Lewis Black

Comedian/author/ playwright Lewis Black doesn't have to search very far for material for his stand-up. He just opens the newspaper, turns on the TV or listens to the radio and hears the rants of Republicans and Democrats.

"Hearing what both parties are doing does not bode well for the country," said Black during a telephone interview from Michigan. "They give me all the material I need. I mean I read the headlines and there is my new piece. For example, CNN is reporting about a hydrogen car that we can do in 10 years, but we'll still drill for oil for the next 20 is just, um, it doesn't make sense."

Black said stand-up is the most enjoyable aspect of his life.

"I find it more relaxing than anything," he said. "There's rhythm to it that I really enjoy. I love writing it and I love working on it and performing it."

Before stand-up even entered his life, Black wanted to be a playwright. He was the playwright-in-residence at the West Band Cafe's Downstairs Theatre Bar in New York.

His stand-up began bubbling to the surface during those years.

"Stand-up was always a work in progress," he said. " ... But the years have helped me get better."

In the past decade, Black found his way into film, TV, CD recordings and books.

His sixth CD, "Anticipation," has more of a running theme than his others, he said.

"I did think the others had a theme, but this one is more noticeable," he said. "I started thinking of things that were more fun before they happened, and that started the whole ball rolling."

Tracks on the album include "Xmas," "Santa," Chanukah and "Blueberry Pancakes."

"All the pieces started out as works-in-progress," he said. "And it took me about eight months to get them finished."

Black said when he comes to Salt Lake City he will have new material for his show.

"Those who saw me last time will hear new stuff," he said. "And those who haven't seen me before in Utah will hear new stuff. There aren't a lot of older pieces I keep, because people expect new material."

In addition to his Comedy Central programs and other projects, Black is also heavily involved in charities — Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, Autism Speaks, 52nd Street Project, the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence and Rusty Magee Clinic for Families.

"I usually do charity for organizations that pay me," he said. Then he laughed. "No, the charity work all came about through different ways.

"With the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, they needed someone to host a golf event. And I've been doing things with them for 15 years, now."

All of the charities can be found on his Web site www.lewisblack.com

Black, who cited the late George Carlin as his mentor, was devastated when the comedian passed away last month.

"It hurt," he said. "And then people started looking at me to carry on the torch. I, in turn, began looking at others to do it.

"I think it would take eight of us (comedians) to even begin to do what George Carlin did for comedy ... "

If you go

What: Lewis Black

Where: Kingsbury Hall, University of Utah

When: Saturday, 8 p.m.

How much: $47.50-$62.50

Phone: 467-8499, 800-888-8499

Web: www.smithstix.com

E-mail: [email protected]