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Lewis Black
Comedian, Actor, and Playwright
02:58

Lewis Black on Millennials: It's "Ludicrous to Be Critical"

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The behavior of the Millennial generation is not infrequently criticized, especially regarding their relationship to technology. But if Millennials live their lives via screens, says Lewis Black, it's because the Baby Boomer generation gave them digital technology like an unsought after acid trip: "That generation turns around and drops on these kids something that was just as potent as LSD. That phone and the amount of apps and the amount of crap and the computer, it's the extension of the human nervous system."

Lewis Black

Lewis Black uses his trademark style of comedic yelling and animated finger-pointing to skewer anything and anyone that gets under his skin. His comedic brilliance lies in his ability to make people laugh at the absurdities of life, with topics that include current events, social media, politics and anything else that exposes the hypocrisy and madness he sees in the world.

Born in Washington D.C. on Aug. 30, 1948, Black was raised in Silver Spring, Md. Degrees followed from the University of North Carolina and Yale Drama School, with a stint in Colorado owning a theatre with a group of friends in the interim. During his tenure at UNC, Black ventured into stand-up, performing at Cat’s Cradle in Chapel Hill. Stand-up was a steady presence as he pursued his career in theatre. Black eventually settled in New York City and became the playwright-in-residence at the West Bank Café’s Downstairs Theatre Bar. He oversaw the development of more than 1,000 plays, including works by “West Wing” creator Aaron Sorkin, “American Beauty” writer Alan Ball, as well as his own original works. In addition to overseeing the works on stage, Black emceed every show. He left the West Bank in the late 1980s to pursue stand-up full time.

In 1996, his friend Lizz Winstead tapped him to create a weekly segment for Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show.” The segment, a three-minute rant about whatever was bothering him at the moment, evolved into Back in Black, becoming one of the most popular and longest-running segments on the show for both the Jon Stewart era, and now The Daily Show with Trevor Noah.

In 2015, Black joined the cast of Madoff (ABC mini series). Black portrays Ezra Merkin, who, after investing with Madoff and receiving great returns, brought many famous and well-to-do Jewish clients, including Elie Wiesel and The Hadassah Organization, to Bernie’s fold. Black has penned more than 40 plays, many of which have been produced around the country. In 2015, Black notably voiced the character “Anger” in the Oscar nominated film from Pixar, “Inside Out.”

 

Transcript

Lewis Black:  This whole idea of millennials being this or that or the other I find it ludicrous to be critical because you're talking about the generation that was the tipping point of why the Supreme Court past the marriage for gays. They're the tipping – they're the ones going are you kidding me? They're the gender fluid group. I mean I don't get that at all. I mean it was hard enough for me just to be a guy, let alone I'm going to figure that I'm fluid about this. I don't get it but it doesn't disturb me. A lot of my generation, I might as well of been born on a different planet than some of these pricks. I feel like they're dinosaurs. Really, you're going to carry this stuff from the '50s on with you? Really? You're going to stand there in Congress? That I find more enraging. My real anger is is that they scream about these kids and the way in which they operate and interact and socialize and the way that they are, and yet this is the generation that had the phones dropped on them and the computer dropped on them and things changed. And so you've got a whole generation that is living in a different world than we are. And they live on screens. Their whole life is on a screen for most of them. When I was a kid I did LSD. And they said you can't really do a lot of LSD. So they made it illegal and then they took it away kind of. You couldn't get really good LSD after a while. But it was like you can't do that. That generation turns around and drops on these kids something that was just as potent as LSD. That phone and the amount of apps and the amount of crap and the computer, it's the extension of the human nervous system. It's a drug and it's not treated that way. And then they go boy, I can't believe they're doing that. Well schmuck it's because you didn't. Because you didn't do it. And that's it. And I think that's, going back to politics, that's part of the reason we live like we live now. That's part of the reason things are the way they are. We are in the midst of a total sea change. We have gone from one age to another. We have not entered the new age and we haven't left the old age, but boy it's happening and it scares the shit out of a lot of people.


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