Lewis Black performs at the Egyptian Theatre

By Katie Finlon

Lewis Black didn’t hesitate for a second to say that “we the people” are the problem with the United States and its politics.

Black performed 9 p.m. Saturday at the Egyptian Theatre, 135 N. Second St. He touched on topics like healthcare, social security, Facebook as “the world’s most irritating club,” and the overall “stupidity of leaders,” he said in a phone interview.

A recurring theme of Black’s act was how the citizens of America must have ADD. During one of his acts, Black said kids are given the best speed in the world when the adults can’t smoke weed.

“If you can’t focus, you can’t get anything done,” Black said in a phone interview. “And you wonder why we don’t have a budget.”

Comedian John Bowman, a friend of Black’s, opened the show at 8 p.m. From singing songs and jokes on his ukulele to remarking on Kim Kardashian’s stupid name for her new store, his act had well-received one-liners.

“I don’t think they were going for alliteration,” Bowman said in his act, referring to Kardashian’s store, Kardashian Khaos. “I really think they’re just stupid.”

Bowman also remarked on the Catholic pope stepping down on Thursday.

“We’re totally pope-free,” Bowman said in his act. “This is your opportunity, Catholics. Get a hamburger on Friday. Party on.”

Repeatedly, Bowman made jokes about DeKalb being the home of barbed wire. It all started when Bowman looked at his notebook and read, “Home of barbed wire.” The audience cheered, and later Bowman joked again about DeKalb being “cutting edge.”

After his bit, Bowman told the audience to tweet Black about topics he should cover during one segment of Black’s portion of the show toward the end. Those topics included asking Black if he did yoga to relax, a shout-out to Feed ’em Soup and the service work they do and Black’s overall feelings about Lance Armstrong (hint—he’s not happy).

Despite his frustrated and angry demeanor in his act, Black considers himself an “angry optimist.” He shared in a phone interview that he has hope solely because he can make jokes about whatever may irk him at any given time.

“You can’t get that upset about what’s happening if you think it could be better and it should be better,” Black said. “I kind of believe that we can get on a lot of levels if we really had some leadership. A lot of it has to do with my generation—we never thought we’d be in the midst of a technological revolution.”

Black kept comparing his generation to the younger generation, usually making fun of the younger generation. The only time he actually complimented the younger generation was when the topic of Illinois legalizing same-sex marriage came up. He said he was happy with the younger generation for not letting his generation intimidate them when it came to doing the right thing.

Chris Morrison, 36, of Kempton, said he enjoys how Black covers political topics and the “stupidity of what goes on from day to day,” according to Morrison. He expected only the best from Black in terms of his mixture of humor and anger in Saturday’s act.

“He’s one of my favorite comedians,” Morrison said. “I follow him by watching his one-hour specials and the movies he’s been in for the last 10 years.”

Regardless of his cinematic credentials, Black always returns to stand-up comedy.

“It’s just you and the audience,” Black said in a phone interview. “There’s no idiot in between. The only idiot that can screw it up is you. There are no authority figures around—you’re the authority figure. You’re your own authority figure.”