Observations: Time to join the grouchy club

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The Independent Culture

I have fond memories of watching Lewis Black record one of his television specials on Broadway in 2004. Among the many grouches of this grumpy old man of American comedy was the weather. "What is all this about the wind-chill factor?" growled Black. "Why do I need to know what temperature it could have been if it hadn't been for the breeze?" Now arriving here for a brief tour, Black may have to get used to Britain's favourite obsession.

Since 1996, Black, now 60, has risen to comedy fame as a regular on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, where most UK fans will recognise him for his acerbic "Back in Black" commentary, the longest-running regular segment on the satirical show apart from the "Moment of Zen". Before that launch pad for his comedy career, which has included various albums, TV specials and film roles, Black was a playwright.

Having made his name "yelling so you don't have to", the socialist satirist can beef about just about anything. "Capitalism's problem is that it has nothing to say about how to combat greed", he grumbles. "For all the moralising this country does, people don't get it: They're greedy. And it's gotten worse in my lifetime." Black's irascible routines are a heady mix of pithy observation and political conviction. But it's not easy being angry. Black has described his life as a comedian as "like being on the Titanic every single day and being the only person who knows what's going to happen."

E4 Udderbelly, London, 3 & 7 June; Manchester Comedy Store, 8 June; Birmingham Glee Club, 9 July