Talking to the Pitch by telephone recently, though, Black sounds underslept, overshouted and stuffed up.
"I'm screaming too much," Black admits. "I've been going off all morning because it's just beyond belief." For Black, the self-appointed "Foremost Commentator on Everything," it could be an overheard conversation, Janet Jackson's breast or video games. These days, balancing the mundane with the horribly real is a challenge. "I'm making the transition of putting new material into the act, and it's tough. I've never witnessed anything like this. I've read 1984, but when you see it in front of you, you just want to say, 'Stop. Just stop it.'"
Black's aptly titled Rules of Enragement tour, which stops for two shows at Liberty Hall Sunday, abandons two-drink-minimum comedy clubs for more thought-provoking theaters. "Working in clubs, there's the sense that something can go wrong at any second. Somebody will inevitably be too drunk to be out," Black explains. "But in a theater, there's more focus and attention. Nobody's serving drinks in the middle of your set. It's just you and the audience."
And afterward, he looks forward to relaxing. With a tour, a play, an HBO special and a TV pilot under his belt, Black has big plans for playing golf and spending time at the Williamstown Theatre Festival, where he normally teaches and acts. "This summer, mostly I'll rest up," he says. But we don't expect his worldview to soften. "Like I always say, the more insane they become, the more insane I become."