Comedian Lewis Black Says He Doesn't Have a Cleveland-related Rant — But He Really Does

Comedian Lewis Black, who brings his the Rant is Due: Part Deux tour to the State Theater on Feb. 21, says he doesn’t have a rant about Cleveland. But he sort of does.

“You have gambling there now,” he says. “That’s a really good move. I’m sure that will improve things. I haven’t been there since the casino came in. I was there and they were supposed to have it built but it fell down or some shit.”

He recalls that he began performing in Cleveland some 20 years ago when the Flats were thriving.

“They were the Holy Grail,” he says of the Flats. “They were supposed to do it. For a number of years, they did. Now, that’s gone. Now there’s a whole restaurant row and they want to build it there. They’re fucking great restaurants. I don’t know if that’s come to fruition. There was another artsy community bubbling up. All the dots never get fucking connected. It’s too bad because it really is a great town. Eventually, they’ll figure it out. The sad thing is that mall downtown has its moments but you go, ‘this is a sad mall.’”

When we tell him about the gentrification that’s taken place in downtown Cleveland, he bristles.

“Eventually, it will be [gentrified] and you’ll be irritated.” he says. “That’s the other thing. The airport in Newark has up-scaled all the eateries. It’s like, ‘Who the fuck do you think is flying, you fucks?’ You’re already getting us up the ass. Now you have a place that has gourmet meatballs. Are you shitting me?”

For the current tour, he’s been talking about “topics that include current events, social media, politics and anything else that exposes the hypocrisy and madness in the world.”

“There’s a chunk about mental health that I’m still working on,” he says. “There’s a big chunk about traveling. I traveled through Europe last summer performing, so I talk about that. We got into whatever nonsense these idiots in leadership did over the last day or the last week. It’s essentially whatever the leadership has refused to deal with that week. At the end of each show and the reason why we call it the Rant is Due: Part Deux is because the audience can ask questions or write whatever they want. That’s whatever audience we have on the web and whatever audience we’re streaming to. For the last 15 minutes or half hour, the folks out there ask questions and address things they pick up on. It’s like two shows at this point.”

In fitting fashion, our phone interview with Black comes to a close with a long-winded rant.

“Geyser Peak is an ice tea I’ve been drinking," he says. "Ten years ago, it was made in Colorado and then Pepsi comes in a buys it. You get these farm-to-table things and these jackasses come in and buy it. It’s the same with the tech companies and they’ll make this little thing and Google will buy it for 17 billion dollars. It’s that fight between what makes the country great and what makes it suck. It’s like Chiptole tries and at least they’re not serving you a trough of shit. They had good profits but it didn’t help them on the stock market because fast food should do better. You can’t keep doing better. There comes a point of diminishing returns. I don’t know why it works that way or how it can work that way. You made a gazillion dollars and then you want to make another gazillion and somehow our economy is suffering because they didn’t make another gazillion. Come off it. There’s a tension I’ve always thought between capitalism and democracy. I’m the only one who apparently feels that tension. Everyone else feels like without capitalism there’s no freedom. I guess I don’t know what the fuck is going on. Now they’re getting crazy. The good news is that the price of oil is going down. The bad news is that the price of oil is going down. No, it’s good news for us but bad news for companies that should have do something more in terms of alternatives. How sad. I’m not going to weep for the oil companies who made huge profits for the past four years. Fuck them.” 

Expect more where this came from when Black appears at the State Theatre. Should be plenty entertaining.