Thanks to a “perfect storm” of writer’s block, an unreliable Internet connection, a brief bout of sickness and a busy work schedule, it feels like I haven’t posted anything in ages. Well, time for me to knuckle down and get back to writing. And while most of the books I’ve featured on this blog deal with such meaty subjects such as history, comparative religion, science and international relations, I’m going to get things rolling again by featuring a book by a stand-up comedian so outspoken, intelligent and sarcastic that Stephen King has called him the most engaging and pissed-off comedian ever. His name is Lewis Black.
I came across Black’s book Me of Little Faith during one of my weekend library visits. After closer inspection and noticing that his book, published in 2008, was a collection of his signature rants, (Jon Stewart of TV’s The Daily Show probably said it best when he said Black is the only person he knows who can actually yell in print form), on the short-comings of organized religion, I simply had to grab it. So I did. After quickly burning through Me of Little Faith in just a few days I’m generally happy I did. While it wasn’t the funniest book I’ve read, it did manage to make me laugh out loud more than a few times, even while reading it in public. Of course, much can be said for a book that makes one laugh out loud and in the process causes those within earshot to question your mental stability.
In some ways I found Black’s book a bit of a surprise. While he mercilessly skewers Mormons, fundamentalist Christians, Jews, Catholics and such suicidally-inclined groups as the Heaven’s Gate cult and 9/11 hijackers, his loud-mouthed and comical jeremiads nevertheless speak approvingly of spiritual matters regarding psychics, life after death and out-of-body experiences. For all his bluster, his little vignettes reveal a live and let live attitude toward religion, with his anger almost exclusively directly against those who would harm, defraud or endanger.
My only major gripe with Black’s book is its inclusion of play he co-wrote and performed with Mark Linn-Baker over 30 years ago. Not only did I find it not funny, to me it felt like some amateurish production a couple of college students might cobble together for a sophomore drama class. Surely there’s better material that Black’s editor could have included if the book needed to be padded in order to fit a desired page count.
But then again, there were times when Me of Little Faith made me laugh in public like a lunatic. And when is that a bad thing?