Humor.Wit.Intelligence.All three conspired against me.There was little I could do.I was laughing so hard that it became a bit embarrassing, really, to the point where everyone else in the room had stopped chuckling, and I was still snorting and choking on Dr. Pepper, and all of this only made me laugh harder, and I began to feel a sharp pain in my chest, I couldn’t breathe, and I still kept on laughing. I shook and coughed and laughed all the way through the commercial break and was still wiping away tears when the program flickered back onto the television.Lewis Black will do that to ya.And for all the side-splitting pain he caused me, I can’t wait for his arrival at the Vilar Center for the Arts in Beaver Creek Jan. 25.And I couldn’t be happier that our town has grown to the kind of place that attracts well-known, insightful comedians and performance artists like Black, Steve Earle, and Richard Jeni just to mention a few from the January lineup.Black is clearly funny , but the reason he puts me in fits (or stitches, if you prefer) is that his act is as filled with empathy and vindication as it is with humor. He takes the difficult issues of the world, the serious, heavy problems ongoing in our nation, and he repositions your psyche so that in an instant you can see how absurd it all is, how absurd we all are. His work is in the same class as the Simpsons, or the Daily Show with Jon Stewart (where Black is a regular guest), or Family Guy, or the stand-up comedy of Dave Chapelle and Chris Rock. All of these folks remind me that comedians do more than just make us laugh they help us put the world in perspective, give us fortitude, and help to relieve social tension.There are plenty of things to get upset about in this world today, but we all need a dose of perspective (thank you Lewis Black, thank you Jon Stewart, thank you Matt Groening and company).So, with that in mind, I’d like to close with a few basic points to tie up loose ends from my past two columns, and to offer a general response to the folks who have taken the time to write in and call on some of the very important issues facing our nation today:1) We must not forget the potency of Sept. 11.2) Afghanistan was and is a brutal, bloody and difficult campaign but it is morally justifiable.3) Our military and security personnel are doing a truly incredible job thwarting untold numbers of attacks against our people.4) We must now stay the course in Iraq (at great cost), and support our government in those efforts.5) Democrats deserve an equal amount of suspicion and monitoring by the American media and populace at large.And ultimately we must remember that the problem here is very simple: we went to war on false pretenses, thousands of human beings have lost their lives as a consequence, and the current administration must be held accountable.Send comments or epithets to firstname.lastname@example.org, or give the man a call at (970) 390-1585.
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