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He hadn’t quite nailed his trademark high blood pressure style until comedian Dan Ballard came up to him one night. “He said, `You know, you’re really angry and you’re not yelling. I’m not angry and I’m yelling. So when you go onstage, I want you to yell.’ So I started to do that.”

Black’s comedy heroes include Richard Pryor, Bob Newhart, Shelley Berman, Paul Krassner and, of course, George Carlin and Lenny Bruce. “Carlin basically taught me you can say anything as long as it’s funny. Lenny Bruce taught me to take something to its logical extreme.”

To hone his material, Black watches cable news and reads both highbrow and lowbrow newspapers, focusing on editorials, both right and left. Lately, he’s been spending time on the financial sections. “You know what’s wrong with this country? It’s that 80 percent don’t have a vested interest in the business page.”

Black chuckles that even though he never intended to become a comedian, his career has gone where he hoped _ to Broadway. His new act marks his second time on a Broadway stage since he filmed the 2004 HBO special “Lewis Black: Black on Broadway.”

He’s also enjoying another success from his past: Next month, the George Street Playhouse in New Brunswick, N.J., is producing one of Black’s old plays “One Slight Hitch,” which he began writing in the 1980s.

“It’s really weird.” he says. “In the world I should have been in, the play should be on Broadway. I should be playing The State Theatre in New Brunswick.”




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