Straight Talk

Posted on 29 September 2008 by dubs

Straight Talk

By James Barone | Photo by Jeff Neira

You know what they say: Laughter is the best medicine. A divisive government, treacherous economy and two wars weigh heavily on the minds of most Americans as we approach another presidential election, hoping that no matter who’s elected, he’ll be able to turn things around. With the world seeming so dire, perhaps the only way to deal with it is to try to find the humor in it. But for some, the comedy of Lewis Black is probably a bitter pill. Author, playwright, actor and stand-up comedian–Black’s resume extends far past his appearances on The Daily Show and as host of Comedy Central’s The Root of All Evil. But more important than his accomplishments, Black is a keen observer of politics, and his sharp commentary takes shots at members of our government on both sides of the aisle. On his way to Purdue University, Black took time from his perpetual touring to answer a few of our questions.

I’m sure you’ve probably answered a lot of questions about this, but I saw that you went to perform for the troops in the Middle East at the end of last year. What was that like?
It seems silly to say, but it was sort of life changing.

How so?
I had not been exposed to the military. You realize that we’re insulated–we’re not only insulated from the war, but we’ve been insulated from our military. For all the lip service that’s paid by politicians, it doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface of what these people do. And if they really paid the lip service, they’d be more careful in where and how they used people like this. They’re extraordinary individuals on many levels, and they [politicians]–from the bottom up–they don’t pay enough attention to them. They don’t provide them [the troops] with what they need. It’s just amazing.

Was it all what you’d expected it to be?
It wasn’t. It was stunning how much more in touch the military seemed to be with their men than the politicians in this country seem to be with the people they’re supposed to be governing.

In that light, does it upset you when you hear politicians telling Americans that they’re supposed to support the troops?
I don’t mind politicians saying, “Support the troops.” What I mind is when they act as if we don’t. It’s disgusting. You can’t use that anymore. You can’t say, because someone doesn’t want to have a war, that they don’t support the troops. You can’t say it. You may have been able to say it during the Vietnam era, but you can’t say it anymore. It doesn’t hold. It holds no water. It’s a myth. It’s a lie. You can’t say what McCain said about Obama. You can’t say it. That shit’s got to stop–some time in my lifetime–because it’s counterproductive, it’s stupid and it’s divisive.

I wanted to talk with you about the conventions. Did they sway you one way or the other, which way you are going to vote in November?
Yeah, it made me think about moving. It’s unbelievable. I really do feel that with the addition of Sarah Palin, it’s fiction. It’s like watching a movie.

What was your initial reaction to McCain picking Palin to be his running mate?
My initial reaction was what I’d always thought, which is anybody could be vice president. You can’t tell me that she’s the most popular governor. Really? Of Alaska, you fucking idiot–an alcoholic’s paradise. Please. To watch people who don’t know her talk about her–like Giuliani. They don’t know anything about her. Both sides spin their crap; it’s like, just be honest about stuff. You’ve got one group of people talking about the future, and the other group living in the past. What about now?

Something Giuliani said in an interview after his speech was that McCain’s choice of a running mate was looking toward the future, while Obama’s was looking to the past. I thought that was interesting comment in light of what you’re saying.
The whole thing is phenomenal. I have somewhat of an understanding of why he [McCain] made the choice he made. Him picking her is like watching Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, only she [Palin] is not quite as qualified as Jimmy Stewart.

To be fair, what did you think of Obama choosing Sen. Joe Biden?
It’s an interesting choice if you can get him to shut up. He talks too much. Obama had to pick somebody with experience. If someone’s going to die in office [laughs]–I mean, literally, you have to. I truly felt like if Obama wanted to just win, he had to pick Hillary [Clinton], no matter what the consequences. But the Democrats don’t want to win. They never want to win. They just don’t seem to want to. The logical choice is Hillary, whether you liked it or not, but if you wanted to win, as a ticket as a party. They don’t seem to want to govern.
What I find most appalling is their lack of response. What [Sen. Joe] Lieberman did was reprehensible on any level. So for the party that this schmuck represented, for this idiot to go speak for the other party, what are you saying to all of the people who voted for you? And what is the party saying by saying, “Oh well, what are you going to do? That’s Joe.” It’s not funny. It’s disgusting. I just find it odd that they don’t respond. Democrats don’t ever seem to know how to respond.
It’s nonsense what the Republicans are saying at this point, but the fact is, since the Democrats don’t have a proper response, it makes you go, “How intelligent are you?” Come up with something. Be direct.

What do you think the Democrats should do next if they somehow manage to lose this election?
I think they should rename the party. Come up with a new name, a new logo and go through a re-branding process. That’s all they can do. I mean, really, after eight years of this, if you can’t win the election, just disband.

Are you going to miss President Bush when he’s gone?
No. You can tell already. Look, it was nuts before, and now it’s even more crazy. As a comic, you can’t write the stuff that they’re doing. They’re writing it for you.

Has your job almost been too easy over the past eight years? Are you kind of looking forward to a challenge?
In a way, but it’s been hard to find the funny in it in a lot of ways. As funny as it is, it’s hard to treat it as if it is funny, because it’s really unbelievable.

How do you think history will judge this president [George W. Bush] now that his reign is almost over?
After they get over the laughter and the tears in just trying to record it, I think history will stand agape at what he did. He made a concerted effort to go back to 1956. If television was in black and white, I might have bought this, but it’s in color and it’s digital. It’s a mindset that should have never been in power.

Do you think that if he managed to succeed, that if he’d actually rolled the clock back to 1956 that we would have been better off?
Well, no. I would’ve been suicidal, having lived through it once, but it certainly would have made more sense. It would have made it seem more rational.


Words by dubs

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Old Ass Comments


Can’t wait 4 the new CD xD

I LOVE DGD!! <3333

April 28th, 2008 at 4:33 pm

I’m glad you guys kicked the old singer out if that’s the shit that went on

I love you dudes =D

haha, I just listened to “The Backwards Pumpkin Song”

April 28th, 2008 at 11:59 pm

you guys are really amazing. but no one will ever be able to do vocals like johnny. but i also hope that your music will still be amazing regardless. oh and when i saw you guys live last week you all seemed like jerks. no lie.

April 29th, 2008 at 3:53 am

Nice interview, this mag is popping off lately.

April 30th, 2008 at 2:24 pm

you big idiot it says right there that jonny left on his own. he wasnt kicked out

May 26th, 2008 at 4:02 pm

release the CD now please.

May 27th, 2008 at 11:05 am

the band wont be the same without jonny i wish he hadnt left but still my fav band, and the new cd is pretty good :)

August 20th, 2008 at 12:50 am

it really sucks that none of the old band members are in dgd now
they all quit and got replaced. i just really hope these guys keep everything the same because dgd is my favorite band and without them my life would be miserable. dgd rocks!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :)

August 22nd, 2008 at 12:44 am

yeah i agree with what almost everyone here said. i was disapointed when johnny left but im really glad that kurt has been able to keep it going on the same track.

also disapointed that no original members are in it but i still consider DGD my favorite band of all time.

will has a tiger main :D

September 3rd, 2008 at 12:57 pm

Amazing Amazing AMAZING! Just started listening to them and I can’t get enough. One of my favorite bands by far. <3

October 6th, 2008 at 12:38 pm

What the hell? WHAT THE HELL?

mark said: “also disapointed that no original members are in it but i still consider DGD my favorite band of all time.”

kellen said: “it really sucks that none of the old band members are in dgd now
they all quit and got replaced. i just really hope these guys keep everything the same because dgd is my favorite band and without them my life would be miserable. dgd rocks!”

If you guys were really fans, you’d know Will Swan was always one of the two guitarists, and Matt Mingus was always on drums. Plus Will Swan was always the one who wrote the music…so what the hell? All the members haven’t quit. I really can’t believe you guys believed such nonsense.

Having Jonny Craig in the band would have been degenerative in the end anyway, and live performances would suck because they wouldn’t be a group. They’d be Jonny on one side and the rest on the other. They have to be a unit, not a division.

The main person I don’t understand leaving is Jonathan Mess…he left pretty much directly after the album was done…I suppose there was no point leaving when they were in the middle of an album, but surely he could have done a few tours and then left? He just left without reasons given to the fans. I guess he has his own reasons.

October 7th, 2008 at 7:00 pm

even if he was an asshole, he was still an outstanding vocalist.

October 13th, 2008 at 10:23 pm

even with all the drama he’s an amazing singer I’m glad he found a place like Emarosa to display that.

October 17th, 2008 at 7:52 pm

jon mess, got sick, so he left

November 10th, 2008 at 3:02 pm

i heard a completely different story as to why jonny left..

December 18th, 2008 at 2:15 pm
Bang Bang

Jon Mess left the band with no official announcement and what so ever, that sucks man. only 2 original members are there, so who’s going to leave next? damn.

December 22nd, 2008 at 11:29 am

Ok so heres what i see
Yall were my first show
and by GOD you were amazin
and Eric
wow i was amazed
Yall just made me focus
on music me and my band loved the sound
so thats what we base are
crap off of Its sad how
Matt and will are the only
two left
I hope the band becomes better but
yall really shoulda let jonny
back in the band cause kurts sound
isnt made for Dgd
But i must implie
Jonny is cool and all but
he shoulda just chilled well
now yall are playin warped tour
with out Jon mess
and kurts screamin isnt all that great neither
is wills and
The new CD was good
but im tellin you
even though jonny had no chance
It sucks
and With out Jon mess
you cant do half those
new songs……
or THe ORIGINAL stuff

January 14th, 2009 at 12:52 pm


February 7th, 2009 at 8:50 pm

the old singer was and is a much better singer
and these guys have destroyed the name of dance gavin dance

February 23rd, 2009 at 7:14 am

Emarosa was better of without jonny, they seemed to just chill back and let jont sing instead of playing. jonny mixed so well with Gavin. nuff said

April 1st, 2009 at 1:49 pm

Yeah i really liked downtown battle mountain and then the self titled album or deathstar album came out and i was severely disappointed. but then the happiness album came out and i was pretty amazed :) but yeah i didnt really know that johnny craig was like that. he kinda seems like he would be though, saying that he was worshiped at the age of 15, i read a little bit about him. i really liked his singing but i guess hime leaving was the best thing for the band to continue creating music.

February 1st, 2010 at 11:20 am

Also i really like Wills screams, they are really good on happiness album

February 1st, 2010 at 11:23 am

im a HUGGEE efffin fan ;)
only thing is… Jonny had the
best mother effffiiin vocals in history
yooou guys are INCOMPLETE now.. D: i think you
all should just friggen work things put :)

September 9th, 2010 at 8:38 am

Honestly speaking old dgd was amazing and had an original sound, I could literally listen to it all day. I like the new album but honestly i prefer downtown battle mountain and what ever you say is royal ocean. But for some reason i feel like happiness is what they wanted to do all along

October 5th, 2010 at 10:38 am
Honcho Mcducket

I have known Eric for a long time it’s sad that he isn’t playing anymore with dgd. Disappointed he wasn’t on fuel tv with the band also. Craig was a dick Especially after the laptop incident, he should have just stuck with Emarosa or ghost runner on third. He was toxic to the band,I wish all the best to the remaining members though.

April 9th, 2011 at 7:17 am

Internet Fame

[...] a cakewalk into the mainstream-or most likely all three. Guitarist Sean O’Sullivan, formerly of Dance Gavin Dance, attempts to explain the chronology of events leading to this spring’s release of Signs and [...]

April 20th, 2009 at 2:59 am

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