A playwright, stand-up comedian, and correspondent on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart includes both his personal history and his observations on current events in this hilarious, informative book.
"As cable-TV addicts know, comedian and playwright Black's shtick is acerbically ranting about the American scene. As with many a finger-stabbing pundit, his strategy is to erect a straw man, smite it about the head and shoulders, ignite it, and move on (think George Carlin without the crinkly smile and palpable empathy). The short pieces here are perfect for the attention spans of devotees of the TV punditocracy and for episodic reading. Among Black's best rants are a withering appraisal of Starbucks (inspired by the confounding sight of two across the street from each other in Houston), a gleeful deconstruction of high-school guidance counseling, and his take on the junior-high-school experience (If there is a Hell, it is modeled after junior high ). Energetic and peppery, much of what Black says is as original as it is scathing. Whether his book remains appealing beyond the current cultural moment is an open question; but right now readers interested in strongly satirical social commentary are being well served by Citizen Black. --Mike Tribby Copyright 2005 Booklist"
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publisher's Weekly Review:
"Comedy, pathos and politics intertwine in this occasionally lewd 'n' crude but surprisingly heartfelt memoir. Black, a playwright, stand-up comedian and Daily Show correspondent, looks back on his youth as a budding nonconformist while delivering comic rants against such tempting targets as Judaism, Catholicism, Protestantism, Halloween, cell phones and Starbucks, and reflecting on his comic influences (a big one, reprinted here, was an obscene satire by Paul Krassner in which Lyndon Johnson violates John Kennedy's corpse). Since Black's worldview, he avows, has not changed much since his 20s, the book centers on his Vietnam-era student days and experiences with a start-up theater troupe. Hilarious experiences with pot and LSD take center stage, but he also recounts his dabblings in radical politics ("I was in the very heart of my youth. And my country was bombing the snot out of a little tiny country in Southeast Asia, and there but for the grace of God, I could have been lying in a pool of blood. It made me want to do something") and the exhilaration of his first dramatic triumphs. These formative years left him with the mouth of a shock-jock and the heart of a liberal, expressed in a profane attack on the anti-gay marriage backlash, an admission that "I like seeing nineteen-year-olds alive and stoned in college" instead of packed off to war, and an appreciation of public works projects that stimulate the economy by building some "Big Fucking Thing." He's no policy wonk, that's for sureAand that's why his many fans love him so much. Funny photos. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved"
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved