Lewis Black: Florida ranks second — in crazy

Comedian Lews Black performs at the Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall at 8 p.m Friday, March 11.

Comedian Lews Black performs at the Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall at 8 p.m Friday, March 11.

Lewis Black

When: 8 p.m. Friday

Where: Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall, 8099 College Parkway, Fort Myers

Admission: $36-$66

Information: 481-4849 or www.bbmannpah.com

Finally, a statistic where Florida ranks highly.

After years of hearing how the state is in the bottom half of this and scores poorly at that, someone has deemed Florida as having a high value.

Unfortunately, our high ranking — No. 2 in the country — comes in comedian Lewis Black’s unofficial appraisal of craziest states.

“You are No. 2,” he says. “But you are so far behind Arizona that really it’s like you are No. 7.”

Black made this assessment before the Wisconsin political unrest of recent weeks, so Florida might be slipping more. Black will get a close-up view of the state this week. Friday he hits the Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall in Fort Myers in the second stop in a four-city Florida tour. He’ll be back in the Sunshine State again in May to make up a few dates on the East Coast that he missed in December.

“I’ve never canceled a date before,” he says of the shows. “But I had just come back from Iraq. It’s exhausting. It gives you even greater respect for our troops.”

It’s a surprisingly vulnerable quote from a comic whose entire bit is built around a sort of caustic moral superiority. Black has built a career out of pointing out the foibles of people and institutions — often politicians and government — by expressing hyperbolic befuddlement at their actions.

You’d think he’d be like a kid in a candy store during a time of such enormous political upheaval and partisanship. Instead he seems almost disappointed in the comedic goldmine provided him.

“I kind of find the jokes exhausting,” he says.

Instead, his new material focuses a lot on what any 62-year-old comedian thinks about — getting old and the changes happening because of technology. He’s freaked out by the supposed value of Facebook, which is worth about $50 billion after a recent Goldman Sachs investment.

“So if Goldman Sachs invests in it along with a group of Russians, it’s gotta be worth $50 billion, right?” he asks, his voice starting show signs of the blood boiling rage he exhibits on stage. “All for a site that lets me know ‘Maya is feeling peckish, frowny face.’ ”

Black sees the growing influence of Facebook as a way to replace real communities and neighborhoods.

“There are less farmers, so there’s Farmville,” he says. “Now you can have a fake community. But it’s all just advertising and self-promotion.”

Speaking of self-promotion, Black should be talking himself up a bit more. After all, he just won his second Grammy for Best Comedy Album for “Stark Raving Black.”

“I didn’t expect it,” he says. “I was stunned.”

Black says he thought the first award, for 2006’s “The Carnegie Hall Performance,” was a fluke, and that once his name had been called once that he’d never have to worry about that again.

“As a matter of fact, I was taking a nap,” he said. “I got woken up by people calling and texting me to congratulate me.”

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