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Black Humor

Building his own media empire, the Daily Show ranter-in-chief drops some new riffs on familiar topics on new CD.

Lewis Black’s new CD, “Anticipation,” out on Comedy Central Records on August 5, following quickly on the heels of his second book, “Me of Little Faith,” (see review), draws a great deal from material he’s done before -- retooling a couple old pieces and mixing them in with some new ideas and pieces, in a way living up to its title, and sentiment in its first track, “This Moment,” where Black says:

“This moment that we are sharing together right now is, I promise you, as good as it’s going to get. So I think we should quit while we’re ahead. … There is no better moment than this moment, when we’re anticipating the actual moment itself.”

Black has borrowed from himself before, but perhaps less extensively on his several previous albums, “The White Album” (2000), “The End of the Universe” (2002), “Rules of Enragement” (2003), “Luther Burbank Performing Arts Center Blues” (2005) and “The Carnegie Hall Performance” (2006), which all had greater percentages of all new material.

But with such a well-known persona, Black’s subject matter almost doesn’t matter anymore -- known for being a political comic, his takes on politics are equally bi-partisan as to who they skewer -- and the laughs come from exactly that anticipation of just when he’s going to go from his smooth, low voice, to a full on yell or shout about something.

All Black’s material is chosen to fit that anticipatory template, even the newest subjects, such as golf, losing one’s virginity, and the great divide between Christmas and Chanukah. In the pieces “Gamblers” and “Xmas,” Black almost goes back to his past tale of Christmas being the best time to be in Las Vegas because you can hear the shouts of losing gamblers punctuating “Little Drummer Boy” when that’s being played in the casinos. But he stops short of this piece, and takes the whole thing into a different set of observations on Christmas, namely how Santa ought to be president. Or at least the president ought to wear a Santa suit, Black adds.

Basically, “Anticipation” is really a CD meant for the true Lewis Black fan. One can’t really describe it as a good primer for the uninitiated, or a good collection of best bits. Instead, it’s a record of Black working in his element and within his style, playing with the specifics of certain bits about certain signature topics.




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