Minors," a commentator on "The Daily Show With Jon Stewart" and he's the "New York Times" best-selling author of "Nothing's Sacred." How did all of this happen for you, this...

BLACK: The anger?

KING: ... anger? This stuttering anger?

BLACK: Well, it started when I was young and then it -- and it's always kind of been a part of my personality. But...

KING: So it's your personality?

BLACK: It's, you know, it was me by about the time I was 15 and...

KING: You would get mad in class?

BLACK: I'd get mad and -- I mean a lot of it, you know, it was where I was funniest. You know, something would happen that would just like, you've got to be kidding me? You know, the principal would do something, or that thing which I talk about all the time, you know, they said, you know, they would say get under the desk in case of a nuclear attack. And, you know, part of my brain just saw red.

And then, and so -- and I never really -- for years I was doing comedy and I was terrible. And I was -- I could write funny and I knew I was funny, but something was missing. And then I realized, a guy told me one night, another comedian, Dan Ballard, said this, he said, "You know, I'm yelling on stage and I'm not angry. And you're angry and you're not yelling. So when you go back on stage, start yelling."

And that -- it was like a door opening.

KING: And it worked?

BLACK: It worked. It's worked pretty well. I'm getting away with murder.

KING: You do all your own material?


KING: You write all your own material?

BLACK: About 98 percent of it, yes.

KING: How do you like being hot?

BLACK: It's, you know, it's...

KING: I mean you're hot.

BLACK: It's different. It's different when you've been, you know...

KING: What was the big break? BLACK: There was a few things that came together. I did a lot of Conan O'Briens. Conan, they were really kind. They just said keep, you know, come on whenever you want. So I was going on Conan's show every six weeks. "The Daily Show" had just started about the same time. So I started doing that. And between those two, it began to kind of -- and then I was running around the country like, you know, from -- to every comedy club.

KING: And the NFL? You got the NFL?

BLACK: They were doing, yes, the, "Inside The NFL."


BLACK: Yes. And that's actually written by my friend, the guy who opens for me, John Bowman. He actually -- we work on that together. But he really writes it.

KING: Now, when you go on these shows, do you have all prepared material?

BLACK: Yes, for those.

KING: Yes.

BLACK: Yes, for the -- for "Inside The NFL."

KING: For "Conan," you have prepared material?

BLACK: Yes. They have -- they're pretty -- they give me a certain amount of latitude, you know? Because I don't know where I'm going to end sometimes, because I'm not really good with -- all those shows are five minutes. They need five minutes. And I'm not used to give minutes, because, really...

KING: Wow!

BLACK: ... my rev doesn't really get it -- I don't get into second gear.

KING: Let's discuss some things in the news, or semi in the news...

BLACK: All right.

KING: ... and get your thoughts. The buzz about Danny DeVito's loopy appearance on "The View" this week.

BLACK: He snapped, didn't he?

KING: Yes.

BLACK: Did you see that?

KING: What was that? Was he drunk? BLACK: I think he was drunk, you know? And if not, he probably didn't sleep a lot. And it's like one of those things where they kind of, you know, it's that -- I think it's that thing, you know, I don't know how many interviews he'd been doing, but when you reach that point where you've done about 20 and he wasn't on one of the smaller interviews, but now he's on a main stage, because people -- because people now kind of watch that show because it's so insane now, with Rosie.

The whole mix is completely, you know, different than it was before. And so they're all watching. And I thought -- and there's that thing where they just kind of, you know, they, you know, it's -- he started talking about Bush and he obviously has -- it's no understatement. He just snapped. And I understand it, in part, because, you know...

KING: Have you ever snapped?

BLACK: So far so good. You know, you get -- you know, I tell you -- well, you know this, you're under the scrutiny. It's -- now they -- it's like they jump on anything. You know, Danny -- what Danny did was really so -- it's funny. It's not like the end of the world. It was kind of silly.

But, gee, he was drunk. Nobody ever gets drunk. It wasn't like he was driving a truck on the show and, you know, drove into the audience.

So you kind of go, you know, but there's so much scrutiny. And I really try to keep it, you know, I try to keep really conscious of what's coming out of my mouth. I've said some things -- when I go back and look at certain interviews -- I go oh, I can't believe I said that.

But I'm kind of still under the radar of the mainstream in a way. So it's (UNINTELLIGIBLE)...

KING: You are now mainstream, aren't you?

BLACK: Yes, which is a sad...

KING: I know. It's kind of weird.

BLACK: ... commentary on our lives, isn't it?

KING: What do you make of Michael Richards' racist thing? What about that?

BLACK: That was, I couldn't watch, right, you know, when they -- they've got that video, the -- and I can't watch it. It's it bring back so many memories of being in a club, for me, of just that, of, you know, of an audience that, you know, the audience has smelled -- as soon as the audience smells blood, good-bye, OK? Because then it's like shark time. They just come at you. You panic. I've been in those situations time and time again and...

KING: Really?

BLACK: Well, early on, before...

KING: They come at you?

BLACK: Oh, boy. If you don't -- if you don't maintain the confidence -- I call it -- there's a kind of quality to comedy, like the Dale Carnegie School of Comedy, I call it, and there's a whole group of comics who basically are kind of funny. But they get away with it because they're really confident.

And you should be laughing because I think it's funny. And people, you know, go yes, he thinks it's funny, it's got to be funny.

But then -- but then these -- and you have to maintain that facade of confidence no matter what, because if that facade drops it's just like the audience goes OK, that's it. We've got -- you, you're not bleeding us properly. And they go nuts.

And that room is a tough room.

KING: Which one?

BLACK: The Laugh Factory is a very tough room. The guys that I talked to, all of us who talk about it together, my friends who do stand up all said, you know, that's not a room I want to be near.

KING: And he's not a standup.

BLACK: Which, I don't know...


BLACK: Why is he doing it? Why would you put yourself in that room?

If I was him, it would have bought a room and done shows there and put even cardboard people out.

KING: How about this new thing on the "N" word?

Everybody's now against the "N" word.

A good idea, though, right?

BLACK: Enron, I guess.

KING: Enron?

BLACK: Yes, well, I mean, it's -- once again, it all depends on, you know, OK, let's get rid of the word. It depends. You know, there's got to be a comic somewhere within two years who comes around the corner again and picks up something that will put it in the context that is seriously funny again.

But for now, you know, OK, it's on the shelf. I don't use the word.

KING: You never have, have you?

BLACK: No. I've never used that word.

KING: Mel Gibson...

BLACK: There's a whole bunch of words -- you know, because we were talking about this earlier. I worked -- I can work clean and I can work...

KING: I know. You can work both ways.

BLACK: And I work both ways because, you know, when I'm in a room filed with adults, you know, like a theater or a club, I feel that's -- it's fine, you know? People know what they're getting into. It's, you know, you know that an adult is speaking to adults. You can use those words.

Anywhere else, because this country would panic if you and I used bad words on this show.

Do you realize what would happen?

People would just be jumping out of a window. You can't erase that. He said a bad word. They'd be flipping out.

So I -- there's a whole bunch of words that you just -- that you don't use to begin with, a lot of them.

KING: George Carlin's seven words you can't say.

BLACK: Say on television. You put them in a lockbox.

KING: Coming up on LARRY KING LIVE, why Lewis Black wants Evangelical Christians not to buy his book.

Stick around.


LEWIS BLACK, COMEDIAN: Look at airport security. It's been in place since 9/11 and they're no better now than the day they started.

You know how (OBSCENE WORD OMITTED) hard you have to work to be that stupid? How is that possible?

They just sent 21 fake bombs through 21 airports, six cent filet (ph). All of them. Every one.

They didn't even get one or two?




LEWIS BLACK, COMEDIAN: All of the 24-hour cable services clutter their screen with an array of horseshit. I mean there is just stuff -- there's a rabbit wiping himself in the corner and -- oh, and here's the stock report, which is basically telling you somebody's making a lot of (OBSCENE WORD OMITTED) money and it's not you.


KING: Let's get into some things like that. That really gets you angry. You don't like the crawl.

BLACK: Well, the crawl is...

KING: The crawl is on right now.

You don't like it?

BLACK: No, they'll get this. Right. Lewis Black "Daily Show" commentator.

What, do they read that?

You're not -- you need to know who it is that's speaking to you? Are you going to panic, well, who is this guy? But, you know, they used to -- it was the first time I did it, I'm yelling and screaming on CNN. It's 1:00 in the afternoon. I'm, you know, who's watching? You're like seven people, a bunch of shut-ins. They've got to put -- and I'm yelling and screaming because I'm yelling about the crawl and they really, and I'm going get rid of it. Get rid of it.

And they go, they go, Lewis Black is an angry comic. It comes on the screen. And I go, you know, how dumb do you think the audience is? I'm sitting here being angry and you don't pay any attention.

I just -- and what I started to do was -- because they wouldn't take it off and it was how mad can he get?

Let them see how mad. How mad can I get? Don't even try -- don't even try it, you know, how mad can I get?


KING: How mad can you get?

BLACK: Oh, I can get really -- it can get scary. It can get scary. But, you know, it's -- they, I got so (OBSCENE WORD OMITTED) ticked off at what they were doing, I started reading the crawl. They would ask a question and I would read what was on the bottom, because apparently it's so important.

I don't -- at least they don't drag it across yours. I, it's like why compete with yourself?

You know...

KING: I think it's on. We don't -- just don't see it, right?

BLACK: Is it on?


BLACK: Is it on?

KING: Is the crawl on now?

It's on.

BLACK: You've got to be kidding...

KING: The crawl is on.

BLACK: It's on?

KING: Yes. We just don't see it.

BLACK: And what's -- yes, because you -- what...

KING: There it is. Look.

BLACK: Yes, look at this. The last reservoirs of the disease. Excellent. You just missed it. Now you're in total panic.

What disease? Where? Where's the disease?

They've got to put that up.


It's not -- does CNN not trust us to kind of maintain interest, that they go oh, well, Larry is interesting, but ooh, look! Look below, Britney Spears, you can see her underwear on Channel 37.

Why do they have to do that? Why -- why -- and it was done initially after 9/11.

KING: Yes.

BLACK: To get information. But we don't need that much information. People turn on the TV so they don't have to read. That's the whole concept. That's why it works.

KING: That's television. Replace that.


KING: Yes.

BLACK: That was the idea. And now they're making it a reading screen and I can't stand it.

KING: All right, what do you have against Evangelical Christians reading your book? BLACK: Well, you know, I just think they'll -- well, first up, they'll start, you know, invoking the devil against me. They're -- I just don't, you know, don't -- I just don't want people wasting their time. And...

KING: You're helping them by telling them about it?

BLACK: Exactly. This is a go do something else. Go check something else.

KING: Do Evangelical Christians annoy you?

BLACK: Well, they -- not unless they come up to me and start going -- you know, I'm Jewish and they start trying to, you know, trying to convert me. What I find annoying is this whole thing about like certain stand, the gay marriage stands makes me psychotic, because it's not really -- like who? It's not in the bible. Stop it.

You know, I'm Jewish. We -- it's our book. The Old Testament is ours. It's ours. It's not theirs. It's our book. The Christians, the book wasn't good enough for the Christians, was it, Larry?

No. They said no. This book isn't good enough for us. We've got a better book with a great new character. You're going to love this guy. And so it's our book. So let us -- if you want to know, if the Evangelical Christians really want to understand what's in the book, you know, ask us. We're everywhere. We wander the streets.

A Jew will take any amount of time out of their day to spend time with an Evangelical Christian who has a question about the bible and we'll answer that question if the price is right.

No, but it's unbelievable, that and that frozen embryo thing. Now, how can you say that's a religious -- you can't. It's not a religious issue. In what book of the bible was anything frozen?

KING: Are you talking about stem cell or...

BLACK: Stem cell, the frozen embryo.

KING: Yes.

BLACK: But they're talking about the -- well, these frozen embryos, they're alive. They're, you know, these -- they're alive. The president says they're alive. They're frozen. They're frozen!

What word -- what part of the word frozen don't you understand?

It's frozen!

It means too cold to move, doesn't it? Is it mentioned in the bible anywhere that mention -- is there any mention in the bible of refrigeration?

No! So you can't possibly, possibly at any time say oh, you know, god says. No, god doesn't say. He -- god, in the bible, in the first, in the Old Testament, did he not know -- he didn't even see freezers coming.

And you know what I did?

I actually -- since the president thinks they're alive, I've adopted three frozen embryos and I put them in my freezer. And every time when I open it up and go, "You kids, stop it!," because I want to be a good father and -- but I'm actually going to take them as a tax write-off.

And if it works, if I can get it by the Feds the first time, I'm going to adopt hundreds of them. I'm going to -- I may get a whole, like the -- you remember the old Amana freezer where they used to put, you could buy a cow and dump it in?

KING: Yes, you just put it...

BLACK: Well, I'm going to have a billion of them in there.

KING: When we come back, who makes for better comedy material, Dems on the left or Republicans on the right?

We'll ask the expert.

Don't go away.


LEWIS BLACK, COMEDIAN: If you are inspired by either George Bush or Bill Clinton, then you were probably inspired by your high school principal.

I'll tell you why Clinton and Bush aren't great leaders, OK?

It's simple. Neither of them took responsibility for (OBSCENE WORD OMITTED) anything. Not a (OBSCENE WORD OMITTED). They're unbe (OBSCENE WORD OMITTED) lieavable. They both (OBSCENE WORD OMITTED). Then they go, well, I don't (OBSCENE WORD OMITTED). They are exactly the same group of assholes that when I was a kid told me in case of a nuclear attack to hide under my desk.




LEWIS BLACK, COMEDIAN: About six months ago, I was home alone watching the president speak on television. So it was just really the two of us. As I listened to him, I realized that one of us was nuts.


KING: Ah, politics.

BLACK: Right.

KING: One of your favorite themes, is it not, yes?

BLACK: Umm-hmm. By accident, really, because...

KING: What do you mean?

BLACK: Well, because it's, you know, now they're just providing, you know, I don't even know -- what do I -- I don't even have to write stuff anymore. It's like...

KING: They're their own material?

BLACK: Well, you know, that thing -- I wondered what joke do you write for -- when you pick up the paper and it says Senator Mark Foley or Congressman Foley, who works on the committee to deal with laws involving sexual predators is a sexual predator.

Now, what -- what's the -- what possibly -- how am I going to add to that?

The punch line is written. It's perfect. And it's happening and it's real. It doesn't get any better than that. All you can make is a joke about well, the instant messages. But everything else is gilding the lily. That's the joke. And I didn't have to do any work.

KING: Does it make you angry, though?

BLACK: Yes, it makes me insane. It makes me really insane. You know, or like, you know, the other great line Vice President Cheney shot his friend in the face. Well, quill honey. That was my favorite line of the whole year because that...

KING: Of the year?

BLACK: Well, I think of this year, yes. I laughed so hard I actually fell off my chair and milk came out of my nose. And I -- I don't drink milk anymore, so.

KING: So, there's nothing humorous to say about that, other than that is what...

BLACK: What do you say, you know, except that I'd use it to explain how we got into Iraq, you know?

KING: How do you mean?

BLACK: Well, because, you know -- you know, look, when you're hunting, you're hunting a line here. You know, the -- he's hunting quail, which is nuts to begin with. That's like saying oh, I'm going to go -- I'm going to go fishing and go into a goldfish bowl and go look, I got it! You know? It's just -- you know, he's hunting quail on a farm with a fence around it.

KING: Right.

BLACK: Oh, look, we've got the deer in the corner. Boy, that's hunting. You want to hunt, you do what they do in Wisconsin. You're running through people's backyards, you shoot things at will. I got a quill. Look, I got two quills today.

If he is here and let's say the -- his friend is there and the target is here, you tell me how did he shoot him?

Now, they want to go into Iraq, but who's got the -- who ends up having the weapons of mass destruction?

Iran. It's Iran and Iraq. So the -- so, what? The CIA didn't know the difference between an "N" and a "Q?"

So I think they were lined up thinking they were going into...

KING: Iran?

BLACK: ... Iran, and then it turned out to be Iraq.

KING: So, that was a mistake?

BLACK: Oh, yes, I think so. I think, yes, well this whole thing is a mistake. This is the most massive mistake I've seen in my lifetime. This whole idea that well, we got rid of Saddam. At this point, you could put Saddam back in charge and you're going to -- we would be just as far ahead as we're going to be trying to wait for that -- with them kind, that group that's coming up. They've got nine different commissions and he's still going well, we're going to stay the -- well, we're going to -- I don't know if we're going to order pizza or we're going to get some Jell-O, but we're going to try, you know?

And the guy doesn't even -- the kind they had in the country, he doesn't even come to dinner! What is the matter with us?

I mean you take this -- you knew.

It's like with Tito. How do you not know?

I'm a moron, OK, and yet I knew. If you're going to take -- you and Tito, who kept them all together?

KING: He kept Yugoslavia together, right.

BLACK: Yes, I mean these are people who just hate each other's guts. It's like a group of people who are just like, you know, they go -- they just, they disturb each other.

The same thing you've got in Iraq. You see, you've got this lunatic who's in charge, who's like just, you know, wiping out people willy-nilly and apparently scares them enough so they actually act civil to each other.

And then we go OK, get rid of him and then we don't know how to teach them manners.

KING: Let's discuss some political figures.

BLACK: Oh, yes. KING: Hillary Clinton.

What do you think? What do you think? What do you think?

BLACK: Ooh, it's exhausting. I can't live through that again.

Can't she wait a while? Can't she just wait a while? Can't she just do other stuff and continue to learn things? Do we have to go to this now? Do we -- do I got to go live through this again?

We've already lived through the chapters. Look, everybody wants Bill. OK, well, we'll take Hillary. She's not going to win. She's not going to win. I'm not crazy. I travel all over the country. They just aren't going to -- I don't think they're going to do it. I mean, god love the Democrats, but they've got Hillary and Obama.

So, here's a tremendous kind of a thing. It would be great, in the best of all possible worlds, if you could believe that a woman or a black man is going to win at this point. I wish it were true. I hope it's true, you know?

I mean we were willing enough. But I don't -- look, I don't see it.

KING: Do you like Barak?

BLACK: Yes, I mean he's great. But, you know, who did he beat? He beat Alan Keyes. You could have had -- a cheetah could have run- against Alan Keyes. You could have said well, we're going to nominate this cheetah. And you'd better -- and even, you listen to Alan Keyes and you'd watch the cheetah in a pen and you'd go I'd rather watch the cheetah just walk around than listen to Alan Keyes.

Who did he beat?

He beat nobody. It's like beating nobody. It's really, that's my disturbance with him. I think if you're going to run-to be the president, you have to really kind of have a big victory, you know?

We're -- I didn't -- not a big victory. I just -- I don't get it. I don't...

KING: OK. You don't get it, I know.

BLACK: I don't get it.

Do you?

KING: Governor Vilsack has entered the race.


KING: All right...

BLACK: He's going to have to do something with that name, because that just doesn't sound right, does it? KING: Vilsack?

BLACK: It sounds like something he's running by Vilsack. I don't know where that's located, but I don't want to think about it.

KING: Like a disease, you mean?

BLACK: Yes, like a disease or, you know, a part of your body that you don't really deal with and you don't talk about in polite society.

KING: How about on the Republican side? McCain?

BLACK: Unbelievable, huh?

He snapped. He was rolling along for a while...

KING: He snapped?

BLACK: Yes, now he's got to go talk to -- he's got to go shake hands with (UNINTELLIGIBLE). I've got to talk to O.J. (ph). I've got to talk to this great fellow.

Why? What -- you're Mr. Maverick, you know? You don't need to go kowtowing, you know? You know, eventually, maybe, you know, if you're going to do the whole country when you're running, in the end.

I don't -- here's what I don't understand with John McCain, why -- I really like him. I've talked to him. I thought he's been a straight shooter.

But how, after -- I don't understand how someone -- and I'd love to ask him -- how do you deal with, after what happens in South Carolina with Bush, you know, with the -- with President Bush and Rove and they go after his wife and they say things that are just beyond belief and then they go after -- and they go after Max Cleland. He's in a wheelchair. He's in a wheelchair. He fights in Vietnam and you somehow say that he's not a here -- you know, a hero?

You actually undermine his credibility as a veteran. He's in a wheelchair.

What do you mean? Is he like faking it?

It's unbelievable. So he goes down there and, I think, you know, he gets racked by Bush and then comes around to go, you know, I'm really inspired -- why?

Wouldn't he -- wouldn't you -- he just didn't seem to maintain the course.

KING: Up next, the comic value of stars like Madonna, Britney, Paris and let's not forget Tom and Katie.

BLACK: Oh, boy, that's going to exhaust me.

KING: That's just ahead.


BLACK: Today I bring news of an exciting new phenomenon. It's called human reproduction and it's so amazing that this month's "Vanity Fair" dedicates 22 pages to a photo spread of its latest result. Her name is Suri. Her parents are Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes and apparently they live in the Sears Portrait Studio.




BLACK: Is oral sex adultery? Yes! There is no discussion! If curling is an Olympic sport, then oral sex is adultery. And oral sex should be an Olympic sport. Why? Because it's harder than curling, and if you're any good at it, you deserve a medal.


KING: One of the great lines of all time. Lewis Black. We're discussing personalities. You discussed Tom and Katie there. What do you make of that phenomena, Tom and Katie?

BLACK: I just think it's one of those things that God designs to scare us.

KING: Scares us?

BLACK: Yes. It scares me. Doesn't it? Doesn't it scare you? It's just weird. I don't know why we're kind of attracted to it, or why people seem to have this -- you know, how does it sell magazines? How does it sell anything?

KING: Why are people interested?

BLACK: What is -- he's barely got a personality and she's appeared three or four times during the relationship with like -- and I've got -- herpes on her mouth. And you kind of go, that's not good. You know, they're taking these celebrity photos. It's not like they're -- it's just -- I find it creepy.

That Scientology thing. You know, religion, we're all kind of -- everybody's got the way in which they deal with trying to live on the planet, you know, and whatever, however you get through the day in terms of religion, but Scientology just goes into a place I don't -- you know, they asked me what I thought and you get these calls, what do you think of the wedding? What do you think -- and I said, my hope was that, you know, if this was such a great thing, that the mother ship might pick them up that day and take them back to Zenon (ph) or wherever it was that we supposedly came from, Ice-9 or whatever the hell.

KING: Madonna. BLACK: I don't pay much attention to her. I've never paid much attention to ...

KING: Why?

BLACK: Until this kid thing. And then I thought, you know, that was -- you know, it's like, there's so many -- you've got to go to -- I don't get it. It's one thing if you go to Africa and you kind of like maybe get a focus on, you know, the problems there and the children and all of that, but to go down there to adopt? You know, I don't quite -- and then it becomes like a big thing. Well, did she really -- did she pay the guy off, did the, the baby, yada yada yada. I don't -- who knows? I find they just leave me -- celebrities don't get me as angry, unless they really do something that just I find that that -- most of the time, I just find them disturbing.

KING: Britney Spears?

BLACK: Boy, that's good. She made me feel better about my marriage, so that was good.

KING: You're divorced, aren't you?

BLACK: I was married for about six minutes. It was a real quick thing. Really, we're going to do this? No. It was dead, dead in the water. And I was young. But this is really -- how do you even -- how -- K-Fed, you know, it would be like dating somebody named KFC. Why would you go with someone named K-Fed? And then she's -- you know, now her picture is on the Internet with her hoo-ha, you know, apparently parading that about. You go what? And everybody knows this. It's like we're a phone call away from psychoses at any moment. The phone ringing and you go, you know what? You know what's next?

You know, I hope I don't -- it's whatever -- you know, it makes you pine for royalty in a weird way, doesn't it? Because at least then you kind of know they've inner-married, you know, years and years, the gene pool just mixing...

KING: Cousins with the uncle and the uncle...

BLACK: Exactly. You know, they've all got kind of water on the brain, and Philip, you know, when he -- the whole crowd, the queen, they are all kind of staring off into space oddly, but at least there's -- there's some sort of history. This kind of -- that Hollywood has a royalty, you know, that it seems to replace the royalty factor, doesn't it?

KING: Paris Hilton?

BLACK: Wow! Doesn't it -- the thing is -- every time you say one of these names, they're going to be around for the rest of my life. It's just -- it's exhausting to think about. And that her -- because her father owns a hotel? You get it for that, for hotels? I mean, what was the talent? What was the genetic talent?

KING: How do you explain it? BLACK: I don't explain it. Do you know?

KING: I don't know. You got me talking like that. How do you explain it?

BLACK: They come on the show? Did you get Paris Hilton on the show?

KING: Haven't had her on yet.

BLACK: What would you say to her? How could you possibly -- what would you do? And then she'd have those little dogs, those little yippee dogs. Paris Hilton -- but did you ever think in your lifetime, when you stayed at the Hilton hotel, did you go, boy, I can't wait to see the progeny of these hotel owners. I cannot wait. They have that kind of soap, I can't wait to see their kids. What? It doesn't make sense, Larry, does it? My God!

KING: Pittsville, Massachusetts, a call for Lewis Black.

CALLER: Hi. I just have a question for Lewis.

KING: Go ahead.

CALLER: I was just wondering, what is up with your fingers when you do your stand-up?

BLACK: They're just pointers. They point.

KING: What do you mean, his fingers?

BLACK: You mean the pointing?

CALLER: Yes. When you get really angry, your fingers just...

KING: Yeah, why do your fingers go haywire?

BLACK: Just the way I -- it's got to go somewhere. And it -- it also started -- I didn't even know I was doing it for a long time. But I think it has to do with you're in a large space and you want -- you know, it's, you know, you want people to see you.

KING: It's very effective, though.

BLACK: And you want people to see it. And it keeps their focus. And also people think, you know -- and it works, you know. I mean, it's -- the thing is, you focus and you do that, sometimes people come up and they go, how long are your fingers? They must be huge.

KING: Still ahead, Lewis' disdain for "Dancing With the Stars."

BLACK: Oh, yeah, that's good. Let's do that. That group of idiots.

KING: Let's just say he (inaudible) how he feels about this show. BLACK: Why don't we come back dancing?

KING: And then there's the way he feels about traveling.

BLACK: Oh, boy.

KING: Lots ahead.

BLACK: Yeah, keep the calls coming.


BLACK: Who do you think designed the coach seats on an airplane? I think it's a guy with scoliosis who was really pissed.

Yeah, but this is the most comfortable chair ever. I don't know what they're bitching about. This is perfect.




BLACK: I got to travel a lot this year. I got to get out of the country, which was really great. And, you know, it would have been nice if our president, when he was young, had had some intellectual curiosity and he had gotten out of the country too.

I was shocked to discover that he never even went to Canada. How is that possible? Even drunk on a bet, you make it to Canada.


KING: We're back with Lewis Black. About traveling, is traveling -- you travel a lot?

BLACK: I travel a lot.

KING: Still a hassle?

BLACK: Yes. Somebody once asked what am I more afraid of, airports or airplanes? And I'm more afraid of airports. And it just gets weirder. It just -- you know, anyone who walks into an airport at this point in time and feels that they're secure and that somehow that, you know, that this thing is all working, you know, that we are really safe, is delusional.

I believe you could actually take all the equipment down and have mimes just pretend, and it would be as effective as we have now.

This is a true story. I watched a woman. This is the kind of stuff, I see this -- have you ever been in an airport and you make -- where you have seen somebody taken aside that you went, wow, that's a suspicious-looking person. Never, never! I see people my father's age, and they're patting them down to see as if maybe they went, you know, they went to the bathroom on themselves. Is that why you're touching him in the behind? Why would you pat down an 87-year-old man? What level -- where did the memo come from?

I watched this woman who was literally in a wheelchair -- this is LAX, where they just do a tremendous job there. They're working night and day to make sure we're safe. She's totally immobile, totally. They're going to have to pull her out of the chair and place her in the plane.

So, why would you even stop her? You know? I mean, just get her on the plane. The poor woman is like -- you know, whatever it took, it took courage to show up to fly on a plane to begin with. She's immobile. They're actually -- you know, when they dog your briefcase to see if you have got a bomb in it, they're dogging her to test her to see if she's a bomb.

So I actually went up to them, which, as you know, is a big mistake. And I said, excuse me, I just -- she is not a bomb. I know you don't have to trust me on this. You don't know me, but she is not a bomb. And I know that you believe that the al Qaeda are masters of disguise, but if she's actually a bomb, this is not terrorism, it's a work of art.

KING: What have you got against "Dancing With the Stars?" Oh, boy!

BLACK: Well, what have you got for it? Why would you -- where did we get to? Nobody dances. What are they watching? It's not like we go on Friday and people all over the country are dancing, so you go, gee, I can't wait to see Emmitt Smith dance or Tucker Carlson. Why would you want to see them dance is beyond me, but that's a whole other can of worms. But just the basics. We don't do it. Most of us haven't done it since high school. Do you go dancing every week?


BLACK: Nobody does.

KING: That's right. Nobody even says let's go dancing.

BLACK: Nobody says it. They might say there was a time, like 10 years ago, when some of my friends' marriages were falling apart, where they would go, let's go do Friday night -- let's take dance lessons, like that's going to put the marriage back together. Boy, if we could cha-cha together, you know, hoo-ha!

But this, and then -- I just find it -- it's in -- it's inexplicable to me. Sometimes I feel like it's good for me in a way, because I don't do drugs anymore. So when I turn it on, it's like I'm watching and going, wow!

KING: The only time you dance is if you go to a dinner, there might be dancing and an orchestra. And it's some sort of dinner.

BLACK: Or you're in a wedding...

KING: Yeah, a wedding.

BLACK: At a wedding and you're trashed.

KING: Did you dance at your prom?

BLACK: I danced at the prom. I danced at my prom.

KING: What high school did you go to?

BLACK: I went to Springbrook High School.

KING: There it is. Look at it!

BLACK: Oh, wow. That's scary. That's not right. No, that's not right. That was my prom date.

KING: Who was she?

BLACK: Cindy Coleman (ph), now works in a law office in Washington. This is me when I was -- before the operation. I was originally a Mongoloid child. And surgery was done. And those glasses are hard to come by anymore. You can't -- that's a tough -- you can't even find those glasses.

KING: So "Dancing With the Stars" is off your list, right?

BLACK: I turn it on for like five minutes to kind of get the feeling like I'm stoned, like, wow, this is really unusual.

KING: What do you make of "American Idol?"

BLACK: That was like the end of the way you're supposed to discover talent, isn't it? Aren't you supposed to -- you did it. You worked -- isn't this the way it's supposed to be? You worked in radio, you came up, you go from one schleppy job to another and you learn how you do what it is -- you know, these people never sang in front of drunks in some sort of honky-tonk. They go from point A to point Z without anywhere in between. And then, you know, they kind of follow some of them around the country every so often, you know, that they'll be playing a theater that I've played and they'll ask about these people and they go, well, you know, they've got an attitude. They've got an attitude? How do you come up with an attitude? You know, you are so lucky that you just went from A to Z, how do you -- I just think it's hideous.

KING: When we come back, the black and white issue of Hollywood's penguin obsession at the movies. Speaking of which, as we go to break, a sample of Lewis' own movie skills as Uncle Ben in the film "Accepted." Don't go away.


BLACK: Look, we throw a lot of fancy words in front of these kids in order to attract them to going to school in the belief that they're going to have a better life. And we all know that all we're doing is breeding a whole new generation of buyers and sellers, buyers and sellers, pimps and whores! And indoctrinating them into a life- long hell of debt and indecision.





BLACK: Come on. It's going to be fun. We're going to watch some football, eat some turkey sandwiches. No No. 2s on the bus.

Time to make my picks. Here we go. Chris Henry. He's going to be playing today. Wide receiver. He's been arrested four times in like the last seven months. That's spectacular. You know, the guy needs a hobby. Maybe Ben Roethlisberger is going to sell his bike. Henry is going to play, then we go with Cincinnati. Why not? He's not been convicted. Play ball!


KING: You enjoy that?

BLACK: I like doing that, yeah, that's fun.

KING: The football thing?

BLACK: Yes. It's a nice diversion and it's great. Because it's about -- I like yelling about nothing, you know. It's fun to yell about that. It's such a silly thing, football. It's so much fun. And it gives you so much fodder.

KING: We have an e-mail question, personal and to the point, from Patsy in Imperial Beach. "How come you're not married?"

BLACK: Because I'm -- how come I'm not married? Because women just leap on a guy like me. They go, wow, you know, I would like to meet an angry -- you know, I would like to meet somebody angry, nasty, bitter.

KING: Do you think you would be hard to live with?

BLACK: Now I am, because I'm kind of set in my ways, so you kind of got to watch out. I go from point A to point B. I don't have time -- I will walk around during the early day -- if I'm not getting something right or if I didn't do something, I will actually yell at myself for like three to five minutes at a time.

KING: You, George W. Bush and John Kerry all attended Yale.


KING: You were at the school of drama.

BLACK: I was at the school of drama, the kind of sissy end of Yale. KING: Why don't you play that up more? You are an intellectual.

BLACK: Nah. Nah, I can't push that, not in this country. I can't go, I'm the Sartre of comedy. It's like, you know, no, you can't really push that. It's not a big selling point.

KING: It's not?

BLACK: I don't think so. Do you?

KING: Did you like Yale?

BLACK: At the time I went, it was a little depressing because it was -- I started to realize why the rich in this country were -- you know, it had kind of flipped. It had been 55 percent in the '60s, it was 55 percent public school, 45 percent private school. Then it flipped back to when I got there in the '70s, it was 55 percent private school kids, and you get a sense of why -- that the rich have intermarried to the point where it's out of control.

KING: The rich have intermarried?

BLACK: I think so. The rich keep kind of marrying each other and so you've got these kids are driving around, big waddy head kids, you know, they have got a BMW, but they have got to have something to keep their head, you know, so it doesn't fall over.

KING: What do you think of school in general? Are you a fan of our education system?

BLACK: I think we've really got to work -- I think that's my biggest bone of contention. That's the most important thing there is. Bar anything else, is education. Everything starts from there. We can discuss all the wars, we can discuss all the political problems. But for us, as a country, we've got to get back to learning how to teach people how to do things, you know. I mean, it's just -- it's appalling. We got a public education -- when I went to school, you went to school in New York when my parents -- you know, and my parents went earlier than you and the school system in New York was spectacular.

KING: Best.

BLACK: Best in the world.

KING: When we were kids, if you went to private school, something was the matter with you.

BLACK: Right. And the schools I went to, within a 30- to 35- or 40-year period, we've completely destroyed. I mean, 49 percent of the kids in New York City schools don't graduate. That's like the Titanic. The boat is sinking. Do you have to see it? You are not graduating 50 percent of the kids, and you can't figure it out and we can't seem to manage it. That, to me, is where the money has to go.

And they're going, well, you can't throw money at education. Well, you know what you do? You pay teachers. That's what you do. Because when I was a kid, there was one of the great jobs was being a teacher.

KING: Absolutely.

BLACK: It's a perfect middle-class job, and they paid you really well in terms of the income. You can't expect somebody there going, $35,000? What are you -- to live in New York City? What are you, nuts? To go work in an inner city school and try to struggle with the problems that you're dealing with and you have got to deal with the parents, and then you have got to deal with the administrators, and the real problem that you have got to deal with, is what you really need to focus on is these kids, and they're giving you -- you know, hey, here is -- why don't you hitchhike home?

Pay them! You've got to make it competitive. I don't think I'm crazy here. How difficult is it to pay teachers a reasonable wage so that we're competing? Because most kids go to college. They go, I want to be a business major, which is the phoniest major on earth. That's business. No! You can't be a business major. There's all sorts of business.

KING: That's phony?

BLACK: I think it's a BS major. That's as close as I'm going to get to saying something bad.

KING: OK. We'll be back with our remaining moments with Lewis Black right after this.


BLACK: General Motors paid to integrate its new Pontiac Solstice GXP into the plot of a new comic book "Rush City." Advertising in comic books. It's all part of their latest ad campaign. Pontiac, don't have your mom pick you up in anything else.

And then there's U.S. Air. The struggling airline plans on selling ad space on its in-flight sickness bags, because nothing builds brand loyalty like associating your company with nausea and vomiting.




BLACK: The fact of the matter is, for the Democrats not to be able to find somebody who could have defeated George Bush is beyond belief. It's stunning! It would be like finding a normal person who would lose in the special Olympics.


KING: That's funny. All right. We're running out of time. A couple of quick things. What do you make of this penguin thing we're on, "Happy Feet?"

BLACK: "Happy Feet?" You know, I'm doing a penguin movie. I've done a penguin movie with Bob Saget and Samuel L. Jackson as a narrator called "Farce of the Penguins."

KING: Were penguins in it? You and penguins?

BLACK: It was not me and penguins. That will be the next one. That will be when I move from this career into my new animal life, my -- you know, it will be me on the Discovery Channel with -- no, it's a documentary footage of penguins and we did the voices.

KING: And what about this, your complaint about Christmas coming so early that we start celebrating it so quickly? We've got a minute.

BLACK: Thanksgiving is the Christmas halftime show. Right? Thanksgiving used to be its own holiday. Remember, it had to do with -- you know, nobody when I was a kid said to us, hey, you know, it's Thanksgiving day. You know, Thanksgiving week -- we ate, we drank, and we passed out and nobody woke us up and said, let's go shopping.

I don't know when we got -- the economy got tied to Santa. But if Santa is so important to the American economy, think about electing him as the president.

KING: When did Friday become a shopping day after Thanksgiving?

BLACK: Isn't that unbelievable? And then it's like, did they shop? Did they shop? LARRY KING LIVE, did they shop? We're here at -- at the Wal-Mart, people, we're going to be talking to everybody, Target. Did they shop? What is the matter with us? And like somehow things will change.

This has been great. Stay tuned. They're going to show you how to make sherbet next.

KING: Lewis Black. You'll see him on the upcoming special "Last Laugh '06." He is in the movie "Unaccompanied Minors." He is a commentator on "The Daily Show," he's on HBO "Football." He's one of the great comics and he's the "New York Times" best-selling author of "Nothing Sacred." And his goal is to meet and actually touch Don Rickles. And that will then complete his career.

And we thank you very much. And Monday night, we'll be looking at that terrible tragedy of that incredible shooting in New York.

"AC 360" with Anderson Cooper is next. Watch the crawl. Good night.


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