LEWIS BLACK, Kingsbury Hall, Saturday

If Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. is looking for a spokesman for his effort to modernize Utah's liquor laws, maybe he ought to enlist Lewis Black.

Black, it seems, is not a fan of the state's private clubs set-up. Performing Saturday night in a nearly sold-out Kingsbury Hall, the comedian said that Utah's "bars drove me (expletive) nuts!"

OK, so maybe Black wouldn't make a great spokesman. You know, what with dropping an uncountable number of f-bombs.

The comedian lived here for a couple of months back in 2006, shooting a movie ("Unaccompanied Minors") and rehearsing his act for that year's tour.

"I've actually spent time here, so I think I have an understanding of some of the pain that you go through," he told the audience.

Black's stock in trade is the rant, and he didn't spare Utah. But he also didn't make a single polygamy joke — setting him apart from the comedy hacks who can't come up with anything more original than that.

He did, however, reference America's "Puritan streak that's astonishing and runs through your state like a (expletive) knife."

But the alcohol-control system took most of his local broadsides. Like his continuing astonishment that you have to pay to join a private club.

"Really? Is there, like, a spa in the back?" Black said.

And that was before you get to the "absurd" system of measuring and dispensing drinks. Although maybe the private clubs do exactly what the anti-alcohol forces intend — Black joked that he was too frustrated to drink.

"I'm not going to go to a bar. It's just (expletive) irritating the (expletive) out of me," he said.

Actually, jokes about Utah made up only a very small part of Black's act, which took on sex education, iPods, his 90-year-old parents, his impending 60th birthday, the economy, the mortgage crisis, national security, gas and oil companies, the auto industry and politics.

Not that he's biased against one party or another. He's biased against both, taking shots at President Bush, Barack Obama, John McCain, Hillary Clinton and more.

And he didn't spare himself. The only times his angry-man facade broke were when he flubbed a couple of his own jokes — and couldn't resist laughing at himself.

Or when he recounted his mother's reaction to the news that Black's book, "Me of Little Faith," made the New York Times best-seller list:

"Wow! Who knew there were that many (expletive) idiots out there!"

Black kept the crowd howling for 82 minutes. You can't ask for more than that.


E-mail: pierce@desnews.com