Questions for Lewis Black

Nick Higgins

Four questions for the comedian and author.

Q: You’re a comedian in the tradition of George Carlin and Bill Hicks. Are you happy with the current state of comedy?

A: There are still a bunch of guys who are kind of out there: Louis C.K., Eugene Mirman, John Hodgman. But there are so many options now with the Internet, you get that thing you had in the ’90s, where everybody was looking to be discovered for a sitcom—only now they’re looking to be discovered on YouTube.

Q: Haven’t you ever done anything intending it to go viral?

A: No. I’ve done stuff for Comedy Central or someone else, and it’ll be something that will be on the Internet. And they’ll say, “So we really want something that will go viral.” Well, you can’t make something go viral!

Q: Because there’s just so much nonsense online?

A: Yes. I do wish that it wasn’t all just thrown out there. I need this [stuff] vetted. I need somebody who’s vetting the people who are writing. If there is good stuff out there, I don’t know how to find it. There’s no channel guide to the Internet.

Q: Do you wish we could go back to the pre-Internet era—say, 1993?

A: I don’t know if I’d really want to go back. But I do think that we didn’t prep ourselves. Nobody said to Facebook when it came out, “Where are the instructions?” I mean, all of a sudden this whole world was unleashed on me. I go, “How do I stop this?” They go, “Your privacy settings.” I go, “Where are they?” The privacy settings are so private, I can’t find them. The other thing is Mark Zuckerberg compared Facebook to the advent of the printing press and television. Well, I’m not buying that stock. And as a result, I guarantee you it will explode.