Satirist and standup comic Lewis Black rose to prominence in the late '90s with regular appearances as a commentator on the Comedy Central cable network's The Daily Show. Obsessed with human stupidity, Black became one of the show's most distinctive contributors with his weekly Back in Black segment; his delivery was so full of frothing, barely articulate bile and rage that it could sometimes obscure the sharpness of his social and political observations. Black graduated from the Yale Drama School and worked for a government anti-poverty program under President Nixon before becoming the playwright in residence at the West Bank Café Downstairs Theatre Bar in Manhattan. He authored over 40 plays that were produced there and at other theaters across the country (one, The Deal, was made into a movie). Seeking to move into comedy, Black made his motion-picture debut in Woody Allen's Hannah and Her Sisters in 1986, and went on to land a series of guest-starring roles on TV shows like Law and Order, Murphy Brown, Mad About You, Homicide, and The Days and Nights of Molly Dodd (the last of which was recurring); he also appeared in several more films, including 1990's Jacob's Ladder.
Black's standup star began to rise with appearances on Late Show with David Letterman and Late Night with Conan O'Brien, and he landed a big break when he signed on as a regular contributor to The Daily Show. Since then, Black has continued to tour the country as a standup comedian, and in 2000 issued his first CD, The White Album (which naturally took its art design from the Beatles' release). The following year, Black developed a one-man show called Black Humor, which he performed in New York City. After the success of Black's weekly stint on The Daily Show, he starred in several standup specials for Comedy Central, whose record division has also released CDs of Black's on-stage rants including 2003's Rules of Enragement, 2008's Anticipation, and 2010's Stark Raving Black. In 2011, Comedy Central released an archival live recording from 1990 under the title The Prophet, with an album of new material, In God We Rust, following on the label a year later. In 2015, Black delivered a rare family-friendly performance when he was cast as the voice of Anger in the Pixar/Disney animated feature Inside Out. Black released a new comedy album in 2017, Black to the Future, which was released on his own Stark Raving Black label. ~ Steve Huey