Lewis Black Biography

Actor, Comedian, Writer(1948–)
Lewis Black is known as the comedic king of the rant, skewering anything he sees—usually of the political variety.

Synopsis

Lewis Black’s career exploded in the late 1990s when he became a guest commentator on the humorous news show The Daily Show. His success on the show led to numerous stand-up specials, including Black on Broadway and Red, White, and Screwed for HBO. During his long career, Black has won many awards, including a Grammy for Best Comedy Album for The Carnegie Hall Performance.

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Early Life

Comedian, actor and playwright Lewis Black was born on August 30, 1948, in Silver Spring, Maryland. Most people know Black as the comedic king of the rant, artfully skewering anything he sees—usually of the political variety. The son of an engineer and a teacher, he became interested in theater while in high school. To pursue this interest, he attended the University of North Carolina in the late 1960s, where he began writing plays. Black later went to the prestigious Yale School of Drama, graduating with a master's degree in 1977.

Early Career

After Yale, Black became the playwright-in-residence and artistic director of the West Bank Cafe Downstairs Theater Bar in New York City. His trademark dark humor and volatile stand-up stage persona was honed by serving as a warm-up act for the theater's productions, some of which he wrote himself. By the mid-1980s, Black was a comedian on the rise. He even tried his hand at a television series with the 1986 pilot The Rock, which was based on his stand-up routine.

Successful Comedic Career

While the pilot wasn't picked up, Black began to land some film roles, appearing in Woody Allen's Hannah and Her Sisters (1986) and Jacob's Ladder (1991). He also had a part on the short-lived sitcom The Days and Nights of Molly Dodd in the early 1990s. But Black's career really exploded later in the decade when he became a guest commentator on the humorous pretend news program The Daily Show.

Audiences around the country were introduced his comedic yelling and animated finger-pointing regarding current events, social phenomena, world leaders and other topics on his featured segment, called "Back in Black." His success on the show led to numerous stand-up specials, including Black on Broadway (2004) and Red, White, and Screwed (2006) for the HBO cable network.

Later Roles and Achievements

During his long career, Lewis Black has won many awards, including a 1998 Drama Desk Award for Black Humor and a Grammy Award for Best Comedy Album for The Carnegie Hall Performance in 2007.  

Black continues to tour heavily, playing countless dates each year to the delight of his fans. He found time in his hectic schedule to appear in the comedy Unaccompanied Minors and the political drama Man of the Year with Robin Williams in 2006. Around that time, Black also lent his gravelly voice to the animated films The Happy Elf (2005) and Farce of the Penguins (2006).

In 2013, the comedian recorded another stand-up special, Old Yeller: Live at the Borgata, in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Two years later, he was among the featured contributors to the animated Pixar hit Inside Out, fittingly voicing the emotion of "Anger" for the main character.

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