National Press Club

Comedian Lewis Black jokes about politics, childhood, entrepreneurship and more

April 15, 2014 | By Varun Saxena | vsaxenaster@gmail.com

Lewis Black responds to one of many questions about American politics at a National Press Club luncheon, April 14, 2014..

Lewis Black responds to one of many questions about American politics at a National Press Club luncheon, April 14, 2014..

Photo/Image: Marshall H. Cohen

In a revealing and sometimes angry routine featuring anecdotes from his childhood and a tribute to his parents, comedian Lewis Black entertained the crowd at a National Press Club luncheon Monday.

The self-proclaimed socialist, in his trademark comically serious style, railed against small government conservatives and incompetence in Washington.

“You’re going to make government smaller, watch what happens to Washington D.C, watch it!,” said the native of Silver Spring, Md. “What do you think the motor is behind all those restaurants? It’s the government. The federal government combined with all the lobbyists coming in. Do you think it’s tourists? Are you out of your goddamn mind?”

He took aim at those who call for increased “entrepreneurship” as a means of economic recovery.

“How do you think an entrepreneur happens?” he asked. “He’s some schmuck generally who had some sort of a learning disorder, totally focused on something that you would never obsess about. It’s hard to find them! You don’t have a school. . .an entrepreneurship school! You can teach them what to do with an idea, but to say it is all going to be done from the private sector is psychotic!”

Black talked extensively about the role his parents, who were in the audience, played in his life. Black praised his father for quitting his job making mines when he learned they were used in Vietnam’s Haiphong harbor.

“I’ve see few people in my life make a choice out of conscience. I’ve read about people [who did it], and my father did it,” he said. “To do it at a time when I’m in my last year of college, my brother’s in his first year of college, and he’s going to walk away. I’m going, ‘Where’s the cash going to come from?’”

Later, both of his parents stood up to receive an ovation from the audience.

During the question-and-answer session, the subject turned to politics. Black said he’s been deriving most of his humor from Republicans these days because they “say kind of stupid things from time to time.”

“Stupid, I’m sorry, is funny,” he said. “Democrats are dumb. When you hear something dumb, you just go, ‘Why’d you say that?’”

During the talk, National President Myron Belkind mentioned, much to Black's chagrin, that Donald Trump would speak at a National Press Club luncheon on May 27.

Black quipped: “You’re allowing self-advertising.”