Lewis Black: Tragically, I Need You (2023) | Transcript

Lewis Black discusses pandemic life, vaccine skepticism, and the importance of human connection, humorously stating he needs his audience despite not always liking them
Lewis Black: Tragically, I Need You

Lewis Black: Tragically, I Need You (2023) is a stand-up comedy show where Lewis Black, known for his signature mix of sarcasm and outrage, reflects on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on society and himself. Black humorously discusses his struggles with the pandemic, including dealing with solitude and the absurdities of life under lockdown. He touches on topics like the obsession with health supplements, the controversies surrounding masks and vaccines, and the political landscape during the pandemic. He also shares personal anecdotes about his mother and her longevity, and his own mental health challenges during this time. Throughout the show, Black emphasizes the importance of human connection and companionship, admitting that despite not always liking his audience, he needs them, underscoring a universal human need for interaction and support during challenging times.

Recorded Live at The Paramount Theater, Huntington, New York in May 2022.

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[marker scraping]

[“Enter Sandman” by Metallica playing]

[doorbell rings]

[door opens]

[tabletop squeaking]

[“Enter Sandman” by Metallica continues playing]

[Host] Ladies and gentlemen, Lewis Black!

[audience cheering]

Now that’s the… sound of an audience that hasn’t been out for a while. [audience laughing] I’m really thrilled… at the level of excitement you’re bringing this evening. [audience cheering] Tone it down. [audience laughing] You know, I… ’cause I really… really wish I was… even half as excited as you are. [audience laughing] But I think… I think that music, you know… is…

[audience member cheering]

Eh! It’s… I mean, it’s great, but it’s over the top. It creates an expectation in this room that, you know, you hear this and you get fucking pumped and you think what’s gonna come out. You know, jugglers and sword swallowers and fire eaters and gymnasts and fucking wild animals even. Jaguars and tigers and… and then… and then just one aging Jew wanders on the stage. [audience laughing] And let me just say, I know that for those of you who came here tonight and don’t know me. You were probably just a bit shocked. You thought… “I came all the way for this?” And if you don’t know me, I’m just going to tell you upfront. This…uh… This could be a long night.

[audience laughing]

It really could. And if you get upset tonight… uh… it’s on you. [audience cheering] It’s… It’s not on me. OK? All right, you had ample opportunity, OK? Including the pandemic which gave you a fucking ton of time. So do a little research and kind of see who you were coming… Oh, I’m gonna go see this person. But you fucking didn’t. You didn’t do your homework. If you had children and you went to a movie you’d read the review, wouldn’t you? And you’d sit there and go, you know, so that when you ended up at the movie with your kids, you didn’t find yourself in the middle of it going, “Fuck, they killed everybody!” [audience laughing] So what’s gonna happen is… I’m gonna say some things and you’re not really gonna hear them. What you’re going to hear is that you’re gonna feel as if I have challenged your basic belief system. You’re going to feel that somehow I have fucking insulted you on a level you never imagined. [audience cheering] And… what I’ve said, all I said was a joke. That was it. Just a joke. But what you’re going to hear is, “Your mother sucks cocks in hell!” [audience laughing] And that isn’t what I said. [audience laughing] OK? It’s not even close. And you have to understand, OK, that I have been doing this for a long time, and… never have I said anything on the stage that has changed fucking anything. [audience laughing] Thousands and thousands of people have come and watched me and the next day woke up and went, [blows raspberry] “It’s still the same.” And you should know that since I started doing it, things have gotten worse.

[audience laughing]

So realize that there… and I know this will shock some of you, there are people who actually came out tonight to see me, OK? And they… they overpaid. [audience laughing] And so I really need you to make this evening, don’t fuck up their evening, OK? Don’t… Just sit there, all right? If I say a joke and you don’t think it’s funny, you get to nail me. And the way you get to nail me is you don’t laugh. That’s it. All right? And you let your nipples turn bright red… and you shut the fuck up. [audience cheering] ‘Cause if you mess up this evening, OK? I’m gonna tell my mother. And when she finds out, your life is gonna be fucking hell. OK? And I mean this. You don’t fuck with my mother, all right? She’s 103. So she– [audience cheering] My mother’s 103. Sometimes I feel like she’s a tortoise that’s escaped her shell, [audience laughing] I mean, it’s kind of remarkable, 103. I am blessed really to have spent all of that time with her, but… she’s 103. And to give you an idea, just how tough, I mean she practiced on me, OK? And this is how, this is one of the last things she said when I saw her recently. Just to give you a taste of what’s coming for you. [audience laughing] She said to me… Actually, to the caregiver there, “He… He just put me to sleep. I can’t imagine what he does to an audience.” She’s good. 103, so sometimes she’s here… and sometimes… Ooh, she’s there, but I’m lucky and so is she that we she does not have Alzheimer’s, no dementia. What she has is something that doctors haven’t given a name to yet. She just makes shit up. [audience laughing] When the fuck were you in Thailand? [audience laughing] She’s claimed that she raised an entire family, another family. And the son, who is as old as I am, apparently is nicer to her than I’ve ever been. [audience laughing] She’s, uh… in competition now with the Bezos and Musk and Branson. Those are the three who were, you know, you know them. They’re launching their penises into space. [audience laughing] They are whacking off into the universe. They’re spending billions, billions to get out there. My mother has been orbiting the earth on a regular basis for 12 years. [audience laughing] And I wouldn’t even call where she lived assisted living.

I call it a launchpad.

[audience laughing] And she doesn’t spend billions because her rocket fuel is oatmeal. [audience laughing] It was a long time. It was about three, it was more than a year, just a chunk more than a year that it took from me. I didn’t get to see my mother for that long. You know, she was in this place she’s living. It was in a lockdown. I could not get to visit her. It was 500 days from my last performance till the time I performed again. Five hundred days. And the last time I performed, in front of an audience before the whole thing shut down, was on March 13th, and I was in New Buffalo, Michigan at a casino there. And I knew that things were coming to an end. I knew that we were moving into a shutdown, OK? Because myself and a friend of mine, who many of you know, it was another, really a great comic, Kathleen Madigan. [audience cheering] She and I… She and I, from the moment that that virus hit, from the moment we heard about it, we tracked that son of a bitch every day, every fucking day. We were like the Fauci and Birx of the comedy community. [audience laughing] We were on the phone. “Did you hear that? Did you hear what’s happening? They fucked up, somebody left the door open to the lab. Somebody got on the goddamn boat, it’s coming our way. Close the harbors. Those fuckers have to close the harbors.” [audience laughing]

Nobody listened.

[audience laughing] But we knew it was out there. We knew it was coming. And luckily I was at least in a position, I kind of knew this was gonna be my last show because the show on March 14th that I was gonna have had been canceled. She, however, was on her way to the airport to get on a plane to Reno. I said, “Turn back! You don’t wanna get on that fucking plane. You don’t wanna end up in Reno. Son of a bitch, they’re gonna hold you there for God knows how long, ’cause they’re gonna need at least one person to gamble.” [audience laughing] They talked about closing my show on the 13th. They said, “We may not go through with it.” But they were kind of stuck because 1500 fuckers had shown up. And we knew this, I knew it because they were in the casino, standing shoulder to shoulder.

That did not bode well.

[audience laughing] There they were. And I was there. I was at a very safe distance. I was, well, fuck I was watching ’em through binoculars. That night I went on stage. It was a sold out house. I really didn’t know what to say. I’d never been in this position before. Nobody knew what was coming next. And I stared out at them and the first thing that came into my mind was, “Well, woo, thanks for risking your life.” [tepid laughter] I got a bigger laugh that night. [audience laughing] And so… So I finished up, I walked off the stage, one of the strangest performances, great in many ways, odd in others, and I went into my dressing room and I flashed on that thing they say about comics that I’d never thought about in this way before. You know… “Boy, he really killed ’em tonight.”

[audience laughing]

[audience cheering]

On March 14th, it was time. I could go home. I was supposed to fly through O’Hare. I was not gonna go through O’Hare because I knew and Kathleen knew that the first time that COVID went from one person to another in this country was at O’Hare. That’s the kind of shit I knew. So I’m not going to that fucking airport. I don’t have a hazmat suit. And O’Hare on a good day is a shithole. [audience laughing] And so I am very lucky I had a tour bus and I got onto that and I was gonna return back to New York City. And on the way, I was gonna stop for provisions. There’s a word you don’t hear anymore.

[audience laughing]

That’s a word you actually hear if you’re on a wagon train going west. [audience laughing] But I say provisions, ’cause I knew I was gonna have to pick up a lot of shit. And so, we stopped. I stopped for the first time ever and went into, and this’ll stun you, a Walmart. [audience laughing and cheering] Yeah, I know. I’d never been in one, but why would a single person who’d never been duck hunting go to a Walmart? I mean, unless I needed a hundred pound tub of butter for fun. Or, you know, but I was gonna need 300 fucking rolls of toilet paper, so I’m going to Walmart. And I had never been, I walked in, it was like the Vatican. The Vatican of fatty fuck foods. They didn’t even put the foods together in terms of the same product of food, the same fruits. No, it was the level of fat. Fat, fattier, most fatty, the most fatty fat-fat fucking fattiest fateus. Holy shit, there was actually one of those warning lights, the red light was spinning at one place, sirens going off. That was the aisle that said, “You might have a heart attack here.” It’s the first place I’ve ever been into that the soup actually had whipped cream on it. [audience laughing] If you walk around a Walmart literally for three minutes,

you will gain seven pounds.

[audience laughing] And so I headed home… and we got into New York and on, uh… March 15th, March 15th. You have to speak into the microphone, asshole. Yeah, that was really a private moment. [man in audience] We love you, Lewis.

And I love you.

[audience cheering] On March 15th, I was very excited. It was either on March 15th or maybe a day or two after. I can’t quite place it, but it was the day in which for the first time… our government was gonna come on and… on the TV and tell us the people how we were going to deal with the coming pandemic. Not only as a group, but individually. I was so excited. I called Kathleen, I said, “Fuck, we’re not in charge anymore.” [audience laughing] Now we’ve got real experts who’ll be telling us

exactly what to do.

[audience laughing] And I was thrilled. I sat down there and, and the first people we saw for the first time ever were Dr. Fauci and Dr. Birx. There they were. There they were. And I know that some of you, for sure, have problems with Dr. Fauci and I… [audience member shouting] Yes, one person screaming in the night. [audience laughing] Who the problem sounded like a sexual one there. [audience laughing] But Dr. Fauci, look, if you had a problem with Dr. Fauci, I’m just gonna tell you this, all right? Would you want his job? Would you wanna do what he did? Would you want to be that person who had to come out every day? What, you’re yelling at him because of what? ‘Cause he has the shittiest job on earth and you wouldn’t do the job, OK? Nobody wanted that fucking job. We’re lucky anybody took the job. [audience cheering] To come out there and say, “It sucks.” The next day, “It really sucks. It’s gonna suck more.” Here’s the sound. [sucking air]

That’s how sucky it is.

[audience laughing] Everywhere you go, suck, suck, suck. It’s gonna be shittier and shittier and fucking unbelievable. Worst job ever. Son of a bitch, the only job that I think could be worse is if you were douching elephants for a living. [audience laughing] Unbelievable, and people were pissed with Fauci. “Oh, he got money from Pfizer.” Fuck you, that was a lie. “Oh, but he was rich.” Oh, you idiots. Of course he was rich.

He’s a doctor, numb nuts.

[audience cheering] I believe that who they should have hired to do the job, I think what would’ve made it possible for everybody in the country to not be upset was they should have just had a fucking peacock. I mean it. The peacock should have come out with the announcement every day. And the peacock could’ve strolled, you know, [imitates peacock sound] or whatever noise a peacock make. Then underneath, there’d be a fucking translation

of the peacock.

[audience laughs] And then everybody would watch. They turn the TV on, “I can’t wait to see what the peacock has to say!” [audience laughs] And Fauci and Birx stood there, and they began to speak and none of us knew what the fuck they were talking about. We’d never heard or seen anything like this in our lives, ever. And goddammit it. And about a third of the way through, it was becoming clearer and clearer what they were saying. It was really quite simple. And what they were saying was, “We’re fucked! We’re totally fucked!” [audience laughs] At this point… our leader… pushed them aside. And with nary a stethoscope in sight, [audience laughs] he strode to the mic because he wanted to be sure we remain calm. And he knew that these two weren’t going to help. So, he decided he was going to tell us how we were going to deal with what was going to be happening. And he could do that because he is the first president ever elected… ever…

[male audience laughs]

Thank you. [audience laughs] The first President ever elected who just…[inhales] knows stuff. [audience laughs] Yeah, look, I’ve been through… [audience cheers and applauds] I have lived through a lot of presidents.

And none of them knew shit.

[audience laughs] But this president really was fucking on top of the game. This president knew fucking every fucking thing you could know. Not these idiots. Goddammit. All of a sudden, finally. [chuckles] He knew how much wood a woodchuck would… if a woodchuck could chuck wood. He knew how many cords. He knew how many cords of wood. [audience laughs] He memorized all of the recipes

in The Betty Crocker Cookbook.

[audience laughs] Yes, he did. Yes, he fucking did. Why? Because he can do it. And at this point, he explained just how the virus would come to us and what would happen. And he said it would be like the flu.

[audience laughs]

It would just come and then… woo, it would go. [audience laughs] It is what he said. And…[sucking air] he got the timeline off. [audience laughs] But everybody got the timeline off. Everyone did. They’re still not sure about the timeline, OK? He got it off. He was wrong, OK? And the reason everybody has been wrong is because everybody’s got a fucking theory about how this virus came to be, all right? And I’m the only one who actually knows what happened.

[audience laughs]

And, yeah, that’s right. And lucky, lucky you are here with me this evening. [audience wooing] So that I can tell you the story. Yes. Many people think, “Oh, it came out of the lab in Wuhan.” It did not come out of that lab. That would require intelligence, all right? And when intelligence is involved, this kind of shit doesn’t happen. This happens when it’s… when something fucking stupid happens. And what happened was this, quite simply, somebody fucked a bat. Somebody fucked a bat. Somebody fucked a bat. I don’t think you’re listening. Somebody fucked a bat. Someone said, “Hey, I’m gonna fuck a bat.” [audience laughs] They saw a bat. They said, “Oh, look at how cute that bat is. I’m gonna fuck that bat.” They took their little ears of that bat and pushed him down on the table, pulled their penis out, and put it inside a bat. I know. It disgusts me to talk about it.

[audience laughs]

Makes me sick. [audience laughs, cheers and applauds] In… And listen closely, in the first draft of the Old Testament, I don’t, I don’t think you heard me. [audience laughs] In the very first draft of the Old Testament, all right? In that draft that was there, you know, many Christians believe that God just wrote that book. Just wrote it. And every Jew knows that something that is that well written took a number of fucking rewrites. [audience laughs] And so, in the first draft, it should be noted that God said, before he tells Adam and Eve not to eat the apple, he says “whatever you do, don’t fuck a bat. [audience laughs] All hell will break loose.” [audience laughs] And as you read now, it isn’t there. No, in the ensuing drafts, never comes back. Because God thought, “Hey, who’s gonna fuck a bat?”

[audience laughs]

So, after listening to all of this, I have to say that I felt much like I felt when I was in elementary school when I was like nine. And the teacher said, “in case of a nuclear attack, get under your desk.” [audience laughs] And I said, “Why would I do that?” And she said, “Because you’ll burn faster.” [audience laughs and applauds] So… I learned a number of important things that day. And the most important was that I was a target for COVID. I learned that pretty, pretty quickly. Because I was old. And let me say, until that fucking virus showed up, I didn’t know I was fucking old!

[audience laughs]

And… I had an underlying condition. And so, I knew I was, I was screwed. And that I was gonna have to lock down, that I was gonna have to go into solitary confinement in my apartment alone. I would be alone. And it was for twelve weeks. And I learned from that experience that solitary confinement is a fucking punishment. I mean, for four days, it’s fun. Oh, it’s a treat. Your brain is having the time of its life. It goes through everything that ever happened to you. And it looks at it from all sides, types of sizes, everything, every, all the sides, everything you could imagine, “Oh, and this could have happened. And that could have happened.” And your brain is all excited. It’s like your whole life is a jungle gym for your brain, and it can’t be more thrilled to be spending this time, and you get to literally be disgusted by everything that had disgusted you. And now you can even be madder and madder. Your brain can go right after it. And that lasts for four days. And then your brain gets fucking bored. And when your brain is bored, it comes after you!

[audience laughs]

And holy fuck, then it was like the goddamn Nuremberg trials day after day. “You fucked up this relationship. You fucked up this relationship, then you fucked up this relationship. You want to know why you’re alone? ‘Cause you fucked up that relationship. Then you fucked up this relationship. She didn’t even want to spend any time with you. And you spent some time and not even you fucked that up. And goddammit, and you… children. Oh, she wanted to have children. Who the fuck would want you as a parent, you piece of shit? If you had children, there’d be people all around. But you didn’t, did you? Because you fucked up that relationship because you said, “Oh, I don’t want children. I want to have a career.” Well, look around the living room. Where’s your fucking career now? [laughing]” [audience cheers and applauds] [audience cheering] Then my friends would call me and they would say that thing we all said. We all said in the first 10 weeks of the pandemic, we all said, it’s the dumbest thing anybody could fucking say.

“How are you doing?”

[audience laughing] “How are you doing?” Are you shitting me?! How the fuck do you think I’m doing, asshole? I’m trying not to die! Goddammit, I’m living like a raccoon. I’m washing every thing that comes into the apartment, goddammit. Only I’m wearing rubber gloves, and I’m scrubbing everything down. All of my fruits and vegetables. I’m scrubbing ’em down with Clorox, scrubbing them down, scrubbing them down. I thought my friends would come to the house and find me dead on the floor. Then they call my other friends.

“Lewis died.”

“What happened?” “Well, he had Clorox poisoning. [audience laughing] He died the way we always thought he would die. He died ’cause he’s a fucking moron.” Meanwhile, there were all of those folks out there, all of those folks who the pandemic for them was the greatest thing that ever happened. There were tons of those people. It was like a renaissance for them. [audience member whistles] Please, that actually could have broken eardrums, you fuck. [audience laughing] Goddammit. I asked, just ’cause I didn’t say do not whistle,

I thought it was inherent.

[audience laughing] I almost had a dog pop outta my ass. [audience laughing] [Lewis barking] There were those people.

One is here this evening,

[audience laughing] one who learned how to become a professional whistler. But it is, people were doing all sorts of stuff. Fucking unbelievable. I’m miserable, and these fucking people… How did that happen? How did you get six new degrees in 12 weeks? What the fucks going on? Son of a bitch. Just extraordinary to me. You turn the TV on every day. Every one of those morning shows had one of those pricks on it. “Oh, I just came up with 13 new sourdough starters.” Well, why don’t you come over and suck on my sourdough starter dick, you fuck? [audience laughing] Are you kidding me? I didn’t bake. I didn’t do pop and fresh. I didn’t do toast. But with toast, then I would have to make eggs. If I made eggs, they’d have to be sunny side up. And you never make anything with the word sunny side in it during a pandemic. I didn’t sous vide. Oh yeah, everywhere throughout the country people were sous vide-ing. “I found a new way to cook meat.” Go fuck yourself. There were idiots in New York City who were smoking meats in their kitchen

and lived to tell about it.

[audience laughing] People became sushi Zen masters. Not me. I didn’t cook for myself and nobody, and I mean nobody, should cook for themselves ever. It’s the road to madness.

Why? Fractions.

[audience laughing] Yeah. Every recipe, every recipe in The Betty Crocker Cookbook is for a family, a happy family, of four.

Not for one miserable prick.

[audience laughing] What’s one quarter of one 16th of a teaspoon of cumin? That’s not a recipe for a meal. That’s a recipe for a fucking stroke. I did, um… The one thing I kind of made a commitment to, which I’d never really done before, but I really took this one. I said, yep… drinking. Yeah, I started to drink and I drank some more and then I drank a bit more. And then sometimes I drank more than that. Yes siree, and I wouldn’t start until seven o’clock. I showed some fucking discipline. But there were some days I pulled the blinds and went, “Fuck it.” I drank to forget. That’s why I drank. I drank to forget that I’d hadn’t become a sculptor or a gardener. I hadn’t bought a loom. I wasn’t making pot holders. I wasn’t making masks that on the side said, “My other mask is an N95.” I didn’t exercise, OK? I didn’t buy a Peloton because I had no kids to feed it. I didn’t… I didn’t, like many people, run in a marathon in my apartment. Who the fuck runs a marathon in their apartment?! Those people should be taken the fuck away. You’ve lost your fucking grip if you’re running a marathon in your apartment. “Oh, I was doing really well. Then I ran into the couch, in the 24 miles and goddammit I pulled a hammy. I’m gonna be out for weeks.”

Shut up.

[audience cheering] I thought I would read. That’s what I thought I would do. I really believed I would read. It was a perfect time for it. I had a lot of friends who were reading tons of books. Two, three, four books a week. Nothing but time. I thought, this is the real opportunity I’ve been waiting for. I’d read some really remarkable books. I’ve read some of the great books, and now all of a sudden I’ve found myself, fuck, this could be it. I could read Moby Dick finally. I tried a number of times, but only got to page eight. I said, “You know what? Fuck that white whale. I don’t give a shit. I’m not getting on that wooden fucking boat and going to sea. I’ll be vomiting by page 16.” Goddammit, and then I picked up the book and I tried to read it. I got to page three, and my brain said, “Drop the fucking book, you’re gonna die.” I thought… I thought that I would write a play, another play. You see, until I got into this, I was a playwright. I wrote plays until I was 40. And the reason I like to talk about this is ’cause I like to feel the interest of the audience leave the room.

[audience laughing]

Yeah. This reinforces my choice in a way. But I thought, “Goddammit, this would be a perfect time to write a play.” But no, no.. You see, I wrote plays for a long time. I wrote a lot of plays. I mean, a fucking lot of plays, to the interest of nobody. And I didn’t care. I loved doing it. I didn’t give a shit and I’d send them out and nothing. And I made practically nothing on this. I wasn’t making any money. You don’t make money as a playwright. And goddammit I thought, son of a bitch, the next one will do it, and it didn’t. So what I would’ve done really was kind of take a… a vow of poverty. I guess I wanted to be a priest, but keep fucking. [audience laughing] And I was getting just enough reinforcement. We’ve all had this in our lives, when we’re trying to follow a dream, and we kind of get reinforced to do something. Go, yeah, I’m almost there. And I kept thinking I’m getting closer and closer. And then finally a series of fucking musicals came to New York and I said, “I can’t write that shit.” Broadway was fucking awash in fucking nonsense. And the one that really drove me out of the theater is one that I know many of you love. It’s one of America’s most loved musicals. And it made me nuts.


[audience laughs] That’s right, yeah, don’t fucking, some of you fucking like that, I know it. Son of a bitch. Cats… I was… I had friends in the first production of Cats. They actually went on to become stars. “Are you coming to see the show?” Fuck you, you’re dressed up like a cat. [audience laughs] Unless you’re all doing some sort of a conga line in a litter box, I’m not coming. [audience laughs] I never saw Cats. I heard some of the music, but I never saw it. I couldn’t bring myself to go, but there was a production a number of years ago, just before the shit hit the fan that was really well worth– I wish I’d known, I would’ve gone. It was a performance of Cats, which was disrupted, when an audience member’s service dog got away… and began chasing one of the cat-costumed actors. [audience laughs] This is the first time one of the actual cats was involved in an incident with a dog. How good is that? It doesn’t get any better than that. Theater is– The best a theater can be, is when that fourth wall drops; When it disappears. It’s why at times, if something happens like the person whistling, or that the woman hooting in the back, I respond to it because there’s no fucking wall here. But theater pretends, and when it disappears… son of a bitch, the audience becomes a part of it. And when you’ve got a dog running around on stage, there’s nothing more exciting than to hear ♪ Memories… ♪

[barking like a dog]

[laughter] [cheering and clapping] Oh yeah, I’d have paid… God, I’d have paid a couple of thousand dollars to see that fucking show. As time went on, I finally realized as I began to talk to my friends around the country, that there were places I could go where my friends had been doing the same thing I had. They were hunkered down, so that we could get together. I could visit people. And one of the things that made that possible, was if I wore a mask. This excited me to no end. But then there were many people– it turns out, who were really, really upset about masks. “Son of a bitch…” they would scream “…you’re taking away my freedom!” “No, I’m asking you to wear a mask.” Yeah, that’s it. It’s that simple, a mask. Why did I ask? Because you see, I have a… I’m a target for Covid. So if you’re not wearing a mask and you go… [phlegmy noises] There’s a good chance… I’m gonna fucking die! OK? So don’t tell me that, if I’m asking you to wear a mask, I’m taking away your freedom. If I ask you to put a ball gag in your mouth and then wear the mask… Then, I’m taking away your freedom. [laughter, cheers] OK?

[cheers, applause]

And I got… And if I was wearing a mask– I was in Florida a couple of months ago. If I’m wearing a mask, that doesn’t challenge anybody. But in Florida, where there was no pandemic, it really… it really was a challenge. People would look at me, if I was wearing a mask– and I’m serious… as if I had my penis wrapped around my neck. And, if I had my penis wrapped around my neck, I’ll tell you I wouldn’t be doing this shit for a living.

[audience laughs]

I did… The thing that, you know, that was fascinating was to learn that some people thought that health and freedom had something to do with each other. They don’t. Health and freedom are completely separate. And how do I know that? How do I know that they’re two different things? Because they’re spelt differently. I’ll tell you this, OK? There’s a, like, If I had not thought of this three weeks ago, and thought of this at the very beginning when people they were asking people to wear masks… I will tell you that what I should have done… I should have come up with a mask with a nipple in it. There isn’t… and I know there are folks out there because of your response to certain things, that the mask thing I said really bothered you. But I’m gonna tell you fuckers, if I put a nipple in that mask, you’d be sucking away right now. No kidding. If a nip– if you don’t find a nipple to be reason enough to put on a mask, you see a fucking psychiatrist, OK? On the list of shit that is wonderful in this world, nipples at least is number three. Goddammit! Everybody would be walking around. Nobody’d be listening to anybody. [slurping] I can’t hear you. And if I got liquid to go through that nipple, holy fuck, I’d be the President.

[cheering, laughter]


They… there’s a… they think we’re “going back to normal.” They keep saying that. I mean, is “going back to normal” having Steve Bannon in the White House, is that normal? Steve Bannon? Does that make sense? Steve Bannon, why would you have him at the White House? Why would you have him at the White House? OK? That I don’t understand because, I wouldn’t wanna look at Steve Bannon and not, but not on any kind of a– Steve Bannon looks exactly like how I feel when I’m hungover.

[audience laughs]

Would you put Kellyanne Conway back in the White House? Is that normal? Kellyanne Conway is somebody you choose to kill your daughter’s cheerleading rival. [audience laughs] We’ve gone back to, we’ve gone back to, really… We’re in abnormal… we tripled down on abnormal. We are so abnormal in certain ways, that we’ve made countries that used to look abnormal, look fucking normal. We’re going through really unusual times, really strange times. OK? The vaccine I… See… I that– The president, the… the leader, made… made– said that we were gonna have a vaccine at warp speed. And he did it. It was done. To his credit, that vaccine was created like fucking nobody’s business. I thought, that since he was a Republican, and there were… there was a lot of Republicans, that they would take the vaccine and a lot of them… [blows raspberry] didn’t. And I went, “Fuck, did I miss a day?” I was big on the vaccine. And the one of the reasons is ’cause: I didn’t wanna fucking die! And I was big on the vaccine because… My mother was my role model when it came to health. And my mother took every vaccine that came down the pike. Every single vaccination you could fucking have. My mother took it. One, after the other, after the other and… she’s now a hundred and three!

[audience cheers]

So… it wasn’t a tough decision for me. It’s what I thought, “Fuck, this is perfect. I’m gonna take the vaccine.” As a matter of fact, I would take– if my bathtub, instead of giving water had a vaccine in it, I’d be bathing every day. Uh-uh. But what I didn’t understand, was my…my generation. I didn’t understand how people my age didn’t take the vaccine. I didn’t get it. I could understand how other people might be skeptical. Not my generation. My generation, I thought, pretty much gets it. Because, my generation went through the greatest science experiment in the history of the country. My generation took the polio vaccine.

My generation…

[audience claps] and nobody knew what the fuck was gonna happen. Nobody. They took us out into the schoolyard, and had a giant hypodermic needle, and “Take this in the arm and if you don’t, you’re gonna lay on the ground and we’re gonna shove it up your ass.” [audience laughs] And that’s because our parents said, “Listen you little shit, you’re taking that shot whether you fucking like it or not.”

[audience cheers, claps]

And that’s it. Because we don’t wanna be watching television and listen to your fucking iron lung

rattle in the background.

[audience laughing] I didn’t understand what made Americans fear the vaccine so much. I never quite understood that. Where we advertise on television, pharmaceuticals. We advertise pharmaceuticals, and those ads must work, ’cause people are fucking buying those pharmaceuticals, and some of the fucking things that you can get, they’re telling you that you could get fucked by any one of these things. You don’t wanna be allergic to it, you could die. Boy, you might shit yourself out, and you’ll be living inside out. Your outsides will be out,

your inside…

[audience laughing] What? Are you fucking, people are buying it. And maybe the problem we have with vaccines is we didn’t advertise how shitty the reaction would be. You’re fucked. We should have told people, “Yeah, take that vaccine, it’s really gonna fuck you up, your eyes will cross.” Look, I can’t wait to get it! [audience laughing] In a goddamn country denying the fucking, “I’m not taking the vaccine.” But we buy $12 billion in supplements. What the fuck are we thinking? You gotta be kidding me. They’re supplements, you idiot. They’re not regulated. People put whatever the shit they want to in those capsules.

Figure it the fuck out.

[audience laughing]


[audience applauding] It’s in a CVS. It’s in a Walmart, it’s in a goddamn Duane Reade. It’s sitting there. You… goddammit. “Oh boy. I’m taking these pills because Frank Amundsen and Doug Flutie, they took their pills, and they got bigger dicks now.” Are you kidding me? The fuck planet are you living on? [audience laughing] They’re sitting, the goddamn things, they’re sitting, these supplements are right next to Tampax’s. And if I covered a Tampax in chocolate, and tried to sell it as something that’d give you your hair back, people would be fucking biting down. [audience laughing] We’re taking CBD oil like there’s no fucking tomorrow. No, and it’s not regulated. Some people have great CBD, and they really give a shit about it. But a lot of them don’t give a fuck. There are truck stops I’ve been to where they don’t even know how to spell CBD.

[audience laughing]

Goddammit. I’m surprised there are people who took, fucking comes from a weed that grows by the side of the road. I’m surprised we don’t see thousands of Americans on their hands and knees chewing that shit up. Goddammit. I’m taking a fucking supplement. It’s called Ashwagandha. That’s how hip I am. It’s an Indian herb, and it’s supposed to make you calm. That’s really fucking working out.

[audience laughing, applauding]

One thing that we… One thing that we really… got to deal with in this country, is we have to deal with the truly crazy people that walk amongst us. [audience laughing] We used to do that. If somebody did something crazy, we didn’t go, “Well, let’s try to understand that.” No!

[audience laughing]

No! We went, “Holy fuck. You’re gonna go have to sit there for a while in the tent with the white lab coat guy.” Yes, we did. And the reason we had to clear out the truly cray-crays is because the rest of us have real mental health issues. And if you don’t think you have a mental health issue after being alone on one level or another for the last fucking few years, something is wrong with you.

[audience laughing]

We all have the problem. It’s nothing to be ashamed of, OK? I had never experienced depression. I had never experienced anxiety. And then, goddammit, we have got to find a way so that we can deal with our problems and our children’s problems. All right? Because if you allow, look, to allow Q-Anon to run amok, they’re nuts, OK? And I don’t give a fuck if your cousin’s in Q-Anon and you don’t think he’s nuts. I’m not a psychiatrist, but I know cray-cray when I fucking see it.

[audience laughing]

I’m old enough. I get it. Goddammit. Pedophiles everywhere. There are pedophiles everywhere, they yell. That’s what these Q-Anon, son of a bitch, they’re out in Hollywood. They’re politicians. Fuck you! Goddammit, put that energy into finding real pedophiles. What are you wasting fucking time for? You gonna tell me Hillary Clinton is a pedophile? Are you fucking nuts? Hillary Clinton doesn’t want to have sex with children, Hillary Clinton doesn’t even want to have sex anymore. [audience laughing] And then, and this is when we could have got ’em, a bunch of them gathered down in Dealey Plaza. That was where they killed President Kennedy. And they said that, that they believed that John F. Kennedy Jr. was gonna come back.


[audience laughing] I don’t think when somebody comes back from the dead, they go to the place where their father’s killed. [audience laughing]

So, I called him up to see,

[audience laughing] and he said, “No, I’m not coming back. I’ve got, I’m coming in three weeks. That’s when my flying lesson is.” [audience groans] That’s worth the whole evening. [audience laughing] That… that’s what upsets you. And it’s good you have empathy. We don’t have empathy for live people, but fucking dead people, we’re right on it. [audience laughing] And he was coming back ’cause he was gonna meet up with Donald Trump. This is what they said. And then the two of them would go to the White House and kick out the Ghost of Christmas Past.

[audience laughing]

They were all there, there was a whole bunch of them there in Dealey Plaza. Just… there. And all we needed to do was fly over them and drop a net.

[audience laughing]

[audience applauding]

In the end… I think what… I think what really got to me, and I think got to all of us in a way, was the lack of companionship. And companionship, you may have been with your family, but you weren’t out in the public square, you weren’t with people. And that makes a difference. Because otherwise you’re just staring at your phone, yelling at that prick who you don’t know. Sending out little things to tell them what an asshole they are. And that was a big problem. Because if you’re not with those people, you start to realize, you know, you get separated from them. I know that something was wrong with that separation. I know because I began to miss assholes. [audience laughing] Their presence. Not on the phone, I don’t need ’em on the phone, I need them right in front of me, saying something really fucking stupid.

[audience laughing]

And then we can talk about baseball teams we like. But you need assholes. Assholes make us better. Not on a screen, but when they’re there in the room. Fucking A. “Oh, boy,” you say, “I may be an asshole,

but that’s a bigger asshole.”

[audience laughing] And I was really, I was fucking, what fucked me up was a lack of companionship at that time. That sense of being amongst people. My friends, early on in the pandemic when I was losing my goddamn grip, said, “You know what you need? You need a cat.” [audience laughing] Those people are no longer my friends.

[audience laughing]

There’s something wrong with cats. There’s something wrong with cats. There’s something wrong with fucking cats. There’s something wrong with cats. And the only people who don’t know that there’s something wrong with cats,

are people who own cats.

[audience laughing]

And they own cats because they don’t trust people. No, what they trust is a cat. And nobody should trust a cat, because these people have never looked in a cat’s eyes, and don’t you ever look in a cat’s eyes! I have. And a cat will try to suck your soul out. My soul is this big, and I got involved in a fight with a tomcat, that son of a bitch. What if he got my soul? What would that fucker do with it? I had to kick it in the mouth, that son of a bitch. If a cat weighed twenty pounds more, it would eat you, it would eat you, it would eat you. It would eat you. People who own cats say when it rubs up against me, it makes that purring sound. It’s telling me it loves me. No, it’s not, It’s telling you, “You may feed me, but soon I will feed on you.” Yes, siree, Bob. Oh, but it makes that pretty sound. That sounds, sounds like there’s a fucking engine inside. Sometimes I think that cats aren’t animals. They’re fucking machines. OK? They shit in a box. They shit in a box. They shit in a box. They shit in a box. A cat shits in a box. No other animal shits in a box. During the fall, do you ever see goddamn squirrel building a hut for himself to take a shit? No, you don’t. No, because the cat’s hiding in there to send the tapes they’ve been making of you back to the mothership, asshole. They’ve been tracking you. They’re the ones that control space lasers, not us Jews.


So… I was asked a lot as I was sitting around I do these interviews, you know, “Boy, you’re not working. What, what do you miss the most about, you know, performing? Do you miss the laughter?” I said, “What? Laughter?” I said, “I do a lot of performing and… and… to no laughs. And I do a lot of times that I’ll hear laughter and no one is there.” Yes, siree, Bob. Yeah, no, I said, what I missed, and this is what I missed was my relationship with the audience. What I missed is the fact that I miss you. I missed my… but this is… This is really sad for you. This is sad what I’m gonna say. But it’s sad for you, it’s that you are my primary relationship. And you are, you’re the ones I talk to and you’ve given me a, you’ve, you’ve come out year after year after year, and I’m in front of you and you allow me to, to basically write in front of you. I’m writing in front of you. It takes a fucking idiot to do that. And it takes a group of people who are also idiots… to come out and give me that kind of freedom. It’s extraordinary to me. You’ve given me a gift that I will never be able to repay. And for that, I deeply thank all of you. [applause] And… [stammers] well, don’t, let’s not push it. [audience laughs]

And so in the end, what I realized is, is that… I really… I really don’t like you. But tragically, I need you. So, please take care of each other and… and I love you. I can’t thank you enough. Good night.

[audience applauds, cheers]

[“Soul Road” by Floyd Kellogg plays]

[cheers, applause continue]

[music fades]


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