At a 90-minute performance of “Running on Empty” last weekend in Washington there were long stretches of calm eloquence before his characteristic outbursts. Mr. Black had time to establish a pace and develop his many varieties of irritation, from surgical sneer to Sam Kinison yell. His abrasiveness extended to the audience, young people, even his parents. When he called them parasites, it was his way of expressing love.
He is at his best striking different notes of fury graduating to a sustained fever pitch. In an otherwise familiar bit criticizing social media and smartphones, Mr. Black offered a sweeping history of technological change, a context that gave weight to his passionate excess. His very amusing explanation of the days before remote control employed screaming sparingly, which increased its impact.
Mr. Black ended the show by sarcastically ordering us never to tax the rich, and in a previous comedy special he made a more forceful case for why health care is not a commodity. His brand of comedic rage works best when his fervor appears to match what he really believes. So his insistence on knocking both parties, even when his jibes at President Obama are clearly dutiful at best, seems oddly contrived, if not self-defeating.
Loved seeing him in Fort Worth at the Bass Hall - and he seems to just get funnier…
Source: The New York Times