what i'm watching: lewis black

I'm not a big fan of stand-up comedy, but one comedian I really like is Lewis Black. He's never been as funny or as cutting as the first time we saw him, broadcast from Tompkins Square Park on New York's lower east side, but he still really makes me laugh. (Naturally I love his politics, but that alone is not enough for me to like someone's comedy.)

Last night I caught a bit of his "Black on Broadway" on the Comedy Network. Thank goodness Canada isn't afraid of putting certain four-letter words on the air; the US's Comedy Channel would bleep the fuck out of Black's stand-up.

In case you haven't seen this, I have to report the Obligatory Canada Reference. Black was holding forth about Americans who declare the US the greatest nation in the world, and how obnoxious that is. "You know how I know it's obnoxious?" he ranted. Because (paraphrasing here), if there was a guy who worked in your office who kept popping in all day to say 'I'm the greatest fucker here!', you'd want to bash his head in.

Black points out that many people who claim the US is the greatest country on earth have never been to another country.
There are people who have never left the country who talk about how it's the greatest country on earth. How would they know? There could be countries where they give shit away for free every day. [pause] Canada is one of those countries. You know what they give away free there? [pause] Health insurance!!
I notice Black is playing Toronto's Massey Hall in October.


impudent strumpet said...

I that too, and I was surprised that they didn't censor it because they often censor for language in other stand-up comedy shows. (Or maybe it comes to them censored already, I don't know.) One of their shows is announced as something like "Comedy Now: Uncensored" but they still blank out certain words.

L-girl said...

Maybe they are running already-censored material, like you said, because as far as I know Canadian TV doesn't censor for language.

Or perhaps it's the time of day. You know, the "viewer discretion is advised" warning after 10:00, then no more bleeps.

Wrye said...

Oh hella awesome. Go see him, anyone who gets the chance. I saw Lew when he played Vancouver last...November, I think. The man is a titan. His discussion of day, fundamentalists versus Jews, or evolution, is a classic.

Like Stewart, Black knows much more about Canada than he lets on in front of a US audience. Though our customs officers annoy him, I can't imagine why. "I'm not a terrorist...I'm the guy who'd get blown up by terrorists".

Holy smoke, he's in Massachussetts Sept 2, then in IRELAND on the 4th and 5th, then in Ontario on the 9th. I see the same guy's going his booking this year...

L-girl said...

Damn! I just checked, it's a Friday night, we're both working and no chance of taking any more time off. Rats.

I'll try again next time he's in the area, though. So great you saw him in Vancouver.

Re Black's travel plans, his "don't go to New Zealand" bit was the first time I'd ever considered it from that angle. I've been wanting to go to NZ for a long time, but I never really thought about 22 hours on a plane before! I was uncomfortable, sitting up and not sleeping, from NYC to Lima...

impudent strumpet said...

Coincidentally, I was flipping channels today and I saw him on Just For Laughs, and he was censoring himself. I would never have guessed that he was censoring himself if I hadn't seen the Black on Broadway show yesterday, but the Just For Laughs show was completely fuckless. The cleaner language made it seem less edgy, but I think essentially they had the same humour value.

L-girl said...

Interesting! Toned down for the taping, I presume.

Scott M. said...

As I recall, the rule of thumb for tviewer advisories and the like is as follows:

9pm is the watershed hour in Canada. Before 9pm networks should avoid use of foul language (exceptions for live broadcasts where they wouldn't expect it and newsworthy swearing - Ray Nagin (sp?) was never bleeped here).

At any time they must use audiable viewer advisories coming out of commercials, the "leaf" icon denoting the recommended age must appear for at least 15 seconds at the top of every hour, and they must be V-Chip encoded.

If a station is broadcast across multiple time zones, the watershed hour refers to the timezone that the station eminates it's broadcast from (yes, that means you can have bad language and full nudity on at 6pm on the west coast!)

That being said, these rules are broken all the time. The punishment? Usually nothing. If there is a complaint, it goes to The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council which will require the station to apologize or withdraw from the council and face the consequences of the CRTC. They deal with Radio too.

Heck, every day the Who's "Who Are You" is played on Classic Rock radio stations nationwide, complete with the "Who the fuck are you" line. No one cares, really.

The CBSC's decisions are rather entertaining at times -- it's worth spending some time reading them.

Scott M. said...

BTW, one of the thing that really annoys the hell out of me is the bleeping in American broadcasts. Often the Canadian stations get the already-bleeped tape and air it, despite the fact that it's allowed.

VERY annoying.

Lots of examples too -- Jon Stewart comes to mind, as well as bearchested women who would normally be seen any hour of the day, instead they have it all 'fuzzed' out.

L-girl said...

bearchested women

I hope they're bare-chested, not bear-chested. I mean, to each her own, but ewwwww.

(Not picking on you, Scott, just an amusing typo anyone could have made.)

Scott M. said...


Lone Primate said...

Oh, Scott, you're a man after my own hart. :D