Comedian Lewis Black on buying Valentine’s Day gifts for pets & other signs of mental illness

By on February 15, 2018

In the fall of 2016, about a month before our last presidential election, the perpetually pissed-off comedian Lewis Black, who is known as the “King of the Rant,” brought his brand new stand-up slightly NSFW comedy show — billed as Black to the Future — to Manhattan’s Marquis Theatre.

Sorry, we no longer have this nearly hour-long show streaming for our subscribers on Night Flight Plus.


The occasionally profane stand-up performance he’d filmed on September 26th was first aired as a comedy special on TV’s Comedy Central network a little less than a month later, right around the same time that Black to the Future was the very first release on Black’s new DVD/CD label, Stark Raving Black Productions.

Black — a longtime favorite of Night Flight, dating back to the late 1990s when he became a guest commentator on Jon Stewart’s “The Daily Show” — was able to realize of one his biggest career ambitions, the chance to do a Broadway show of his own (although he’d actually performed on Broadway once before: his one-man show “Lewis Black: Running on Empty” ran for eight performances at the Richard Rodgers Theatre in 2012).

He performed at the Marquis on several Monday nights on what was originally planned as a limited four-night engagement (September 12, 19, 26 and October 10, 2016), when the Gloria Estefan bio-musical “On Your Feet!” was dark.


His new show proved to be so popular, however, that two more dates for “Black to the Future” were added for October 17th and 24th.

The venue is located at 1535 Broadway in midtown Manhattan, and apparently it’s just a few blocks from where Black lives in NYC, which is why you see Black walking to the venue in the opening scenes.


At the time of his 2016 filmed show, the dyspeptic ranting comedian had just come off the road after touring the U.S. during the summer of 2016 with his hugely-successful show “The Rant is Due” (which is actually available on a bonus DVD available along Black to the Future should you decide to buy this performance).

With the then-upcoming election of 2016, he certainly had plenty to rant about, and because the shows were staged on consecutive Mondays, rather than a straight week-long run, he was be able to keep the show up-to-date in order to, as he wrote, “get mad about the madness.”


Black likes to point out some of the absurdities of life, and nothing could be more absurd than the last election, right?

Right off the bat, Black had a lot to say about the choices being offered for voting for a new president.

He tells the audience that a recent survey at the time, by the Public Policy Polling people, had revealed that 13% of potential voters would prefer to have a giant meteor crash into the Earth and destroy civilization than to see either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump in the White House (you can count us among that group too).


The audience, of course, breaks into applause and Black uses it as a jumping off point to continue with the rant, saying, “Seriously, what need more be said? Thirteen percent. That’s not a small amount of people. That’s a lot of people saying, ‘fucking kill me.'”

“We’re living at the intersection of satire and reality,” Black said at the time about current American politics, in equal parts disbelief and despair. “We live in fictional times.”


Black also provides his pre-election views of some of the other presidential candidates — including Ted Cruz and Ben Carson — as gun control well as discussing mental illness (as prescribed by the NRA and exemplified by the members Congress), the Old Testament, Copenhagen and a lactating German Woman.

On another and even lighter note, here’s another excerpt from Black to the Future that also provided us with a few much-needed chuckles:

“I pick up the paper, I read, you know, a while back, that, um… $640 million was spent by Americans purchasing Valentine’s Day gifts for pets. Okay, that’s– that’s the sign something’s fuckin’ wrong. Stinkmuffin and Farty Lick don’t give a shit, okay? They don’t have a calendar. They’re not waiting by the door going, ‘Oh boy, I can’t wait to see what they got me!’ You’ve lost touch with reality, you fucker! If any of you purchased a Valentine’s Day gift for your pet, you have to get counseling for at least an hour next week.”


“The only time… The only time you can purchase a Valentine’s Day gift for your pet is, let’s say, you’re fucking your cockatoo. Then I think you should really get it something nice.”

“In New York, a while back, a few years ago, there was a gentleman… who… As a Jew, this is difficult. He… he gave his dog a bar mitzvah. Yeah. Yeah, yeah. What’s my job? What’s my job? Spent $10,000, a hundred people came, he did it at Sammy’s Romanian. He called it a ‘bark mitzvah.'”

“As soon as his friends, if his friends fuckin’ cared about him, as soon as they got the notice that he was throwing a bar mitzvah for his dog, those friends should have immediately had an intervention.”

“If that’s not a cry for fuckin’ help, I don’t know what is.”


About Bryan Thomas

Bryan Thomas has been a freelancing writer/critic for All Music Guide, and a contributor to Launch, Music Connection, Big Takeover and numerous other publications and entertainment websites, blogs and zines, most of them long gone. He's written more than sixty sets of liner notes. He’s also worked for over twenty years at mostly reissue record labels -- prior to that he worked in bookstores and record stores, going all the way back to the original vinyl daze. He lives in the Miracle Mile neighborhood of Los Angeles, CA.