“Not enough alcohol in the world right now,” Lewis Black tweeted Tuesday night during the first presidential debate between Donald Trump and Joe Biden.
Like the rest of the country, the comedian was horrified by what he was watching. He just happens to be better than most Americans at putting that horror into words.
“What happened last night was unconscionable on so many levels,” Black tells me during our taping for this coming week’s episode of The Last Laugh podcast. “Every so often in my life, I’ve regretted not having children,” he adds. “But basically I feel like I made that choice and I live with that choice and it isn’t something that undermines me. But nights like that, watching that debate and if I was sitting with children and having to explain what they were seeing, I would lose my mind.”
“I needed to sit by myself and bellow at the top of my lungs!” Black exclaims. And while he didn’t expect any better from the man he will only refer to as “the leader,” he was especially disappointed in the performance from Fox News moderator Chris Wallace.
“We did better debates in high school,” Black says. “I mean I’m sure that in places like rural Minnesota they did debates over fishing rights that were better run. Chris Wallace, look, he went to high school! He knows what a debate is about! There’s no mute button, seriously?! Come on, it’s disgusting!”
When I ask the man who has spent the last 24 years ranting about all kinds of topics on his long-running Daily Show segment “Back in Black” what Wallace could have possibly done to get Trump under control, he does not hesitate to provide an answer.
“He could have stood up and said, ‘I will not tolerate this,’” Black says. “What he said two-thirds of the way through the debate should have been said at the very beginning of the debate.”
After about an hour of Trump running roughshod over both him and Biden, Wallace finally shut the president down, saying, “Gentlemen, I hate to raise my voice, but… why shouldn’t I be different than the two of you?” Biden responded with, “That’s a good point.”
“It was never like this!” Black says of the entire spectacle. “It boggles the mind.”
“I have waited four years for that to be spoken…”
The 72-year-old comedian, whose new stand-up special Thanks for Risking Your Life premieres next week, spent most of the debate waiting for Biden to channel the attorney who infamously asked Senator Joseph McCarthy, “At long last, have you left no sense of decency?”
“I have waited four years for that to be spoken,” he says. “Four years of my life I’ve waited for somebody at some point, and I was hoping last night, when—not the first time that he talked about his son [Hunter], but the second time, I thought that would be a point to turn to him and say something to the equivalent of that.”
He imagined Biden looking the president square in the eyes and telling him, “This is my child. I do not speak of your children.”
The closest thing we got was Biden firing back at Trump with, “Will you shut up, man?!”
Subscribe to The Last Laugh podcast now to hear our full conversation with Lewis Black about his new stand-up special, almost losing his lucrative ‘Daily Show’ gig, personifying Anger in Pixar’s ‘Inside Out’ and a lot more when it drops next Tuesday, October 6th.