Lewis Black reflects on being lonely at Christmas
“I’m Dreaming of a Black Christmas” (Riverhead Books, $19.95), by Lewis Black
Monday, November 8, 2010
Comedian Lewis Black is famous for being angry. In his new book, “I’m Dreaming of a Black Christmas,” he goes after what would seem like an easy target for him: Christians at Christmas. But instead of his typical ranting without remorse, he’s apologetic.
Black spends every Christmas reflecting on his lack of a family. Since his divorce, he hasn’t trusted his taste in women. Christmas makes him think that he’s failed because he doesn’t have a loving wife and children. “So I lie there, supine, pondering my failure to create a life beyond my own.”
After waking up and contemplating his loneliness, Black gets out of bed. He writes checks to various charities, always careful not to give too much away because of a fear that at any moment he could still lose everything. “My life always seems to be moments away from being ironic.”
He then takes a long bath, thinking about his childhood holidays when he received nothing more than mismatched socks; how there were years when he was broke; and how he now feels guilty about drinking good wine and having nice sheets.
Black isn’t someone who asks for forgiveness. He’s built a reputation on being able to tear apart society, politics and religion in a fit of screaming rage thinly cloaked as a comedy routine. “Black Christmas,” however, is packed with regret.
Black spends most of the book trying to justify what he’s saying rather than saying it. “My editor thinks what I have here is ‘too discursive.”’
He tries to be funny by showing readers how selfish he’s become, but it comes off as sad.
Clearly, he wants a family, but concedes that it’s too late.
“Black Christmas” is a story about the holiday season, but rather than being the smart comedy that readers might expect from Black, this one is depressing.
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