Black is the night: Comedian entertains with his ‘raw and on-point’ humor.

Lewis Black preformed at the Egyptian Theatre Thursday night.

By Connor Rice

“Let’s start by bringing those expectations down.”

Those were the first words out of Lewis Black’s mouth Thursday at the Egyptian Theatre, 135 N. Second St., and they were met with cheers from the audience.

But it didn’t take long for Black to put his foot in his mouth.

Lewis Black, despite appearing in a small town like DeKalb, delivered a righteous blow for sanity. Although he tried to hold himself back, he roared his way through an evening of “telling it like it is.”

But the evening didn’t start at full volume. Opener John Bowman, albeit reserved compared to Black, managed to send a charge of cynical fun rippling through the crowd. From the relative sorrows of the stand-up comedy casino circuit to the stereotypical high-schoolers of the DeKalb High School homecoming parade, Bowman made it fun to feel jaded. His style didn’t seem tried or forced. He, like other good comedians, just seems to require a purge of frustration. You could see yourself drinking with the man, laughing and mocking all passers-by. Never has depression seemed so light-hearted.

And then everything went Black.

That’s not just a play on words, either. Black’s set, despite bringing endless laughter to the seemingly sold-out Egyptian, was much darker in contrast to Bowman. But what surprise could that be? Other than the fact that he hasn’t lost any of his steam over the years, this should come as no shock. Black, in typical fashion, took the late George Carlin’s “What the f***?” approach to comedy and amped it up as far as it would go, trying not to give himself an aneurism in the process.

But what was so striking about his routine wasn’t so much that it was funny as it was “real.” Black almost seemed to force the comedy sometimes, attempting to find some nugget of redemption in the mess he sees. He came off at certain points as frustrated not with the rest of the world but with his own despondence. He looked as though he is carrying the weight of the world on his shoulders. While everyone around him is laughing, Black is still struggling to.

Lewis Black knows how to put on a show, but he seems to have departed from his beginnings. Yes, he’s still funny, but as time goes by, things are beginning to wear thin on him. His routine is less comedy and more unbridled anger. But maybe that’s what we need today: someone who can take the outlook of a funnyman and keep it raw and on-point. While there may not be much humor in that, there isn’t much in the real world these days, either.