Saturday night, I saw Lewis Black at the Paramount Theatre in Oakland, CA.
The Paramount is one of those imposing, old-fashioned, pseudo-gilded, opera house style theatres with the impossibly high ceilings that looks even higher than they really are (because the walls of the auditorium are angled so that they are closer together near the stage than they are at the back) and the expansive balcony that takes up half the room. It's the kind of place that has a sizeable parlor attached to the bathrooms. It's the kind of place that has, like, "1931" stamped into a cornerstone somewhere. Heck, it's the kind of place that has a cornerstone. The decor is, of course, very art deco and very redundant-- if it isn't too redundant of me to say "art deco" and "redundant" in the same sentence. I know how some of you hate redundancy. I hate redundancy, too.
There are only four things that I'm going to tell you about the show.
(1) I had heard none of the material before. I get the feeling Lewis is virtually always working on new material.
(2) I know that many of you who read this live in and around Chicago. Alas, Lewis is not scheduled to appear in the Chicago area until mid-October, at the Rosemont.
(3) As far as whether or not the show was "good" or "bad," I will say only this: Hey, it's Lewis Black... What more do you need to know?
(4) I did have one small complaint about the show. From time to time, Lewis would over-blow his chops: raising his voice to a point that the sound system couldn't quite handle. That aspect was a little bit distracting, but it may have more to do with the Paramount's sound system than with Black.
Jim Short was the opening act. I'd heard some of his stuff before. Surprisingly, it was Short, not Black, who delivered the single most memorable, self-contained joke of the evening...
"If you drive a Hummer: You're a dick." (When delivered properly, this opening line alone will get a mild laugh-- especially when it's delivered in Short's Aussie accent.) "If you drive a yellow Hummer, you're a double-dick. That's what a yellow Hummer is: It's a double-dicker bus."
P.S... Bud "All Aboard" Selig must go.