49th Parallel Tour featuring Lewis Black and Kathleen Magidan

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Told London has a tradition of mayors who get into hot water, comedian Lewis Black is gleeful. “That’s terrific,” he said on the phone from Calgary.

Black and his touring partner, stand-up comic Kathleen Madigan, will play Centennial Hall on Saturday as part of the duo’s 49th Parallel Tour, a series of September stops in the Great White North.

Madigan likes to prepare for shows by looking up that night’s city online; Black, likewise, checks out the latest news on CNN, which he jokingly says is his way of getting a “good idea of what it’s like to have a stroke.”

“I try to be reminded of what’s going on and then I wander about,” said Black, who perfected his brand of humour on The Daily Show.

Madigan’s humour is more family-based and observation-oriented.

“I’m not always political like Lewis,” Madigan said. Most of her material about the current U.S. president is self-­reflective. “It’s mostly the absurdity of the fact that I’m talking about Donald (Trump)” in the first place, Madigan explained.

She does a bit about explaining to her sister that Trump does not drink, which her sister — coming from an Irish Catholic family — views with suspicion. He’s not a drinker, Madigan insists, but her sibling refuses to comprehend the fact one can choose not to indulge in alcohol.

The fact Trump has never had too much to drink also bothers Madigan on some level. “Don’t you ever have a hangover Sunday?” she imagines saying to the Donald.

Madigan urges prospective ticket-buyers to go online and research her show before deciding to come. Believe it or not, some audience members still get offended and storm out when Black makes the current White House occupant the butt of his jokes.

Somehow, these angry individuals have missed the last several years and don’t realize Black considers it his job to make fun of America’s leader, regardless of party. “Any president that shows up, I yell about,” he summed up his purpose.

Black is baffled when critics will label him a leftist. “First up, I’m beyond liberal,” he said, pointing out that for the last five or six years, he’s labelled himself a socialist in media interviews.

And why a tour of Canada now? Because, like CBS journalist Bob Schieffer, they like to see things around the world for themselves. “It was the fastest way to get out of the States,” Black deadpanned, adding he has a desire always to “look at somebody’s else’s stuff for a while.”

“That’s why we like the road so much. We want to see what’s going on,” echoed Madigan.

“There’s a calmness to being up here,” Black noted.

As an example of the differences between the True North and his homeland, Black points to a headline and photo in a Canadian paper saying how a pig and a pony had become friends on a farm. In the States, he theorizes, the headline would read “Pig goes insane, eats pony.”

As for what to expect in London, Black will open for Madigan. After she does her own set, he returns to the stage to do a segment called “The Rant is Due” in which he riffs off complaints sent in by fans over social media, for example a guy who is having a breakdown buying a car because he thinks the choice reflects his personality.

Black says the pair’s fans are becoming quite adept at writing the mini-rants. It’s also a way of keeping the tour transparent by knocking down the fourth wall.

“It’s interesting, it’s just another way to look at life,” Black said.



If you go

What: 49th Parallel Tour featuring Lewis Black and Kathleen Magidan

When: Saturday

Where: Centennial Hall

Tickets: $43.50, $54, $69.50

Online: tickets.centennialhall.london.ca

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