As far as his preoccupations are concerned, Lewis Black is your conventional Boom Generation kvetch. The comic, who turns 64 in two weeks, obsesses over iPhones, the Internet, our idiot politicians, and how different things were when he was a youth. At one point during the long set that inaugurated not only his five-night stand at City Winery Chicago but City Winery Chicago itself, Black actually complained that there are hundreds of channels on cable TV but (spoiler alert!) nothing to watch.
So how is it that he’s hilarious anyway?
Well, he knows his audience for one thing. The crowd around me at CWC definitely skewed toward folks old enough to identify when Black recalled watching TV in the years before remote-control wands: the hardship of having to get up and actually cross the room to change channels, the plastic dial cracking off from overuse and inevitably being replaced by a pair of pliers. I’m sure a twentysomething listening to that bit would be annoyed by its scolding, kids-now-got-it-easy tone, however tongue in cheek. (Indeed, a friend of one of my sons says he keeps his distance from Black because he feels like the comic is always “yelling at me.”) As a member of the target demographic, however, I found it pretty funny.